Are you planning a trip to Wyoming and wondering if Yellowstone 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 Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park is not a very dog-friendly national park. Pets must be within 100 feet of paved roads and parking areas at all times. They are not permitted on any trails or boardwalks in the park, including all backcountry and thermal areas.
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger. I worked as a park ranger in Wyoming, and I love to be in Yellowstone any chance I get! I’m excited to help you plan your upcoming trip to this spectacular national park.
Let’s talk about the best places to take your dog in Yellowstone National Park!
Where Can I Go With My Dog in Yellowstone?
Dogs are allowed in the following areas:
Yellowstone has twelve 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
Your dog can be with you in any of the parking lots in Yellowstone, but they are not permitted to go more than 100 feet from 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.
Yellowstone 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:
- West Thumb to Fishing Bridge (gorgeous views of Yellowstone Lake)
- Canyon Village to Tower Fall (dramatic mountain views)
- Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City (Enjoy wildlife viewing from the car in Lamar Valley)
- Firehole Lake Drive (see geysers from your car)
- Beartooth Highway (not in Yellowstone, but just outside the park’s Northeast Entrance)
Take a look at the Yellowstone Map to locate these roads before you go.
You’ll also enjoy hitting all six of these spectacular roadside waterfalls in Yellowstone. Just be aware that your dog will not be able to join you at some of these viewpoints.
Always clean up after your dog so that these areas continue to be dog-friendly!
Dogs are not allowed in the following areas:
Trails and Boardwalks
Dogs are not permitted on any trails or boardwalks in Yellowstone. This includes (but is not limited to) boardwalks and trails at Old Faithful, Canyon Village, and Mammoth Hot Springs.
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 and boardwalks in Yellowstone.
Backcountry trails and all thermal areas 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 Shoshone National Forest. This beautiful forest service area borders the park’s east side, and you’ll find some majestic mountain views out here!
You’ll also find some great trails and views in the Gallatin National Forest that borders the park’s west and north sides. You’ll find Hebgen Lake just a few minutes outside of West Yellowstone, and I suggest trying the Cabin Creek Trail or Refuge Point Loop.
Be sure to check out the Beartooth Highway, which lies in both of these national forest areas. Leashed pets are permitted on the trails in all of these places.
Dogs are not allowed in the park’s public buildings, such as visitor centers, museums, restaurants, or gift shops.
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 Yellowstone?
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 to avoid altering their natural habitat and behaviors.
Pets can transmit diseases to the wildlife in Yellowstone 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, Yellowstone is known for its large amounts of bears and wolves, neither of which like dogs! Wolves see dogs as competition and bears sometimes follow dogs back to their owners. For these safety reasons, dogs are limited in where they can go.
Thermal areas and boardwalks are closed to dogs for their safety. Most pools of water in Yellowstone are at or near boiling point, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between hot and cold water. Unfortunately, pets have been killed by jumping or falling into the hot springs in the past.
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 Yellowstone can be terrible.
Did you know that it’s common to sit in traffic for an hour at a time…or more?!
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 Yellowstone 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 Yellowstone?
You can find several kennel options near Yellowstone National Park.
What Are Some Dog-Friendly Hotels In/Near Yellowstone?
Pets are not permitted in hotel rooms in the park, but there are several private cabins in Yellowstone that are dog-friendly. This includes:
- Lake Hotel Cabins
- Lake Lodge Cabins
- Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Cabins
- Canyon Lodge Cabins
- Old Faithful Lodge Cabins
- Old Faithful Snow Lodge Cabins
- Roosevelt Lodge Cabins
You can find several pet-friendly hotels just outside of Yellowstone. A few good options are:
Northeast Entrance — The Alpine Motel in Cooke City
AirBnB and VRBO also have some options in the nearby communities.
What Happens If I Take My Dog Somewhere He’s Not Allowed in Yellowstone?
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 Yellowstone regularly.
What If I Bring My Service Dog to Yellowstone?
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 Yellowstone National Park and will be required to follow all pet regulations.
Thanks for being here — I absolutely can’t wait for you to explore Yellowstone National park with your favorite furry friend!
More Yellowstone Trip Planning Information
Yellowstone Itinerary — a detailed hour-by-hour sightseeing schedule.
How to Get to Yellowstone — the best airports and roads in the area.
How Many Days Should I Spend in Yellowstone? — itinerary ideas.
The Best Time to Visit — what to expect during each month of the year.
Weather, Hours, and Closures — important weather info and common closures.
Where Should I Stay? — the best options in and around the park.
All About Camping — learn about the park’s campgrounds and how to get a site.
12 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Yellowstone — the top spots
The Best Easy Hikes — the perfect trails for kids, wheelchairs, and beginners.
Best Things to Do — activities for every type of adventurer.
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