Can You Take Dogs to Glacier National Park [Guidelines & Restrictions]

Traveling with our furry companions always adds an extra layer of consideration to our planning, especially when it comes to national parks. Glacier National Park, a stunningly beautiful part of the United States, is a prime example.

We understand the appeal of wanting to bring our dogs along to enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s important to navigate the rules and restrictions that are in place to protect both wildlife and pets.

At Glacier National Park, we can take our dogs to developed areas, campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roadsides. However, we must be aware that these locations have stipulations that require us to keep our dogs on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.

They are not allowed in hotel rooms in park lodges, on trails, or in the backcountry, primarily for the safety of the area’s sensitive ecosystems and potentially aggressive wildlife.

Understanding these guidelines ensures that we can enjoy the majesty of Glacier National Park responsibly without disrupting the landscape’s natural balance. Respecting the park’s guidelines is important to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone—two-legged and four-legged alike.

Park Access and Restrictions for Dogs

Navigating Glacier National Park with our furry companions requires awareness of the park’s specific guidelines. We must respect these rules to ensure the safety of our dogs, wildlife, and the park ecosystem.

Trail and Backcountry Limitations

In Glacier National Park, dogs are not allowed on trails and in the backcountry. This includes all surrounding areas, such as footpaths leading to the mountains, streams, and glaciers, and even picturesque spots like Logan Pass.

Strictly speaking, our four-legged friends are limited to developed areas and must always be on a six-foot leash.

Developed Areas and Campgrounds

Dogs may accompany us to developed areas along roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas. It’s essential to keep them on a leash and never leave them unattended, as the presence of wildlife like grizzly bears and moose can pose a danger.

When in developed areas, we have the convenience of marked parking areas, where dogs are allowed but must remain either within vehicles or on a leash.

Safety and Wildlife Considerations

Glacier National Park is home to a sensitive and vital ecosystem, housing species like wolves and grizzly bears. For safety and to protect this ecosystem, it’s best if we leave our pets with a pet sitter or at boarding options outside the park.

For those who rely on service dogs, accommodations are made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Camping with dogs can introduce risks, so always be conscious of potential wildlife encounters and ensure that pets do not threaten or disturb the wildlife and their natural habitat.

Recreation and Activities With Your Dog

When visiting Glacier National Park with your four-legged friend, we must adhere to specific guidelines to ensure our pets’ safety and preserve the park’s natural beauty. From picnicking in designated areas to exploring Apgar Village, let’s navigate the activities we can enjoy with our dogs.

Picnic Areas and Day Use

Lake Mc Donald in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

You can enjoy several activities with your dog in Glacier National Park while following park guidelines. At designated picnic areas, including Apgar and Lake McDonald, lunch with your leashed dog is a great option.

A Camper Van driving through Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park near West Glacier, Montana

Also, in Apgar Village, dogs are permitted on roads, parking areas, and at the Apgar Campground. A leisurely walk with your dog alongside Lake McDonald offers picturesque views. Keeping your dog on a leash and cleaning up after them is essential to preserve the park’s natural environment.

Boating and Watercraft Guidelines

Adventurous Man Kayaking in Lake McDonald

For those of us interested in boating, we’re allowed to bring our dogs on private boats. When navigating the waters of Glacier National Park, it’s important to follow the park’s boating and watercraft guidelines to maintain a safe and enjoyable experience.

Let’s ensure we prepare for any situation by having life jackets for everyone, including our pets, and by being aware of the park’s policy regarding watercraft on the various lakes.

While dogs are not permitted on the trails or backcountry in Glacier National Park to ensure the park’s ecosystem and wildlife are not disturbed, we can still enjoy numerous activities with our dogs in designated areas. Keep them on a leash and carry waste bags to leave no trace in the park.

Rules and Compliance for Dog Owners

Black Labrador Retriever dog poses at the Glacier National Park entrance sign

Here’s what we need to know about bringing our pets to this park:

1. Leash Laws and Pet Etiquette

Pets must always be on a leash while in Glacier National Park. The leash must be no longer than six feet to prevent any disturbances to wildlife and to ensure the pet’s safety. This rule helps us maintain the park’s pristine nature and a pet-friendly environment.

Allowed Areas

Pets are permitted in developed areas, frontcountry campgrounds and picnic areas, along park roads, and in parking areas.

Prohibited Areas

Pets are prohibited on park trails, along lake shores, in the backcountry, or in any building. This is crucial to remember to avoid fines and protect our pets.

2. Service Animal Regulations

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are recognized as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.


Service dogs are allowed in all park areas where visitors can go. We must prove that our dog is a service animal to prevent misunderstanding.


Service dogs must be under control and on a leash or harness unless it interferes with a service dog’s work or the individual’s disability.

Note: Emotional support, therapy, and companion animals are not considered service animals under the ADA and are subject to the park’s pet regulations.

We must respect these guidelines to make sure our experience and the experience of others at Glacier National Park remain memorable for the right reasons. Remember, we are responsible for picking up after our pets and properly disposing of their waste.

If we’re planning to traverse the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road and need pet care, nearby Columbia Mountain Kennels provides options outside the park where our pets can be looked after while we explore areas where pets are not allowed.