Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Pet Friendly National Parks and the Bark Ranger Program

More Americans are traveling with their pets, and some national park sites have found a creative way to welcome dogs without compromising their rules or affecting the wildlife. In 2015, the Bark Ranger program began at Olympic National Park and became official in the summer of 2016. Montezuma Castle was next, and since then the popular program has been spreading to other parks.

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)

BARK Ranger Program
Get Your Bark Ranger Tag

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

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

Not all the parks that participate in the Bark Ranger program are especially pet friendly. For example, Olympic National Park and Devil’s Tower are both very restrictive when it comes to pets on the trails. But there are others, like Petrified Forest and Acadia National Park, that are very pet friendly!


Petrified Forest National Park


Be A Good Ambassador

When you visit any national park, monument, or historical site, be sure to ask about the Bark Ranger program when you check in at the ranger station. The program is still expanding, and asking about it may 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, so we can all continue to enjoy the parks with our furry travel companions.

Montezuma Castle National Monument


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


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

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  • Tracie Makuley says:

    Lake Mead Recreational Area in Boulder City, Nevada (just south of Las Vegas) is very dog-friendly. Leashed dogs are allowed on all of the trails. They only areas they are not allowed in are designated swimming areas. However, there are some coves that are okay for pups to take a swim.

    • Amy at says:

      Thanks so much for your note, Tracie! We agree – we’ve loved visiting Lake Mead NRA – it’s a great spot to explore with pets. Waggin’ trails to you!

  • Lois L says:

    Sagamore Hill NHS in Oyster Bay, NY just started a BARK Ranger program. I’m a volunteer there and encourage visitors with dogs to learn about it. The nature trail and grounds are pet-friendly.

  • Heather says:

    Golden Spike National Historical Site in Utah has it as well.

  • Cindy Acy says:

    Just participated in the BARK Ranger program at Indiana Dunes NP which is not on your list! Lots of fun!

  • Jaylyn says:

    Hopewell was wonderfully welcoming to my dog. He was able to walk with me through the mounds in Moundville. I really appreciated it and enjoyed the park with my dog who also seemed to have a good walk. I encourage others to go there.

    • Amy at says:

      Thanks so much for letting us know, Jaylyn! It’s always great to hear from someone whose been there, and it sounds like a very nice place to visit with pets. Waggin’ trails to you!

  • Sue Goucher says:

    Is there a pamphlet available.

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Sue! Unfortunately, other than some mentions on the individual national park websites, the national park services doesn’t appear to be providing any centralized information on the BARK Ranger program. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  • Chris Steinhauser says:

    How do we start the bark ranger program

    • Amy at says:

      My advice is to get in touch with a ranger at one of the parks that is already participating in the program, Chris. The more parks that participate, the better!

  • I’m so happy to see that this is expanding! I’ll mention it to our national park rangers here in Hawaii and see if we can add them to the BARK Ranger Program!

    • Amy at says:

      YAY!! That would be fantastic, Rhonda!
      Thanks for your note and I hope you and the pups are well.

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