Lifestyle

The 10 Best Dog-Friendly National Parks

Reynold Krieg
Reynold Krieg

Aug 25, 2014

Most of us stay local when it comes to recreational hiking with the pooch.  However, there are tons of amazing national parks throughout the United States that welcome you and your pup...tons of amazingly beautiful hikes.  Here's a bucket list of the top 10 best dog-friendly national parks for you and your favorite friend.  

10) CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

For the north eastern and/or midwesterners out there, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Ohio.  Dogs are restricted from the park's buildings and train, but otherwise are free to roam around throughout the rest of the park.

9) SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK

If you're in the south, the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia boasts nearly 500 miles worth of trails all of which are open to you and the pooch.  There are a few trails with pet restrictions (20 miles), however pets are allowed on the campgrounds as well as in plenty of pet-friendly lodging nearby.  

8) ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

For the northeastern folks out there, the Acadia National Park in Main is a perfect option.  Dogs are restricted from joining you at the park's swimming beaches.  Otherwise, the park has 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads that permit pets. Dogs are also welcome at the Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds. 

7) GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK 

The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is different from your normal hike, but amazing nonetheless.  As always, be conscientious of the heat - keep yourself and your pooch hydrated. At the same time, hiking in the morning/evening is recommended.  

6) CUMBERLAND GAP NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

This enormous 24,000 acre historical park not only allows dogs, it actually has a designated horse area as well.  For those of you in the south, this one stretches from Kentucky to Tennessee and into Virginia.  On top of that, you can check out some old vintage pioneer life along the way, including old iron furnaces and Civil War canons.  

5) HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK

The Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas allows dogs on its 26 miles of trails, as well as its campgrounds.  Other than restrictions at the visitor center and park buildings, dogs are welcome throughout the park.  

4) OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Dogs are prohibited throughout a good part of the Olympic National Park in Washington, including several trails, beaches, all rivers and park's designated wilderness areas.  However, your dog is free to roam through all Kalaloch Beaches and Rialto Beach.  They're also welcome on the Spruce Railroad Trail and Peabody Creek Trail hikes. 

3) GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina the great Smokey Mountain National Park is a great option for the Easterners out there.  Dogs are welcome on the two walking paths - the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail - as well as the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads.  They're not permitted on any other hiking trails, nor in the park's backcountry.

2) YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

One of the country's most popular national parks, Yosemite National Park in California allows pets under certain restrictions. They are restricted from the backcountry, meadows, shuttle buses, public buildings or on beaches.  You can, however, have the pup on the fully paved bike paths and roads.  Most of the campgrounds allow pets.  In fact there is actually a kennel available - Yosemite Valley Stable - May through September.  

1) GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

The beautiful Grand Canyon is one that everyone should keep on their bucket list, with our without a dog...hiker or not.  For those of us with a canine companion, the trails above the rim, the Mather and Desert View campgrounds, and the Trailer Village are all free reign. 

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