BARK Ranger Day at the National Parks

Last updated on June 23rd, 2021 at 12:13 pm. Originally published on April 11th, 2021

Celebrate National Park Week with us from April 17 to 25! Share your love of the national parks and follow along with themed days throughout the week.

BARK Ranger Day at the National Parks is April 25

April 25 is the last day of National Park Week 2021, and we’re celebrating with our furry companions! Today we’ll be talking about traveling and visiting the national parks with your pup and how to become a BARK ranger during BARK Ranger Day.

What Being a BARK Ranger is All About

National parks are exciting and stimulating places, especially for your pets! The B.A.R.K. Ranger program was created to make sure both humans and canines have a positive and safe experience when visiting the parks. And don’t worry, you won’t have to teach your dog new tricks, the B.A.R.K. principles are for the humans!

B.A.R.K. stands for:

  • Bag your pet’s waste
  • Always leash your pet (leashes should be 6 feet or shorter)
  • Respect wildlife (no digging, or chasing/sniffing wild animals)
  • Know where you can go

Following these principles will make for fun and safe visits for both humans and dogs alike. You can even earn a BARK Ranger tag for your pet to wear! Pick up a BARK Ranger booklet at a visitor center and complete the activities listed. Then show it to a ranger and receive the tag for your pet – pups and kitties included!

Every national park has different restrictions on where pets are allowed to be. If visiting a park with your dog (or cat) make sure you check where they’re welcome. It’s also good to note that only service animals are allowed in the buildings at national parks, so keep those furry family members to designated pet friendly areas outside.

And remember, you can share you and your pet’s park experiences on social media during National Park Week with the hashtags #BarkRanger and #NationalParkWeek.

Tips for Bringing Your Pets to the Park

Traveling with your pets is rewarding, but it takes a bit of extra planning for everyone to have a good time. We’ve talked about how to travel with your dog and shared tips for camping with dogs, but today we’re talking specifically about bringing them to the national parks. There are a few things to remember before bringing your dog into a national park.

Know where you’re allowed to bring your pet.

Many national parks don’t allow dogs on some of the trails or in the backcountry, so do research ahead of time to see where you can bring your dog. If you can’t bring your pet into the park, have a plan on where they’ll be while you’re visiting.

Always keep your dog on a leash.

Keep those BARK principles in mind and respect the park’s restrictions on dogs. Even if you think they’re the best behaved dog in the world, make sure they’re following the rules and keep those leashes 6 feet long and under.

Make sure all their vaccines and preventative mediations are up to date.

Bring copies of your pets vet records with you in case you need to provide proof of vaccination. It’s also a good idea to check that their flea/tick/heart worm or other preventative medications have been administered or applied before you get to the park. Finally, make sure they’re wearing a collar tag with medical and contact information on it.

Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car while you’re away.

This is especially important in hot weather. Temperatures in cars and trucks rise quicker and get much hotter than the outside temperature. The inside temperature of a car can serious injure or kill a pet, even when it doesn’t feel hot outside. Keep your pet with you or have a plan for where they’ll be if you want explore areas where pets are prohibited. Several national parks have kennels and dog sitting nearby.

Keep their food stored securely and out of the way.

Leaving uneaten kibble around or not storing their food properly is a beacon for wild animals. Keep everything clean and secure so you don’t attract any unwanted wildlife, for both you and your dog’s safety.

Don’t forget waste pick up bags!

Some parks may have doggie waste stations or will hand them out at the visitor center, but you never know when you might need to pick up after your pet. Always bring a few more bags than you think you’ll need so you’re always prepared.

Best National Parks to Visit with your Dog

Dogs love being in the outdoors too, and national parks are the perfect way for both humans and pups to explore. Here are a few of our favorites, and check out more in our article about the best national parks to visit with your dog.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

At the South Rim of the Grand Canyon leashed dogs are allowed on trails above the rim, as well as Mather Campground, Desert View Campgrounds, Trailer Village, and in the developed areas of the park. Dogs are not allowed on most trails on the North Rim and in the canyon itself. If you want to hike down into the canyon, South Rim Kennel offers pet sitting so you can explore without worrying about your dog.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park

There are over 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads that are dog friendly in Acadia National Park. Dogs are also allowed in most of the public areas, and they can even ride on the free shuttles throughout the park. And if you need supplies while on your trip, Bay Harbor is located nearby and has kennels and groomers to cover your pet’s needs.

Yosemite National Park, California

A favorite national park for RVers, Yosemite allows leashed pets on most paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths unless otherwise noted. They’re also allowed in most developed areas. Bridalveil Fall and the Lower Yosemite Fall Loop are both dog friendly, and there are two kennels as well as dog sitting in the park if you want to do some exploring on your own.

Ready to hit the road with your pup? We have all the resources you need to plan your trip, including detailed information on all of the national parks. And if you need an RV to get you there, be sure to check out our great selection of RV rentals across the nation.

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