We’re celebrating National Parks Week here at Beyond the Fence, and to kick things off, I’d like to share some of my favorite parks to visit with a dog. Please keep in mind that different parks have different restrictions for dogs, and it’s always best to check out their current rules when planning your trip.
Here are my top 5 national parks to visit with a dog.
5. Yosemite National Park
In Yosemite, dogs are allowed only on paved roads, sidewalks, and paved paths. Dogs are not allowed allowed on trails (with the exception of the Wawona Meadow Loop) or in the backcountry, but this won’t prevent you from seeing the beauty of Yosemite with your dog. Most of the iconic views are easily visible from paved roads and overlooks, and leashed dogs can explore the paved portions of Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls Trails. If you and your dog are looking for a nearby hike, the surrounding National Forests all allow dogs on the trails.
4. Grand Canyon National Park
No photo can truly do justice to the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Dogs are allowed to explore the South Rim as long as they stay on the trails and walkways above the rim. While that does mean you won’t be able to hike down into the canyon with your dog, I found that the very best views were from the top anyway. If you really want to head down into the canyon, there is a boarding kennel in the park where your dog can stay while you hike.
3. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is one of the few national parks that allow dogs on the trails. I first visited this park without my dogs, but it’s next on my list of places to visit with my pup. Waterfalls, scenic vistas, forests, and meadows are all part of the beauty of this park. There are only a few trails that don’t allow dogs, but with over 500 miles of trails to explore, you’ll have plenty of places to hike with your dog.
2. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is the most unique landscape I’ve ever seen, and it’s also one of the most dog friendly national parks. Here, you’ll see the tallest dunes in North America surrounded by grasslands, mountains, and forests. Your dog is allowed to explore the main use areas of the park (my dog loved walking in the creek) and can also hike on the trails in the preserve. Please keep in mind that the sand gets very hot in the summer, so your dog may have an easier time visiting this park in the spring or fall.
1. Acadia National Park
If you’ve ever been to Acadia National Park, it will be no surprise that this is number one on my list. Not only is it absolutely stunning, but dogs are welcome on almost all of the trails and carriage roads (with the exception of a few trails that require ladder climbs). The nearby town of Bar Harbor is also very dog friendly, welcoming dogs into many of the shops and on restaurant outdoor patios.
Are there any parks that you and your dog love to visit that didn’t make this list?
I’d love to hear more about your favorite travels with your dog! Come join us in the Beyond the Fence group on Facebook to share your dogs’ adventures and learn more travel tips and tricks.