National parks are one of the most visited destination spots in the United States for vacation travelers. Every year, millions of people visit their favorite national parks. But have you ever tried to bring your best friend along? The majority of national parks are not very welcoming to pets. But fortunately there are some exceptions, and some nearby dog-friendly national forests.
The general policy for national parks is that dogs must be on a 6 foot or less leash at all times, are only allowed in parking lots, in your car, or within 50 to 100 feet of the road. Most of the parks allow dogs in campgrounds and in developed areas, but there can be exceptions to these rules. The majority of national parks do not allow dogs on any hiking or walking trails, any backcountry trails, any beaches or inside buildings. There are even a few lesser known national parks that do not even allow you to drive into the park if you have a pet in your car. This does not sound like a fun vacation to most dogs and dog owners.
But before ruling out a vacation to a national park, it is important to note that some national parks have exceptions to these stringent pet rules. Parks like the Grand Canyon National Park and Acadia National Park, allow dogs on some trails and are well worth a visit even with your pooch. For the majority of national parks that do not allow dogs on any trails, a fair amount of sightseeing can still be done. Keep in mind that the majority of visitors to national parks do not venture too far from their cars. This means there are typically many sites and points of interest to see right from the comfort of your own car (where dogs are welcome). But for people who actually want to go on a hike, dog-friendly national forests are adjacent to or located nearby many national parks.
So how much can you really see at our national parks when bringing your pet along? DogFriendly.com offers a Top 5 National Park list which highlights the best national parks in the United States to bring a dog, based on sights to see and places to walk with your best friend.
1. Grand Canyon, AZ
2. Acadia, ME
3. Shenandoah, VA
4. Yosemite, CA
5. North Cascades, WA