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Home > General > Are Dogs Allowed in Glacier National Park? (Updated in 2024)

Are Dogs Allowed in Glacier National Park? (Updated in 2024)

bernese mountain dog with a leash

Glacier National Park is one of the most breathtaking parks in the United States. With over 1 million acres, it’s home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, bears, and deer. Since it’s such a great place to connect with nature, many wonder if they can take their dog. The short answer is that dogs are only allowed in certain areas. Keep reading for an explanation of where you can take your pet and the other rules that you must follow when visiting the park with your dog.

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Dogs in Developed Areas

Your dog can visit Glacier National Park if you keep them in the parking, campground, and picnic areas, in your car, and on a boat. However, there are still a few rules that you need to follow. Your dog must always stay on a leash that’s no longer than 6 feet when in the park, to prevent them from wandering off and disturbing wildlife or other visitors. You must also clean up after your pet, which means bringing waste bags and disposing of them at designated locations. Furthermore, you will need to keep your pet out of all restricted locations, which may include parts of the developed areas of the park.

white dog on a leash walking with owner
Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Dogs on Trails and in the Backcountry

Dogs are not allowed on any trails or in the backcountry part of Glacier National Park. This rule helps protect the park’s delicate wildlife and ecosystems from interference. Prey species like deer and elk are easily frightened by dogs, which can lead to stress and might result in the animals fleeing from the area. Dogs can also leave behind scents and waste that attract predators, which then might attack the deer and elk. Finally, if the dog is injured or lost in the backcountry, it can be difficult to find or get them the help that they need.

Alternatives for Pet Owners

Scenic Drives

Glacier National Park has several scenic drives that offer breathtaking views of the park’s natural wonders, and as long as your dog stays in the car (properly secured), they can enjoy them too. Popular scenic drives include the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier Road, and Two Medicine Road.

cute small jack russell dog in a car wearing a safe harness and seat belt in a car
Image Credit: eva_blanco, Shutterstock

Pet Sitter

Many of the towns near Glacial National Park offer pet-sitting services or boarding, so you can enjoy the park without worrying about the safety and well-being of your pet.

Nearby Areas

Another option is to explore areas around the park that do allow pets. There are several other national forests and state parks that you can visit with your pet and have an amazing time. That said, you will still need to follow the local rules, including keeping dogs on leashes, cleaning up after them, and respecting wildlife and other park visitors. Popular parks near Glacier National Park that allow dogs include Flathead National Forest, Kootenai National Forest, and Whitefish Lake State Park.

portrait of two cute havanese dogs with dog leash sitting in forest and looking to camera
Image Credit: Peter Mayer 67, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Dogs are allowed in most of the developed areas of Glacier National Park, which includes the picnic areas and campsites, so there is great potential for fun with your pet. You can also keep them with you in the car or take them out on a boat. However, if you intend to walk the trails or visit the backcountry, you must leave your pet behind as they are not allowed, even while wearing a leash. Fortunately, there are pet sitters and boarding in many local towns. If you can’t leave your pet behind, we recommend visiting one of the many nearby parks that do allow dogs, like the scenic Whitefish Lake State Park.

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Featured Image Credit: Kokokola, Shutterstock

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