Are Dogs Allowed in Yellowstone National Park?

Written by August Croft
Updated: January 24, 2023
© Michael Hinkle/Shutterstock.com
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There’s nothing like camping and enjoying the great outdoors with man’s best friend, but are dogs allowed in Yellowstone National Park? Whether you are planning an upcoming trip or are simply interested in learning more about Yellowstone in general, this is an important question to answer if you want to visit the first National Park in the world!

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know when it comes to bringing your dog into Yellowstone National Park. We will address whether or not you can hike with them, camp with them, and if there’s anywhere that dogs are not allowed. Let’s get started and talk about all of the tips and tricks you need to enjoy your time in Yellowstone with your pooch! 

Dogs in Yellowstone National Park: Are They Allowed?

Are Dogs Allowed in Yellowstone National Park
If you are used to hiking with your pet, Yellowstone National Park may not be the place for you and your dog.

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Technically speaking, yes, dogs are allowed in Yellowstone National Park. However, there are many locations within the park that prohibit pets. For example, pets are not allowed on any trail or in any backcountry location. You are also not allowed to bring your pets on to any boardwalks or near any type of hydrothermal activity. 

So, what does this mean for you and your dog? If you are used to hiking with your pet, Yellowstone National Park may not be the place for you and your dog. You can have your pets in designated areas, such as: 

  • Developed areas with asphalt or concrete
  • Parking lots
  • Certain campgrounds
  • Yellowstone National Park roads

Yellowstone Park Rangers further elaborate on where you can bring your pets, stating that all animals need to be kept within 100 feet of a developed area, such as a campground, parking lot, or roadway. But what else should you know before traveling to Yellowstone with your dog? Let’s go over more important information now!

Can I Hike in Yellowstone with My Dog?

Are Dogs Allowed in Yellowstone National Park
Dogs aren’t allowed on any marked or unmarked trails within Yellowstone National Park.

©Alpeek/Shutterstock.com

No, you cannot hike in Yellowstone National Park with your dog. While this may seem disappointing or restrictive, Yellowstone Park Rangers have this rule in place for the safety of your animals and yourself. Dogs attract a number of different wildlife species within the park, including bears, wolves, coyotes, and more. 

While this may sound surprising, there is evidence that suggests that both bears and wolves find dogs threatening, often resulting in altercations or bears following dogs and their humans around the park. This is obviously not something that you or a Yellowstone Park Ranger would want, so it’s best to keep your dog off of the trails! 

Dogs aren’t allowed on any marked or unmarked trails within the park, including backcountry trails or trails that have a certain amount of pavement. In fact, dogs are especially not allowed on boardwalk trails or any trail that features hydrothermal activity. Many dogs have unfortunately lost their lives in the past by jumping into Yellowstone’s dangerously hot thermal waters, so be sure to observe the rules and keep your pet safe! 

Can I Camp in Yellowstone with My Dog?

Are Dogs Allowed in Yellowstone National Park
You can book a stay in a number of pet-friendly cabins within Yellowstone National Park, though these locations fill up fast.

©iStock.com/BigshotD3

Yes, you can camp in select areas in Yellowstone National Park with your dog. However, keep in mind that your dog will need to be restrained during their entire time while at camp, either kept in a kennel, on a leash, or in your tent or vehicle. Your dog cannot be left unattended at any time, including in your vehicle. 

Something important to note is the fact that dogs are not allowed in campgrounds that are considered backcountry campgrounds or off the beaten path. Designated campgrounds and RV parks are safe for your dog, but make sure to check your desired campground’s rules about pets before booking anything in advance. 

You can also book a stay in a number of pet-friendly cabins within Yellowstone National Park, though these locations fill up fast. You should make sure to reserve something well in advance of your visit, and do check first with your specific hotel or cabin as to whether or not pets are allowed to stay. 

Other Rules for Dogs in Yellowstone National Park

Are Dogs Allowed in Yellowstone National Park
Even if you choose to carry your dog in Yellowstone National Park, they are still not allowed on trails and in undesignated areas.

©Lorcel/Shutterstock.com

Besides the rules we have already discussed, there are a few other rules and tips for you to consider before venturing into Yellowstone National Park with your dog. Some important things to keep in mind before you plan your visit are: 

  • Always clean up after your pets, no matter where you are, and be sure to bring plenty of waste bags! 
  • Make sure that your dog’s leash is 6 feet or shorter, as longer leashes are not allowed. 
  • Do not tie up your dog to any tree, post, or other location, and never leave your dog unattended for their own safety. 
  • Do not leave your dog unattended in a vehicle at any time. If an animal is seen left in a vehicle without adequate survival needs such as shade and water, a Yellowstone Park Ranger may need to take action for the safety of your pet.
  • Even if you choose to carry your dog in Yellowstone National Park, they are still not allowed on trails and in undesignated areas. 

Keep in mind that all of these rules are for your own safety and the protection of you, your pets, and all the other visitors attending Yellowstone National Park. While we all love dogs, knowing where they can and cannot go within Yellowstone National Park is key to enjoying your experience!


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National parks are areas of the U.S. protected by the government
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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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