Editor’s Note: Always check the park’s website before heading out in case policies have changed. All parks require pets to be on a 6-foot leash at all times. All U.S. National Parks websites can be found at nps.gov.
Having a dog means having a constant sidekick who is always up for an adventure. While there are many spots around the country where dogs are more than welcome, national parks are a bit more restrictive. And it makes sense — national parks often have fragile ecosystems with a rich wildlife population, so rules are in place to protect the park, its wildlife and your pet.
Many national parks and historical areas/monuments only allow on-leash dogs within a certain distance from the road, picnic area or campground (like at Joshua Tree National Park), but some parks have something for everyone, including dogs! Here are a few of our favorites.
Acadia National Park, Maine
If you’re craving the salty, ocean air and sound of waves crashing, head to Acadia National Park and you won’t have to leave Fido at home. Dogs are allowed on all 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads, as well as the Blackwoods, Seawall and Schoodic Woods campgrounds. (Fun fact for you early birds: Acadia is the first place in the United States where you can watch the sun come up in the morning!)
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Who doesn’t have the Grand Canyon on the bucket list? Luckily, your dog can tag along, too — on any trail above the rim as well as the Mather Campground, Desert View Campground and Trailer Village. If you want to explore the trails in the canyon, many hotels in the area are pet-friendly, and the South Rim Kennel is available if you need to board your dog.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Dogs are only allowed on certain trails in this park on the Olympic Peninsula, but it’s worth the trip to take in the lush forest and driftwood-laden beaches. Pets can accompany you on a trek on Peabody Creek Trail, Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek, the beaches in the Kalaloch area between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations, Madison Falls Trail, Spruce Railroad Trail and July Creek Loop Trail.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia
You and your dog can go anywhere in this Civil War historical park — except on the park shuttle or in buildings — so explore wherever you’d like. Another perk to bringing your dog here is you have plenty of additional hiking options along the famous Appalachian Trail — it runs right through town!
Read more: dogster.com