Today marks 100 years since the National Park Service was established. On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service Organic Act was passed and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. As of right now, there are 59 National Parks, you can see the full list here.
The following is an adaptation from our book Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with Your Pets.
We love going on adventures to National Parks and exploring the amazing sights. They are spectacular locations to take in nature and most allow dogs in at least some areas of the parks. Some say that National Parks are not very dog friendly, however, we have always felt welcome, even if we didn’t get to explore the whole park. You can visit the National Park Service website before your trip to determine where your dog is allowed to visit. In all cases, dogs are required to be on a leash.
Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks
We have visited two National Parks in California, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park. We visited both during one Woof Trek since their location is quite off the beaten track. We mostly drove around Sequoia National Park to see the towering sequoias. Dogs are not allowed on the trails but are allowed on leashes in the camping areas.
Yosemite National Park is much more dog friendly. The park has lots of paved trails and dogs are welcome on these paths. We enjoyed exploring both of these Parks in the cool mountain air.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah and is one of five National Parks in Utah. It is a bit of a drive off the interstate, but totally worth it. This National Park is unique because most of scenic views of the Park can only be visited by shuttle bus. Since we Woof Trek with our dogs, we didn’t go on the shuttle.
We did take a driving tour of a portion of the Park through the amazingly colorful canyons. One of the coolest parts of the drive in Zion National Park is when you go through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. This tunnel has cutouts where you take a quick peek out into the canyons as you drive through. Dogs are only allowed on one trail at Zion, called the Pa’rus trail.
Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
We have visited the Grand Canyon, both the South and North Rims, with our dogs. They loved exploring the trails as much as we did. Lots of people from all over the world visit the Grand Canyon; we were surprised by how many different languages we could hear. Then again, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
If you make the journey to the Grand Canyon, you may also want to visit Horseshoe Bend while you are there. Horseshoe Bend is a large curve in the Colorado River that is about 5 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam and about 140 miles from the South Rim. It is a breathtaking view and we highly recommend it.
There are no Park Rangers or facilities (restrooms, water, etc.) at Horseshoe Bend. Dogs are welcome on the trail on a leash. It is a bit of a hike, up and down a hill, which takes about 45 minutes round-trip. Once you get to the Bend, you can look straight down into the canyon. The view is excellent, but there is no guardrail or any sort of protection from falling. This location is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach; skip it if you are afraid of heights.