Which U.S. National Parks Allow Cats? A Complete Guide to All 63 Parks
So if you’re planning a trip to a National Park, you may be wondering if you should bring your kitty along. Taking your cat hiking in the redwood forest or camping at Yellowstone may seem like a fun idea, but before you pack up the catnip and kitty harness, check to make sure the park you’re visiting allows you to bring your cat.
Some National Parks are happy to let you take your fur baby anywhere, while others only allow pets on paved roadways and in campgrounds. We’ve made it easy to decide whether or not to bring your kitty along for the journey by rounding up all the U.S. National Parks that do and don’t allow pets. But first, let’s talk about how to safely enjoy a National Park with your kitty in tow.
Safety tips for Visiting National Parks with your Cat
Use a harness and leash
At most National Parks, federal law requires all pets to be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. But even if it weren’t required by law, leashing your kitty is a good way to make sure she doesn’t run off and get into trouble—or make friends with any local wildlife. Use "The True Adventurer" Reflective Cat & Kitten Harness and Leash to make your trip extra secure.
Bring a backpack as a safe space for your kitty
Your fur baby needs a safe place she can retreat to when the big wide world gets too overwhelming. A cat backpack can be that place, just like "The Navigator" Convertible Cat Backpack - For Adventurous Cats and Humans. Put in her favorite toy and/or blanky for some extra comfort.
Stay with your kitty at all times
As a good cat parent, you probably already have an unspoken rule that your fur baby goes wherever you go. At campsites and in wilderness areas, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your kitty. And it goes without saying that you don’t want to leave him in the car alone if it’s a hot day.
Get your cat an ID tag
As a cat owner, you’ve probably learned to be prepared for anything. When you take your kitty into the great outdoors, you need to be doubly prepared. Have your cat wear an ID tag with your contact info on it, so she can be returned to you if she escapes.
Consider a GPS tracker
Should your kitty stray off in search of a strange sound or fascinating smell, a GPS tracker is generally the best way to locate him, so you may want to consider getting one before you take off on your outdoor adventure.
Bring flea and tick medication
Kitties can pick up ticks as they’re romping through the grass, so be sure to pack some flea and tick meds. If you’re in an area with ticks, don’t forget to check your kitty (and yourself) at the end of each day.
Bring plenty of food and water
If you’re taking your kitty on a hike, or just on a drive, be sure to pack enough food and water for both of you! Cats pick up most of their hydration from treats and food, so bring plenty of your fur baby’s favorite foods, in addition to water. Try "The Go Anywhere Bowl" Collapsible Travel Pet Food and Water Dish For Cats or "The Travel Buddy" Foldable All-In-One Double Bowl & Mat - Portable Cat Food & Water Dish.
Now that you know how to safely bring your kitty to the park, here are all the U.S. National Parks that do and don’t allow cats.
U.S. National Parks that Allow Cats
These parks will let you bring your kitty just about anywhere outdoors. Most of them are perfectly safe for cats if you follow the safety tips above, although it’s worth noting that Lake Clark National Park recommends not bringing your kitty, as the Alaskan wilderness isn’t considered a safe place for four-legged friends.
- Acadia National Park
- Congaree National Park
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Gates of the Arctic National Park
- Gateway Arch National Park
- Hot Springs National Park
- Lake Clark National Park
- New River Gorge National Park
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- White Sands National Park
- Wrangell St. Elias National Park
U.S. National Parks that Don’t Allow Cats
These National Parks absolutely don’t allow kitties, so if you’re planning a trip to one of them, you’ll have to leave your fur baby at home.
U.S. National Parks that Allow Cats in Certain Areas
Most National Parks allow cats in certain areas of the park, such as parking lots and picnic areas, campgrounds, sidewalks, and paved paths. Other parks, like Mammoth Cave, allow pets everywhere but in caves and buildings, while the Grand Canyon simply doesn’t allow pets beyond the rim. If you’re planning a trip to one of these parks, first check their guidelines for pets, which we’ve linked to below.
- Arches National Park
- Badlands National Park
- Biscayne National Park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Crater Lake National Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Denali National Park
- Dry Tortuga National Park
- Everglades National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Glacier Bay National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Great Basin National Park
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- Haleakala National Park
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
- Indiana Dunes National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Kings Canyon National Park
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Mammoth Cave National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Mount Rainier National Park
- North Cascades National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Pinnacles National Park
- Redwood National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Saguaro National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Virgin Islands National Park
- Voyageurs National Park
- Wind Cave National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Zion National Park
U.S. National Parks that Don’t Say They Don’t Allow Cats
These parks don’t say either way, so…we’ll leave it up to you.
What About National Forests?
National Forests generally allow pets, but they ask that you keep them on a leash no more than 6 feet long in most areas. You may want to check individual forest websites to see if they have any specific tips on how to have the best time with your fur baby.
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