Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Pet Friendly National Parks and the Bark Ranger Program

More Americans are traveling with their pets, and national parks are popular destinations. Unfortunately, many national parks aren’t very pet friendly. But that’s changing! Without compromising their rules or affecting the wildlife, some parks have started Bark Ranger programs. And it’s become so popular that it’s spreading quickly. Below you’ll find a list of national parks where your pup can become a Bark Ranger.

Pet Friendly National Parks and the B.A.R.K Ranger Program |


Bark Ranger Program

The Bark Ranger program was introduced as a way to encourage responsible national park travel with dogs.

BARK stands for:

Bag your poop

Always wear a leash (6-foot max)

Respect wildlife (give them their space)

Know where you can go (which trails/areas are pet friendly)

READ MORE ⇒  The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip

BARK Ranger Program
Collect Bark Ranger Tags

Dogs participating in the program are sworn in as Bark Rangers, and their owners can purchase a special tag for their pup’s collar. Each participating park has their own tag, so your dog can collect them all!

Pet Friendly National Parks and the B.A.R.K Ranger Program |

Become A Bark Ranger

The national parks with Bark Ranger programs are not equally pet friendly. For example, Olympic National Park and Devil’s Tower are both very restrictive when it comes to pets on the trails. But others, like Petrified Forest and Acadia National Park are very pet friendly! In our post on the Best Pet Friendly National Parks, we share the parks we’ve found to be the most pet friendly.

Here’s the list of national parks where your pet can become a Bark Ranger:


READ MORE ⇒  The Most Dog Friendly National Parks in the U.S.

Petrified Forest National Park

Be A Good Ambassador

When visiting any national park, monument, or historical site, be sure to ask about the Bark Ranger program. As the program expands, simply asking about it could encourage more parks to participate.

We are so lucky to have so many wonderful national parks, and even luckier when they allow pets! Please be sure to follow all the rules and be a good model for other pet owners. That way we can all continue to enjoy the parks with our furry travel companions.

Montezuma Castle National Monument


A Quick Note

Some national parks, such as Glacier, Denali, and Sleeping Bear Dunes have a Bark Ranger programs that employ dogs to control or protect wildlife. If you are unsure which program is offered by a particular park, a phone call to the visitor center will clear things up!

  • Christopher J. Messier says:

    Hi, my name is Christopher Messier. I am a Visitor Services Supervisor at Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, MA. Massachusetts State parks, run by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation have enjoyed a long partnership, particularly regarding the Boston Harbor Islands. I am reaching out to you for guidance/ collaboration in hopes that we may begin such a program in DCR but I am only in the information gathering phase of this. I am hoping that you might be able to help so that we can improve the relationship between dogs and people in our parks here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any information that you could send would be appreciated. Thank You.

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Christopher! Thanks so much for your note. You’ve reached us here at and I love that you’re looking to improve the parks’ relationship with dogs and their people. The details available for the BARK Ranger program in each of the national parks mentioned in the article can be found by clicking the links to their websites. If there is other information you’re hoping to gather, perhaps it would be best to contact those parks directly. I wish you all the best!

  • Karen says:

    Hi- can I order the dog id tag for B.A.R.K. Ranger for our dog? We visited the Biscayne Park & we got the tag but they don’t do the Photo I.D. There? Is there anywhere I can order/purchase one for our dog? Please.

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Karen! To my knowledge, if they don’t do the photo ID at the park, there’s no way to order one. I’m sorry we can’t help! Waggin’ trails to you.

  • Mike Craig says:

    Perhaps you missed us, but Biscayne National Park also has a BARK Ranger program.

  • Pat says:

    I suggest contacting parks not listed. For example, dogs are welcome at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on the grounds but not in the fort. Really nice walking paths along the waterfront.

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Pat! Thanks so much for your suggestion. You’re absolutely right – pets are welcome in many national parks and historic sites that don’t participate in the Bark Ranger program. It’s always worth a call or scanning their website to see where pets can go. Thanks again, and happy travels to you!

  • Shelly L. says:

    I find it odd that Badlands isn’t willing to open the park to dogs. There are many trails to explore without disturbing wildlife. It’s possible that they may be concerned about rattlesnakes which I could kind of understand but it’s such a wonderful, vast park that you’d think they would be on the list.

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Shelly! And thanks for your note. I agree with you – it seems like Badlands could designate a trail or two as pet friendly. Every trail in nearby Custer State Park allows pets, and has for years! And Wind Cave National Park, which isn’t far from Badlands, has two trails where pets are allowed. So, the decision not to allow pets on any trails at Badlands has never made sense to me either. Thanks again for stopping by, and waggin’ trails to you!

  • Tammy R Haskell says:

    Thank you so much. I did not know about this program and we are going to start RV’ing full time with our two dogs in April

    • Amy at says:

      You’re so welcome, Tammy! I hope you and the pup have a wonderful time on your adventures. Waggin’ trails!

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