Are you planning a trip to Montana and wondering if Glacier National Park is dog-friendly? You’re probably excited to bring your dog along on your adventures, so let’s talk about your options in Glacier.
Glacier National Park is not a dog-friendly national park. Pets must be kept to the paved roads and parking areas at all times. They are not permitted on any trails in the park, including all backcountry areas.
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger. I love to be in Glacier any chance I get, and I’m excited to help you plan your upcoming trip to this majestic national park!
Let’s talk about the best places to take your dog in Glacier National Park!
Where Can I Go With My Dog in Glacier?
Dogs are allowed in the following areas:
Glacier has thirteen campgrounds, and all campgrounds allow dogs. If you want to camp with your dog, please be aware that:
- Pets are required to be on a 6-foot leash at all times
- Dogs cannot make excessive noise
- You must pick up after your dog
- Your dog can’t be left unattended or tied to an object while you’re out exploring the park
Glacier has several paved bike paths that travel around the Apgar Village area, and dogs are allowed on these pathways.
The Apgar Bike Path runs from the West Entrance to Apgar Village (near the Apgar Backcountry Permit Office). It’s about 1.5 miles each way and completely flat.
The Fish Creek Bike Path is a fully paved pathway that connects the Fish Creek Campground to the Lower McDonald Creek Bridge on the Camas Road (close to Apgar Village). It’s about 1.2 miles each way and gains 25 feet of elevation.
Your dog can be with you in any of the parking lots in Glacier, but they are not permitted to leave the pavement. If you need to get out of the car and stretch your legs in the parking lot, your dog may join you.
Please don’t leave your pet in the car while you hike.
Your dog can join you for a picnic in any of the park’s developed picnic areas. This includes the designated picnic areas at Bowman Lake, Fish Creek, Apgar, Sprague Creek, Avalanche Creek, Sun Point, Rising Sun, Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and Walton.
You’ll find many beautiful lakes in Glacier that will allow you a day out on the water with your dog. Lakes that allow motorized boats also allow dogs, but they must stay in your boat at all times.
This includes Bowman Lake, Lake McDonald, Lake Sherburne, Saint Mary Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, and Two Medicine Lake. You can learn more about boating with your dog here.
Glacier has some beautiful scenic drives that you can enjoy with your dog. If you plan for some time to enjoy the scenery from the car, you can see some spectacular views in the park together!
A few of my favorite scenic roads are the Going-to-the-Sun Road and Highway 2.
Take a look at the Glacier Map to locate these roads before you go.
Always clean up after your dog so that these areas continue to be dog-friendly!
Dogs are not allowed in the following areas:
Dogs are not permitted on any trails in Glacier.
You cannot carry your dog in your arms, push him in a stroller, carry a kennel, put her in a backpack, etc. to get around these rules. The rule is simply that no dogs are allowed on the trails in Glacier.
Backcountry trails are also closed to pets. Please do not leave your dogs in a vehicle while you hike.
If you want to do some traditional hiking with your dog, you’ll find some amazing trail options in the nearby Flathead National Forest. This beautiful forest service area borders the park’s south and west sides, and you’ll find some majestic mountain views out here! The Glacier View and Hungry Horse areas are the closest to the national park.
Dogs are not allowed in the park’s public buildings, such as visitor centers, museums, restaurants, or gift shops.
If you want to hang out with your dog along a lakeshore in Glacier, be sure to choose a developed picnic area such as the one at Apgar or Fish Creek. If you’re not in an area near the lake that has pavement/sidewalks, etc. then your dog is not allowed along the lakeshore or in the water.
If an area isn’t listed in the “Where Dogs Are Allowed” section above, then you should assume that your dog is not permitted.
Why Can’t I Take My Dog Hiking in Glacier?
The most important reason that a national park is established is to preserve and protect the most beautiful places in America. An important part of fulfilling this charge is by keeping the native wildlife safe and healthy and avoiding altering their natural habitat and behaviors.
Pets can transmit diseases to the wildlife in Glacier National Park, which can lead to sickness and death of the animals that live here naturally. And vice versa….your dog can also get sick from the wildlife in the park!
Also, Glacier has a large population of bears and moose, neither of which like dogs! Moose will charge and trample things when spooked, and bears can get aggressive and follow dogs back to their owners. For these safety reasons, dogs are limited in where they can go.
Please join with the NPS in their efforts to take better care of the outdoor spaces, including the local wildlife, by following the pet regulations.
Traffic and crowding in Glacier can be terrible.
Did you know that it’s common for parking lots to completely fill even before the sun comes up?!
Are you hoping to see the best sights without getting stuck in traffic, circling parking lots, or being surrounded by people?
Stay ahead of the crowds with this Glacier Itinerary. You will see all of the can’t-miss spots, plus get lodging and dining guides, driving directions, and insider tips!
Where Can I Find the Best Kennel Near Glacier?
You can find several kennel options near the West Entrance of Glacier National Park:
All of these boarding options are located in Columbia Falls, MT, approximately 20 minutes from the West Entrance of Glacier. These are the closest and most highly reviewed kennels near the park. If you are staying in Kalispell or Whitefish, you’ll find additional dog boarding in that area.
There are extremely limited boarding options on the east side of the park. The St. Mary KOA offers limited pet sitting/kennelling and the Happy Trails K9 Daycare is located in Babb near the Many Glacier Entrance.
What Are Some Dog-Friendly Hotels In/Near Glacier?
Pets are not permitted in any hotel rooms in the park, so you’ll need to stay outside of Glacier if you bring your dog with you. As a reminder, campgrounds in Glacier are dog-friendly if you’re hoping to stay within the park.
You can find several pet-friendly hotels just outside of Glacier. A few good options are:
Many Glacier/St. Mary Entrances — St. Mary KOA
Two Medicine Entrance — Circle R Motel
AirBnB and VRBO also have many other options in the communities near the park.
What Happens If I Take My Dog Somewhere He’s Not Allowed in Glacier?
You will receive a citation for no less than $75, but it could be more depending on the infraction.
Park rangers and park volunteers patrol the hiking trails, roads, and viewpoints in Glacier regularly.
What If I Bring My Service Dog to Glacier?
Service dogs that are recognized by the ADA are allowed to accompany their owners throughout the entire park. A service dog must be specifically trained to perform tasks related to the owner’s disability.
Emotional support, therapy, or comfort animals do not qualify as service animals in Glacier National Park and will be required to follow all pet regulations.
Thanks for being here — I absolutely can’t wait for you to explore Glacier National park with your favorite furry friend!
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