5 Pet-Friendly National Parks to Visit

The best hiking spots for your four-legged friend

Adventures are better with those we love. Whether it’s your spouse, family, friends … or even your dog!

There’s no reason to leave your furry friend behind on your next trip to a National or State park. Pet-friendly hotels and activities are therefore a must, too – and we have you covered.

There is so much to explore at some of the most breathtaking backdrops in the country. We picked some of our favorites.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is all about the pups! Leashed dogs can explore along most paved roads, sidewalks and bike paths (one exception is the trail to Vernal Falls). You don’t have to miss out on any famous sites if you have your dog with you.

The trail to Yosemite’s most iconic waterfall, Bridalveil Fall, is a great short walk to stretch your legs or paws. If you’re looking for a longer hike, the Tuolumne Grove Nature Trail offers a beautiful walk through the famous sequoias of Yosemite.

Go all out! Enjoy a meal on the patio with your furry friend at Jackalope’s Bar and Grill. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite also offers a Fido-Friendly Room Package that includes a dog bed and bowls for your stay. There is also an onsite kennel if you need it.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite offers pet-friendly lodging complete with a dog bed, bowls and an onsite kennel.
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite offers pet-friendly lodging complete with a dog bed, bowls and an onsite kennel.
Leashed dogs can explore along most paved roads, sidewalks and bike paths in Yosemite National Park.
Leashed dogs can explore along most paved roads, sidewalks and bike paths in Yosemite National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park

The only thing more incredible than experiencing the majestic Grand Canyon National Park is being able to share it with your dog. Leashed dogs are allowed on named trails above the rim (not on any inner canyon trails for their safety and yours).

The South Rim Trail is your best bet for views and a safe, pet-friendly hike. You’ll get to see the big draws to the Grand Canyon: Yavapai, Hopi, Mojave and Mather Points.

The trail is 14 miles total, but feel free to go as far as you’re comfortable. The trail elevation is high – 6,800 feet on average – which can lead to dehydration and overheating in the summer. To avoid that concern, consider visiting in the spring or fall when temperatures are a little more forgiving.

Stop by Yavapai Tavern to grab a drink and enjoy lunch on the patio after a day of exploring. If you want to stay in the park, Yavapai Lodge on the South Rim is the only in-park lodge with pet-friendly rooms.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls is another magnificent experience to share with your dog. Keep in mind that being one of the most wondrous landscapes in North America, it does get quite busy at certain points of the year. But don’t worry – the falls are unforgettable no matter the season.

Niagara Falls State Park is full of water, sure, but it also has ample footpaths and green space to enjoy with your dog. Even better – the trails with the best views of the falls are dog-friendly! Pets are not, however, permitted inside attractions/buildings, or on improved walkways and boardwalks for their safety.

There are several dog-friendly hotels around the park, if you’re planning to stay right in Niagara Falls.

Shenandoah National Park

Of the 500 miles of trails in Shenandoah National Park, dogs are allowed on 480 miles of them. You have hundreds of options to explore with your fur baby! Check here for trails to avoid.

A pawsitively great hike (that’s right outside of Big Meadows Campground) is the Rose River Loop. It’s a four-mile roundtrip trail that takes you by Rose River Falls and some of the beautiful scenery that Shenandoah is known for.

Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins in Shenandoah National Park are all pet-friendly and offer convenient access to the park and trails. Join us for “Yappy Hour” at Big Meadow Lodge’s outdoor terrace, featuring pet-friendly dining and a special “Yappy Menu” for your doggy.

Shenandoah National Park allows dogs on 480 miles of trails! You'll also find pet-friendly lodging at Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins.
Shenandoah National Park allows dogs on 480 miles of trails! You'll also find pet-friendly lodging at Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park unfortunately doesn’t allow pets on park trails. But that doesn’t mean your companion has to stay home and miss out on all the fun!

Earthquake Lake/Refuge Point Loop is an easy 2.3-mile roundtrip hike to take with your pup.

If you’re looking for a longer, more advanced hike, check out Coffin Lakes Trail, starting at Watkins Creek Trailhead. You’ll cross a few streams during this 11.3-mile roundtrip hike, best explored June through September.

Many West Yellowstone stores are pet-friendly, including coffee shops and local retailers. Looking for a place to stay? Check out these pet-friendly hotels in West Yellowstone (even better – no extra pet fee).

Now, the big question is – where will you be taking your best friend?

Though Yellowstone National Park doesn’t allow pets on park trails, there are plenty of nearby hikes. Visit Quake Lake just northwest of the park for an easy 2.3-mile roundtrip hike.
Though Yellowstone National Park doesn’t allow pets on park trails, there are plenty of nearby hikes. Visit Quake Lake just northwest of the park for an easy 2.3-mile roundtrip hike.

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Lindsay Kensy is a copywriter for Delaware North’s Creative Studio, based in Buffalo, New York.