Did you know, that August 25th is the National Park Service’s 106th Birthday?!? It is! For 106 years the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, they safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 318 million visitors every year.
In celebration of the NPS’s birthday, we thought we would share how you can enjoy the National Parks with your pet! Many parks are waiving entrance fees on August 25th, so it is the perfect time to Find Your Park!
Which Parks Can You Visit With Your Pet?
National parks welcome pets—in developed areas, on many trails and campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities. The National Park Service preserves special places for visitors to enjoy—even with your furry family members. Note, not every park welcomes pets, so it is important to check park websites before you go. The NPS.gov website has a great interactive map that shows which parks allow, and don’t allow pets with a link to their website.
Hiking With Your Pet
Before you hit the trail, make sure your pet is in good health, has trail manners, and is fit enough to endure the hike. A long and busy trail can be overwhelming for a dog, especially if there are lots of new scents to explore. Always keep your dog on a leash and away from wildlife. Remember: you are responsible for your pet’s safety. Be prepared. Just like you, your pet will have needs on the trail. Bring extra water and light snacks for your furry friend. Watch for signs of overheating – excessive panting, drooling, or vomiting – and give your pet a break if they need it. They’ll enjoy having a refreshing treat with you mid-hike. And don’t forget to Leave No Trace and clean up after your pet. Visit the Trails & Hiking website for more tips on hiking and hiking with pets.
Become A B.A.R.K. Ranger!
This is from the NPS B.A.R.K. Ranger Website >
Does your dog have what it takes to be a B.A.R.K. Ranger? Learn the B.A.R.K principles so you and your pet can have a safe and fun visit any time you visit a national park. Then visit a park, take the pledge, and get a badge.
- Bag your pet’s waste. – No one wants to hike on a trail littered with dog poop. Plus, pet waste can introduce harmful bacteria into fresh water sources or pass diseases to wildlife. Use Leave No Trace principles and pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste.
- Always use a leash. – Even a well-behaved dog can get excited when visiting our national parks. Always keep your dog on a 6-foot leash. Do your part to keep yourself, your animal, and other hikers safe.
- Respect wildlife. – Keep your pets away from wildlife. They could startle or provoke animals, resulting in injury. Our domestic pets also are also at risk of getting or giving diseases to wildlife.
- Know where you can go. – Dogs are welcome on many trails, but always check with your park for areas that are off-limits to pets.
These are just a few ways that you can ensure a safe and fun National Park experience with your pet! The NPS.gov website is a great resource for any questions you might have about visiting any of the National Parks, so be sure to check it before you travel.
We hope this post inspired you to get up and get out! You know we LOVE our National Parks, and know that you will too!
What is your favorite National Park to visit? OR, which park is on your bucket list? Tell us in the comments below 👇