10 National Parks you can Hike with your Dog

Looking to enjoy hiking in National Parks with your dog? If so, plan ahead. Only several National Parks permit hiking with dogs!

There are many parks that claim to be dog friendly, but don’t allow dogs on trails. Out of 60 parks, only 10 allow you to hike with your dog. Here is a list of the 10 National Parks that allow dogs on trails.

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park

Sunset over shenandoah
Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah

Shenandoah is one of the few National Parks on the East Coast with easy access to endless miles of trails. With over 480 miles of trails for you and your dog, Shenandoah is a great National Park to visit with your pooch in tow. There are only 20 miles of off limits trail! Check out the NPS website for restricted areas.

Recommended hikes:
White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails – 7.9 mile loop with waterfalls
South River Falls Trail – 4.6 miles past base of falls, great winter views
Rose River Trail – 3.5 mile loop following the cascading river
Riprap Trail – 9.4 mile loop with great views and a swimming hole
Hawksbill Summit Trail – 2.9 mile loop with 360 degree view at summit
Little Devils Stairs Trail – 5.3 mile beautiful but challenging loop
Marys Rock (via AT) – 3.6 mile out and back with panoramic views at end

Maine’s Acadia National Park

View of Fall Coastline in Acadia National Park
View of Fall Coastline in Acadia National Park

Coming in second with over 145 miles of combined trail and old wagon roads you can both hike, Acadia National Park is a beauty your dog will love. Acadia is one of the smaller, but most popular national parks. Seeing sea and mountain meet throughout the park is a unique experience. July and August tend to be the most crowded. September and mid-October get busy too with “leaf peepers”.

Recommended hikes:
Bar Island Trail – 2 mile trail during low tide only to forested island
Schooner Head Path – 5.4 miles with terrific views of outlying isles and Champlain Mt
Compass Harbor Trail – .8 mile hike to view of ocean
Wonderland Trail – 1.4 mile loop with forest to coast transition
Cadillac Summit Loop Trail – .3 mile loop with breathtaking views (paved)

Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park

all leaves near Sloan Pond in Mammoth Cave National Park
Fall leaves near Sloan Pond in Mammoth Cave National Park

Kentucky has a little known underground limestone labyrinth that also has miles of trails above ground! Although more than 365 miles of cave are mapped, no one knows how big the system actually is. The good news is Mammoth Cave has 70 miles of hiking for you and fido, as long as they don’t go in the cave!

Recommended hikes:
Sinkhole Trail – easy 2.4 mile out and back that passes White’s cave
Cedar Sink Trail – 1.8 mile out and back with stairs to a sink hole
Green River Bluffs Trail – 4.5 mile loop with good views
Echo River Spring and Sinkhole Loop – 3.1 mile wooded loop passing the river

Arkansas’s Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park image
Hot Springs National Park

Find yourself in Arkansas? Seek out Hot Springs National Park with your dog. The park contains natural hot springs flowing from the mountain down to the historic spa town. While the park focuses on the mineral benefits of its namesake, there are also beautiful hikes for you and your dog to adventure on!

Recommended hikes:
West Mountain Trail – 1.9 mile loop with good views of the city
Goat Rock Trail – 1.7 mile out and back with pretty overlooks
Gulpha Gorge Trail – 1.2 mile out and back with scenic views, short and challenging
Sugarloaf Mountain via Sunset Trail – 7.1 mile out and back with views of surrounding mountains

Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park

photo of the Wide easy trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Wide easy trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has 130 miles of trails for you and your dog. Most are surprised to learn that a national park exists in Northeastern Ohio. These trails pass through forests and meadows, creating an environment that makes you forget you are surrounded by the farmlands of Ohio! Just avoid the East Rim mountain bike trails and keep your pooch on a leash, everything else is fair game. Towpath Trail gets pretty crowded from spring through fall, so if you are looking to avoid crowds with your dog try another trail. Check the rules for the park here.

Recommended hikes:
Ledges Trail – 2.2 miles with great views, good for sunsets!
Brandywine Gorge Trail – 1.4 mile hike with view of 60 ft falls, hilly and rocky trail
Blue Hen Falls Trail – .5 mile hike to unique waterfall
Salt Run Trail – 4.3 mile out and back with incline and possibility of mud or snow!

California’s Yosemite National Park

Painted depiction of Yosemite Valley
Painted depiction of Yosemite Valley

Although Yosemite is a national landmark for most park goers, it can get quite crowded! Perhaps this is why dogs are only allowed on paved roads within Yosemite. You can still get some pretty good “hikes” in with your dog. Check out restricted areas for your dog within Yosemite here. Approved hikes are detailed below.

Yosemite waterfall behind giant Sequoia trees
Yosemite waterfall behind giant Sequoia trees

Hikes you can both go on:
Wawona Meadow Loop – 3.9 mile loop along old paved road through meadows
Chowchilla Mountain Road – 1.5 mile lightly trafficked trail with mountain views
Lower Yosemite Falls – 1.1 mile paved pathway to full view of waterfall

Washington’s North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park - Mount Shuksan
North Cascades National Park – Mount Shuksan

The North Cascades are sometimes called the American Alps, and for good reason! The glacier-clad peaks appear out of nowhere from valleys with thick alpine forests. Dogs are only allowed along the 18 miles that cross the southern portion of the park on the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail is the busiest during the fall, when PCT thru hikers pass through in large groups.

Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park Photo
Great Sand Dunes

The Great Sand Dunes are open for exploring off trail

It’s hard to believe you are in America in the Great Sand Dunes Park. The otherwordly landscape suddenly rise up out of nowhere as you approach the park. There aren’t many trails at this park, but you and your pooch are free to explore the Preserve, Pinon Flats Campground, Dunes Overlook Trail, and the Medano Pass Primitive Road. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s paw pads to prevent scorching from hot sand.

Recommended hikes:
Choose your own adventure! You can wander for 30 square miles.

Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon Sunrise Photo
Grand Canyon

Crying; acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon speaks for itself. The scale of the 18 mile wide canyon is so vast, you can only see a fraction of the 277 miles of the canyon’s length. While many different options exist for hiking down into the canyon, dogs are not allowed below the rim in the canyon. Still, the magnificent 13 mile trail along the southern rim is a spectacular hike you won’t forget.

Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park

Photo of Petrified Forest logs scattered throughout the park
Petrified Forest logs scattered throughout the park

The Petrified Forest National Park is worth the trip to see the brilliantly colored petrified wood. While you can hike with your dog on designated trails, there are not many trails to choose from in this park. The trails in the Petrified Forest Park are shorter, but the sights are pretty impressive.

Recommended hikes:
Crystal Forest Trail – easy .9 mile loop to get views of petrified logs
Old Jasper Forest Road – 2.6 mile loop along abandoned road with vibrant stones
Martha’s Butte – 1.9 mile out and back trail to petroglyphs

We hope you enjoy these National Parks with your pup in tow!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a Reply