by K9 Power Team September 16, 2020 5 min read

5 Open National Parks: Where to Take Your Dog

(Your dog is going to love this blog post!)

If we could read any dog’s mind, we’d know that some fresh air is always a good idea to them. You can whisper the phrase want to go outside and a dog will leap out of bed, ready for action!

Try it and then take them to one of these five national parks that are open this summer. 

Then...keep reading! Below these five, we have some tips for hiking with your pups, precautions to consider, and some resources to help make your next adventure together an amazing one.

1. Acadia National Park

Location: Maine

With over 100 miles of walking trails, the adventures are endless in Arcadia. Just don’t forget to bring a map!

Acadia National Park

Check here for more information and current updates on trail openings and closings: Acadia - National Park Service

2. Capitol Reef National Park

Location: Utah

Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.

Capitol Reef National Park

Check here for more information and current updates on trail openings and closings: Capitol Reef - National Park Service

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3. Pecos Historical National Park

Location: New Mexico

Explore the remains of Indian pueblos! With incredible structures still standing in the desert, this National park is full of culture and exploration. Wildlife can be dangerous here, so don’t forget to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes.

 Pecos National Park

Check here for more information and current updates on trail openings and closings: Pecos - National Park Service

4. Rocky Mountain National Park

Location: Colorado 

Please note: This beautiful park currently requires a reservation before entering.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Check here for more information and current updates on trail openings and closings: Rocky Mountain - National Park Service

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5. Great Smoky Mountains

Location: North Caroline & Tennessee

Gatlinburg Trail is one of two trails open to pets in the Great Smoky Mountain region. Enjoy scenery for 1.9 miles (one-way) as you travel from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Gatlinburg, TN. 

Great Smokey Mountains

Check here for more information and current updates on trail openings and closings: Great Smoky Mountains - National Park Service


Quick Tips for Hiking With Your Pup

Know your park. It’s always smart to double check parking, pet policies and any trail closures. That way, you’re never caught off-guard!

  1. Know your pet.  Before hitting a park, ask yourself:Is my dog fit enough to go?Not all dogs are able (or wanting) to complete every park. An older dog may not have the strength and endurance of his younger days, so you’ll want to choose a park that’s right for him.
  2. Trail manners.  A new place can be overwhelming for a dog, so some basic trail manners go a long way. Make sure your dog is used to seeing people and other dogs before you choose to go on a trail. This helps keep everyone safe.
  3. Bring extra water!  Especially with the heat this summer, it’s so important to stay extra hydrated before hitting the trails. Want extra protection from overheating and dehydration? Our Go Dog Hydration Formula is loaded with electrolytes and carries a delicious flavor, so your dog gets extra hydrated. While you’re on the trails, make sure to stop periodically for water breaks.
  4. Pack your dog’s bag.  If you’re heading out for a longer trail, make sure you have everything necessary to keep your dog hydrated and fueled! You may even want to bring a dog pack that he carries on his back. Just be conscious that the added weight puts a bit more strain on your dog, leading to overheating and fatigue more quickly.
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Extra Precautions - COVID-19

This year, so many things have changed. The most important thing to make sure you follow is social distancing, which is likely easier to do in a national park when compared to your local grocery store—thankfully. Additionally, it’s smart to keep your mask close, too. That way you can put it on if the trail becomes busier.


Don’t Forget Your Dog’s Leash!

Leashes make it possible for dogs to continue to be allowed at National Parks for three important reasons.The first is that your dog is protected from potentially harmful wildlife, anything from porcupines to mountain lions. You don’t always know what is out there, and it’s more likely they are to be left alone when they are by your side. 

Secondly, a leash also protects other people (and pups) from your dog. This one may sound a bit unnecessary because a lot of us don’t want to believe our dog could hurt another person or dog. However, you just never know and it’s nice and respectful to keep your dog on a leash for others. 

Lastly, the reason your dog should stay on a leash is to protect the wildlife of the park. Dog’s don’t read the signs to stay on trails, so they don’t know they’re being inconsiderate of the wildlife that each park protects.


A Message From the National Parks Service:

Remember the rules of a good B.A.R.K. Ranger. (source:

B = Bag Your Poop

  • Help keep our parks clean, pick up dog poop in a doggie or plastic bag and dispose of in a garbage can located within the park. Or, simply pack it out with you.
  • Dog poop is NOT a natural fertilizer. Dogs can carry diseases and parasites such as parvovirus and roundworms. These are dangerous to introduce to the park’s wildlife populations.
  • Water sources may also be polluted by dog poop.

A = Always Wear A Leash

  • Pets should be restrained on a leash no longer than 6-feet.
  • Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from wilderness hazards such as larger, predatory animals and even birds.

R = Respect Wildlife

  • Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals.
  • The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife.
  • Please keep your dog at a respectful distance from any animals you may encounter.

K = Know Where To Go

  • In Big Cypress dogs are allowed on the grassy areas around the parking lots and in the campgrounds (be sure to keep on leashes).
  • Dogs are not allowed on any of the boardwalks or backcountry trails or in the visitor centers.


Some More Resources We Love


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