Beautiful views and boundless wildlife are both attractions in our national parks. They’re a wonderful place to visit to get out of the house, but they’re not the friendliest places for dogs. Grand Teton National Park allows dogs on the roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas but doesn’t allow pets anywhere else.
Understanding where your dog can go in Grand Teton National Park can be confusing. This guide contains the places where your dog isn’t permitted, where they’re allowed, and activities you can do together at the park.
Does Grand Teton National Park Allow Dogs?
In short, Grand Teton National Park allows dogs, but there are several restrictions regarding where your dog is allowed. Although it is limiting—and disappointing when you want to explore somewhere new with your dog—national parks have hefty restrictions to keep visitors, pets, park resources, and local wildlife safe.
Dogs are not permitted in any of the following areas:1
The only exception to these restrictions is fully trained service dogs. Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as dogs trained to perform a specific task to aid their handler,2 service dogs are allowed to accompany their handler throughout the park. They need to be certified as working animals, but there are no other restrictions.
Emotional support or comfort animals aren’t considered service dogs under the ADA and must abide by the park’s no-pet policy. They are only allowed on campgrounds, roads, and picnic areas.
Where are Dogs Permitted in Grand Teton National Park?
Compared to the extensive list of places your dog isn’t allowed to go in Grand Teton National Park, the list of places they are permitted is disappointing. In all areas your dog is allowed to go, they need to be on a 6-foot leash or crated, and, as always, you’re expected to clean up after them.
You should double-check the Grand Teton National Park website to ensure your dog is allowed in an area. If it’s not listed as a place you can take your dog, it’s safest to assume that dogs are not permitted. Or, if you’re still confused, a good rule of thumb is that if a car is allowed in an area, your dog is too.
Why Are Dogs Not Permitted in Grand Teton National Park?
Dogs are restricted in Grand Teton National Park because of safety reasons. Since they’re designated for environmental conservation, national parks are meant to be kept as wild as possible.
Unfortunately, dogs can be put in danger due to the park’s wildlife or even pose a threat themselves. Not only can some animals get spooked by the sight of your dog—especially if they get chased or your dog starts barking—they can spread infections and diseases to each other if they interact. Limiting the dogs allowed in the park helps keep the area, wildlife, and visitors safe.
Dog-Friendly Activities at Grand Teton National Park
It’s much easier to find activities to do in Grand Teton National Park when you don’t have a dog, but fortunately, the restrictions aren’t entirely limiting. You can participate in a few dog-friendly activities in the park and the surrounding area.
Most lakes in Grand Teton National Park don’t allow dogs to swim or ride in the boats. Jackson Lake is the only lake that allows your dogs to join in with the boating fun you have planned. They’re not allowed to swim, but they’re free to join you on a kayak, canoe, or motorboat. You can explore the water even if you don’t have a vessel, too; there is a place where you can rent boats nearby.
2. Bridger-Teton National Forest
While you can’t take your dog hiking in national parks, national forests are another matter. Bridger-Teton National Forest is next to Grand Teton National Park and is the perfect place to walk your dog.
It’s 5 miles long and rated moderate, so it’s a good challenge for novice hikers without being impossible. The trail ends at a lake where you can stop for lunch and give your dog a chance to swim.
You can’t take your dog on adventures around the park, but you can still go camping with them. All of the campgrounds and picnic areas are dog-friendly. Dogs aren’t allowed to wander freely, and you’ll need to keep them tethered, on a 6-foot leash, or in a crate, but your weekend camping can be spent with your dog.
The campgrounds and RV sites are pet-friendly, but you can also rent cabins if you prefer a less-rustic experience. Remember to check the rules to ensure you can leave your dog unattended in any of the lodgings at the park.
4. Scenic Drives
The easiest rule to follow regarding national parks is that your dog is also allowed wherever a car can go. This includes the roads, and there are several scenic drives you can check out at Grand Teton National Park.
Some popular scenic drives in Grand Teton National Park are:
Dogs are also allowed within 30 feet of the roads and turnouts, so you can make frequent stops along the way to take pictures and stretch your legs. Make sure your dog is leashed, pick up after them, and watch out for any wildlife that might be nearby.
5. Teton Village and Jackson
Grand Teton National Park isn’t the only place you can explore in the area. There’s a nearby area called Teton Village that you can access via Moose-Wilson Road. It has several restaurants to try out and a few breathtaking sights to view.
The town of Jackson is a great place to explore too. You can explore the streets with your dog, check out souvenirs, and take advantage of the local dog-friendly restaurants.
Very few national parks allow dogs without heavy restrictions, and Grand Teton National Park is no different. Although dogs are allowed on the roads, in the camping areas, and at picnic spots, they’re not permitted anywhere else in the park. While this can make finding something to do challenging, we hope this guide helped you figure out how to make the most of your visit to Grand Teton National Park.
Featured Image Credit: melissamn, Shutterstock