Fido’s Adventure: What You Need to Know About Bringing Your Dog to a National Park

Mar 8, 2020

In 2018, the dog walker and pet sitter website and app, Rover, conducted a study of 500 pet owners. Of those, 37 percent reported that they had skipped at least one vacation in the past. Their reason? Not wanting to leave their beloved four-legged family member behind.

With so many travelers choosing not to board Fido or leave him with friends and family, many are opting to instead visit places where dogs are welcome to come along.

Typically, national parks aren’t high on that list. In an effort to prevent house pets from damaging the ecosystem or disturbing native wildlife, most national parks and monuments only allow pets in very limited spaces, if they are allowed in at all. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few national parks that are great for taking a family trip, furry family members and all.

Which National Parks are Pet-Friendly?

If you’re dreaming of bringing your pup along on your national park adventure, choosing the right one is so important.

While most visitors don’t realize it, the majority of national parks are actually pet-friendly. In fact, it’s much easier to list the ones that aren’t pet-friendly than the ones that are.

If you want to bring your dog along for your national park road trip, avoid these non-pet-friendly destinations:

  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Castle Mountains National Monument
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  • Arches National Monument
  • Fort Scott National Historic Site
  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Cane River Creole National Historic Park
  • Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
  • Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument
  • Adams National Historic Site
  • First Ladies National Historic Site
  • Isle Royale National Park

The Best National Parks for Bringing Fido

While the rest of the country’s national parks, monuments, and historic sites are pet-friendly, they allow dogs in a variety of areas and with a variety of restrictions. If you’re only looking to take a drive through the park or maybe enjoy a picnic just off the main road, just about any park will do. But if you want to do more, head to one of the top-rated national parks for bringing your pet along.

According to Petlandia, a personalized pet gift company, the top 10 national parks for visiting with your dog are:

  1. North Cascades National Park
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Mammoth Cave National Park
  4. Shenandoah National Park
  5. Petrified Forest National Park
  6. Zion National Park
  7. Yosemite National Park
  8. Acadia National Park
  9. Rocky Mountain National Park
  10. Badlands National Park

Visiting Zion National Park with Your Dog

Zion National Park landed itself in spot number 6 on the list of best national parks to visit with your dog, making it a great choice for your next family vacation.

If the thought of hugging the chain as you hike to the peak of Angels Landing while also hanging onto the leash of an overly excited pup has your heart pounding, don’t fret; pups aren’t allowed on this or most other trails in the park.

If you’re bringing Fido along, there are several rules you’ll need to follow.

First, the only trail that your dog is allowed on is Pa’rus Trail. Any other trails, as well as wilderness areas, are off-limits. Pets also aren’t allowed on shuttle buses or in any public buildings. 

While you’re walking your pet on the Pa’rus Trail or along a roadway, he or she must be kept on a leash that’s 6-feet long or shorter. Dogs are allowed in developed campgrounds, so long as they are kept on a leash when outside of your tent or RV. You can leave your pet unattended in developed campgrounds when they are properly restrained, weather conditions are safe, and if the pet doesn’t make unreasonable noise, like excessive barking. It is always prohibited to leave your pet unattended in a vehicle when conditions pose a health hazard.

If you want to do any hiking beyond Pa’rus Trail and aren’t staying somewhere that your pet can be safely left behind unattended, there are boarding kennels available in Hurricane, St. George, Kanab, Cedar City, and Rockville.

Violating any of these rules could result in a minimum fine of $100.

Other Places to Take Your Pet Near Springdale, Utah

Don’t want to board your pet during your vacation? Once you’re finished hiking Pa’rus Trail and taking a cruise through the park in your vehicle, head to one of these other pet-friendly destinations in the area.

There are several dog parks in the area where your pet can play off the leash, including Marj Bonner Dog Park and Hurricane Dog Park.

Nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Sand Hollow State Park are both pet-friendly. Fido is welcome on all trails and in all other areas of the parks, including the sand dunes. Just remember that the sand can get hot and may burn your pet’s sensitive paws during the summer months. Pets must remain on a leash with a maximum length of 6-feet, and may not be left unattended.

Many restaurants in Springdale, Hurricane, and other nearby cities offer pet-friendly outdoor dining. Just be sure to call ahead to see whether Fido is allowed before you visit!