This year is the 100th birthday of the US National Park System. Sadly, most US Parks do not welcome your dog beyond parking lots and a few contained areas. However, we have noted 5 parks below that do have options for you and your furry friend to enjoy the great outdoors. Our friends at GoPetFriendly.com also has a great list of dog-friendly State Parks. If you know of any other gems, feel free to share below in the comments.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Just 75 miles south west of Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park is a great place to explore nature with the whole family – dog included. There are over 500 miles of trail with almost all open to pets. Whether you want to do day hikes and picnic, or camp in the backcountry, your options are open. The 200,000-acre national park is home to breath-taking views, cascading waterfalls, sleepy woodland areas full of deer, songbirds and plenty of fun.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Located along the rugged coast of Maine, Arcadia National Park is a perfect place to bring your pup. It is home to the tallest mountain on the east coast, 100 miles of hiking trails and two beautiful dog friendly campgrounds. As long as you keep your dog on a leash less than 6 feet long (standard rule across national parks) you can enjoy the trails and old carriage roads, which are also great for biking. Only reason it’s not number one on the list: Dogs are not allowed on the beaches, but you can see our list of the Top 5 Dog Friendly Beaches.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca Colorado is actually made up of a diverse landscape of forests, grasslands, wetlands, lakes, and tundra, but is named for its spectacular sand dunes. The park is entirely dog friendly so you and your pup can venture through the entire park. It’s important Fido stay on a leash since there is copious wildlife, but feel free to run, play, dig, and splash through the dunes and the beautiful Medano Creek.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The iconic Grand Canyon National Park is a site everyone should see – even Rover. Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times and are allowed on all trails above the rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village. If you want to hike down or take a mule below the rim, also called the inner canyon, the park has a kennel where your pup will be taken care of during your excursion.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is both the most visited national park and also possibly the most dog friendly. You can hike with your dog through the ancient mountains on the Gatlinburg and the Oconaluftee River Trail and take in the diverse flora and fauna. Dogs are welcome to camp and picnic, making this a destination the whole family can enjoy together.