The Best National Parks You Can Take Your Dog To

Nation­al Parks have been called America’s Best Idea, but they’ve got an unfor­tu­nate rep­u­ta­tion as not always the friend­liest places to bring man’s best friend. Still, with an annu­al atten­dance exceed­ing some 305 mil­lion human vis­i­tors, dog own­ers could be for­giv­en for want­i­ng to run with the pack and enjoy the mul­ti­tude of nat­ur­al expe­ri­ences the Nation­al Park Ser­vice has to offer. We’ve round­ed up details on six pop­u­lar Nation­al Parks where your four-foot­ed friends are wel­come to join you.

Olympic Nation­al Park, WA
Dogs on leash­es no longer than six feet are wel­come to enjoy the camp­grounds and pic­nic areas through­out gor­geous Olympic Nation­al Park. The most chal­leng­ing of these is the 20-mile Spruce Rail­road Trail, an out-and-back style hike along Lake Cres­cent. Peabody Creek Trail is just under five miles of out-and-back trail that fol­lows and cross­es the creek via log bridges that are stur­dier than they look. Madi­son Falls Trail, on the oth­er hand, is an easy tenth of a mile with a paved walk-in to a love­ly lit­tle water­fall. Water-lov­ing pups can enjoy the south­ern ocean­front beach­es between the Hoh and Quin­ault Indi­an Reser­va­tions, as long as you’re mind­ful of the tide, and along the half-mile stretch between Rial­to Beach and Ellen Creek dur­ing day­light hours.

Aca­dia Nation­al Park, ME
First things first: watch this adorable video fea­tur­ing dog­go Bark Ranger Drift, who’s more than hap­py to teach humans the best things about being a dog in a Nation­al Park. As Drift points out, you’ll want to keep your pets leashed (six feet max­i­mum) to decrease their chances of an unfor­tu­nate encounter with local wildlife. You’re wel­come to hike with them on any of the park’s 140+ miles of trails and car­riage roads that aren’t specif­i­cal­ly restrict­ed or rec­om­mend­ed for the four-legged com­pan­ions, includ­ing hikes that rely on lad­ders, such as the 3.3‑mile Lad­der Trail Loop. Black­woods, Sea­wall, and Schood­ic Woods camp­grounds all wel­come pets, so you can overnight in the park with your bestie.

Glac­i­er Nation­al Park, MT
Like the oth­er Nation­al Parks on this list, Glac­i­er wel­comes wag­ging tails basi­cal­ly any­where you can bring a car: in devel­oped areas includ­ing its twelve front coun­try camp­grounds, along roads, in park­ing lots, and its numer­ous estab­lished pic­nic sites. What makes Glac­i­er stand out from the pack is that it also per­mits dogs on boats in lakes—so if your boat can go, your pooch can too! Once you’ve got your boat launch per­mit, take your pick of the pub­lic launch­es avail­able at McDon­ald Lake, Bow­man Lake, Saint Mary Lake, or Two Med­i­cine Lake. The risk of hypother­mia from these glacial lakes (and park reg­u­la­tions) means dogs can’t get in the water, though.

Grand Canyon Nation­al Park, AZ
Every dog loves a good hole in the ground, so why not treat your dog to the best hole in the ground? The Grand Canyon is a true mir­a­cle of nature, and the South Rim offers loads of oppor­tu­ni­ties for you and your pup to explore togeth­er. Math­er Camp­ground to the west and Desert View Camp­ground to the east both per­mit pets. You can take them hik­ing on lead on any of the named trails above the rim, includ­ing the majes­tic 12.8‑mile Rim Trail that skirts the canyon’s rim from Hermit’s Rest to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

Note: there are many oth­er parks (state & nation­al) that allow dogs, some with stricter rules, so be sure to check out the Nation­al Park Ser­vice site for updat­ed lists on guidelines.