The 7 Best US National Parks to Visit With Your Dog


Outdoor excursions are so much more enjoyable when you have a four-legged friend by your side. And if your pup isn’t getting enough exercise from daily walks or time at the dog park, you might want to consider a bigger trip to one of the country’s famous national parks. The US National Park Service (NPS) has a tool to identify parks that allow petsalso setting out the principles of BARK Ranger Program.

If you and your dog are up for a national park adventure, you’ll want to know which destination is right for you. Luckily, travel experts have recommendations for the best US national parks to visit with your dog, who might end up enjoying the trip even more than you do. Read on to find out which parks you should explore alongside your furry friend.

READ NEXT: 8 State Parks That Are Even Better Than National Parks, According To Experts.

Shriram Patki/Shutterstock

A top destination for you and your dog is Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, where you can both enjoy the scenery and hike the trails. “Leashed dogs are welcome on all 125 miles of trails in the park, which are generally of good quality,” Erika Barnes, founder and CEO by Pet Smitten, tells Better life.

Along with gorgeous forests and sprawling landscapes, the Cuyahoga Valley is also a safe bet for you and your dog. “It has a relatively temperate climate, generally warm but not hot in the summer (ideal for ensuring your dog avoids heatstroke) and cold but not freezing in the winter,” Barnes says. “There is also, compared to many of our national parks, a refreshing lack of creatures and critters that could harm you and your dog. Of course they are there, but for example, there there was no poisonous snakes found at the park.”

acadia national park
Romiana Lee/Shutterstock

Head north to Maine and take in breathtaking views at Acadia National Park with your dog in tow. According to the park’s website, you can both explore 100 kilometers of hiking trials45 miles of motorable roads and overnight at Blackwoods, Seawall and Schoodic Woods campgrounds.

“There are plenty of trails to explore with your pup, and you can even take them kayaking or canoeing,” matt james of the travel blog Visingtingly says, adding that like other national parks, you’ll want to make sure your dog is always on a leash.

READ NEXT: The 9 Best US National Parks To Visit In August, According To Experts.

cannon black canyon
corlaffra / Shutterstock

You may not have heard of this national park, but it’s definitely one your pup will enjoy, Adam Marland, travel photographer and writer for We Dream of Travel, tells Better life.

“The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is tucked away in a remote part of southwestern Colorado and is one of the most beautiful but most overlooked parks in the NPS system,” says Marland, adding that leashed dogs can go with you. at visitor centers, campgrounds, and the park’s three main hiking trails.

As you explore, you can spot the park’s famous “pure black canyon walls,” Marland says, which are almost 2 million years, according to the park’s website. “Walking through alpine wilderness with thriving wildlife, unbeatable views and a plethora of pup scents will be an experience none of you will forget.”

white sands national park
Andriy Blokhine / Shutterstock

Another puppy haven is White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Described as “like no place anywhere else on earth,” this park offers something for everyone. “White Sands is one giant playground, whether you’re on two or four legs,” says Marland. “The park is one of the most kid-friendly country dogs, allowing you and your pets to explore absolutely anywhere you want to go, except inside the visitor center.”

If you’re looking for a unique adventure, Marland recommends you and your pup try sandboarding in the gypsum sand dunes. “It should be noted that for these sensitive pads for puppies, the gypsum found at White Sands differs from actual sand in that it does not retain heat, which means it will not burn your feet even at extreme temperatures,” he explains.

For more travel tips straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

petrified forest national park
Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock

Head to Arizona and explore Petrified Forest National Park with your dog, hit trails to view the famous petrified logs, or take a scenic walk through the park.

Jessica Schmit of Uprooted Traveler note that you cannot take your canine companion into the buildings of Petrified Forest, but they are welcome on the paved roads and backcountry hiking trails. “As such, you can explore the park’s colorful badlands and thousand-year-old fossilized wood, all with your best friend,” she says. “In fact, the rangers even have treats to give to the puppies!”

Also, this park isn’t as well known, which might end up being a plus for you and your dog, Alex Schneeof the travel blog Alex on the map, explains. “Being a lesser-known park means you don’t have to worry as much about squabbling your dog with strangers,” he notes.

grand canyon south rim
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The Grand Canyon is on many of our to-do lists, so why not enjoy it with your best friend? The national park welcomes dogs along the Rim Trail, as well as at Mather Point, Yavapai Point and Grand Canyon Village, Steve Morro, travel specialist and founder of Paddle About, explains.

Be aware of the heat and how it might affect your pooch in the summer, Morrow says. But if the weather gets a little too hot or you want to explore a part of the park that doesn’t allow pets, the Grand Canyon Kennel is open year-round in case you need to babysit your pup for a bit. retirement. “If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure with your pup, Grand Canyon National Park is worth a visit,” concludes Morrow.

READ NEXT: The 10 least visited US national parks to visit in 2022.

new river gorge national park
Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

West Virginia also offers a pup paradise, if you venture to New River Gorge State Park, home to one of North America’s oldest rivers.

“America’s newest national park welcomes dogs of all colors and sizes, as they are allowed on all trails in the park and preserve,” sabrina kong, DVM at We Love Doodlessaid, adding that to enjoy the park, dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet.

You can explore the scenery and get some exercise, Kong adds, noting that you should visit the park’s largest waterfall, Sandstone Falls, as well as Brooks Falls on the west side of the river for “lots of water fun. “.

Debbie Littany, owner of, also recommend white water rafting, fishing, hiking or a scenic walk in this park. As with all of the national parks on this list, however, you’ll want to check each park’s rules and requirements to ensure that you and your dog have an enjoyable, penalty-free visit.


Comments are closed.