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Ranked: America’s most dog-friendly national parks

A Labrador Retriever in Shenandoah national park – one of the most dog-friendly in America

From accessible trails and pet-friendly campsites to kennel services and wildlife safety, these are America’s most dog-friendly national parks

Many of America’s national parks have strict policies in place for bringing along your dog – and for good reason. Some parks are home to dangerous trails, sensitive ecosystems, extreme weather or wild animals – from porcupines to grizzly bears – that you really don’t want your dog interacting with. Not only that, your dog can be a danger to them.

Luckily, there are several national parks which welcome pups and have almost no restrictions in place. Some with stricter rules have opened up trails to make them as dog-friendly as possible. Others have dog-friendly lodgings and kennel facilities nearby so you know your hound will be safe during your visit.

Wherever you take your pooch, never leave it unattended in a vehicle and always follow these basic rules in line with the National Park Service (NPS) BARK Ranger guidance:

  • Bag your pet’s waste
  • Always leash your pet
  • Respect wildlife
  • Know where you can go

There is more information on the NPS website. Always check NPS regulations before you visit any national park. We’ve linked to these for every national park in the US in the complete ranking at the end of the article.

10 most dog-friendly national parks

These are the 10 most dog-friendly national parks in the USA.

  1. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  2. Acadia National Park, Maine
  3. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  4. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia
  5. White Sands National Park, New Mexico
  6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
  7. Wrangell–St Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska
  8. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  9. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
  10. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
JOSEPH GRUBER/SHUTTERSTOCK Shenandoah is America’s most dog-friendly national park

What makes them dog-friendly?

What makes a national park dog-friendly depends on several metrics including how many miles of dog-accessible trails the park has, how safe it is for your dog and the local flora and fauna, if there are pet-friendly lodgings (including campgrounds) nearby, if there are local kennel services available, if viewpoints are accessible to dogs, and if there are any travel restrictions which could stop you and your dog accessing the park.

We’ve ranked Shenandoah National Park in Virginia as…

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