Top Picks For You

The 10 Best National Parks for Dog Lovers

These national parks are perfect for you and your tail-wagging friend.

They might be “America’s best idea,” but our national parks aren’t the friendliest when it comes to our furry friends. Many of our 63 national parks in the system do not allow dogs on the trails or in the backcountry, with the exception of service dogs trained to perform a specific task. However, a few cater to our furry friends, and you might be surprised to see how many adventures are pet-approved in our most famous outdoor spaces. Remember to keep your pup on a six-foot leash and pick up and pack out any messes along the way.

1 OF 10

Shenandoah National Park

If you and your dog love hitting the trail, Shenandoah National Park offers more than enough options with over 500 miles of hikeable terrain. Waterfalls, views, and the incomparable Skyline Drive offer an endless playground for both of you. While dogs are not allowed on Old Rag, you have more than enough choices for exploration. Looking for a recommendation? The Upper Whiteoak Falls Trail has a bit of everything: rocks to climb, an optional water crossing, and spots for a family photo.

2 OF 10

Acadia National Park

Like Shenandoah, Acadia has plenty of trails to occupy you and your pooch. With 100 miles of hikes and 75 miles of carriage trails available to walk, as long as you have your dog on a six-foot leash, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the right one. Acadia also has three campgrounds where pets can sleep under the stars with you: Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods.

3 OF 10

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Imagine your fuzzy buddy getting their paws dirty in the highest sand dunes in North America. Pets are allowed in all the main use areas of the park as long as they are on a leash. These regions include some of the park’s namesake dunes and several hiking trails in the lesser-known mountains. If your dog gets hot, then they always have the option to cool off in Medano Creek after the end of an exciting, sandy day.

4 OF 10

Yosemite National Park

While your fur baby can’t come with you on every single adventure in Yosemite, they can come on some of the best ones! Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and Yosemite Falls are all open to pets as long they (and you) follow the B.A.R.K. Ranger principles. If you want to skip some of the crowds and explore a quieter area of the park, Olmstead Point has a different perspective on the most famous attraction, Half Dome.

5 OF 10

Congaree National Park

South Carolina’s only national park is an underrated gem, especially if your dog loves the water. Your pet is allowed on all trails and boardwalks, as well as in your canoe or kayak with you if you choose to take to the floodplain forest via paddling. After you’re done, head to the uber dog-friendly city of Columbia for endless breweries where pets are encouraged to join.

6 OF 10

Cuyahoga National Park

You and your puppy can hike over 100 miles of trails, as well as the multi-use Towpath Trail, which is also open to bikes and running, in Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio. Conveniently located between the urban areas of Akron and Cleveland, it’s ideal for a much-needed chance to connect with nature with your best friend by your side.

7 OF 10

Indiana Dunes National Park

If you have ever imagined your dog running along sandy beaches and splashing in some cool water, then Indiana Dunes National Park can provide you with a fun day in the sun. Dogs are allowed in most of the beach areas with a few exceptions, as well as on the Pinhook Upland Trail if you feel like taking a stroll through a maple and beech forest. As with all national parks, dogs must be on a 6-foot leash.

8 OF 10

Petrified Forest National Park

All wilderness areas and paved areas are open to dogs in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. They also have a wonderful B.A.R.K Ranger program where you both can learn how to be responsible visitors–and your pup can even pick up a treat at the park entrance or visitor center! The can’t-miss Big Logs Trail is short and perfect for a hot day and includes the largest petrified trees in the park.

9 OF 10

New River Gorge National Park

Every single trail in America’s newest national park is open to pups. On top of having 70,000 acres to enjoy, West Virginia’s gem has included water stations at every visitor center so you and your doggo can stay hydrated while marveling at the views of the New River. With so many fantastic options for trails, including the Endless Wall Trail, it’s almost heaven for you and your adventurous buddy.

10 OF 10

Mammoth Cave National Park

While pets are prohibited from entering the Mammoth Cave system itself, the entire surface area of the park is welcoming to dogs, including hikes. There is also a pet-friendly accommodation option at the Woodland Cottage if you plan on spending more than a day in the area. Can’t imagine not seeing the main attraction? The park also offers day camp for pups at The Lodge, where they can make some new friends, and you can see the longest cave system in the world.