A dog waits in a car while its owner watches wildlife nearby.
Activities with pets are limited in Yellowstone: they are not allowed on trails or boardwalks, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.

NPS/Neal Herbert


Bringing a pet to Yellowstone may limit your activities in the park. Protect your pet and park wildlife by observing these regulations:

  • Pets may only accompany people in developed areas and must remain within 100 feet (30.5 meters) of roads, parking areas, and campgrounds.
  • Pets must be physically controlled at all times: they must be in a car, in a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long.
  • Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.
  • Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.
  • Pets may not be left in a situation where food, water, shade, ventilation, and other basic needs are inadequate. Pets may remain in vehicles for short periods of time, but we recommend that someone stay behind to personally ensure their well being.
  • Owners must bag and dispose of pet waste.

There are NO EXCEPTIONS to the regulations for carried pets (in arms, carriers, strollers, backpacks, and so forth) in restricted parts of the park.

These policies exist to protect pets from being killed by predators like bears and coyotes, to protect them from being burned or killed in hot springs, to prevent the exchange of diseases between domestic animals and park wildlife, and to allow others to enjoy the park without the disruption of pets.


There are no kennels in Yellowstone but this service is available in surrounding communities.

Service Animals

Qualified service animals assisting people with disabilities are allowed throughout the park and in all park facilities. However, they must be leashed.


Open Transcript 


Here in Yellowstone, we realize that many people will be traveling with pets. There are a few things you need to consider if that is the case with your family. Pets are allowed here, but there are strict guidelines you will need to follow.

Pets are allowed in public areas, parking lots and within 100 feet of any road. They must be on a leash that is not longer than 6 feet in length at all times. Visitors are not allowed to tie their pet to trees or other objects and leave them unattended. Pet kennels cannot be left outside of vehicles.

If you do leave a pet in a vehicle, make sure you have proper ventilation. If possible, park in a shady spot or plan that part of you visit for early in the day. Although the climate in Yellowstone is cooler than most of the country, vehicles heat-up fast here.

Pets are not allowed on any boardwalks or trails. Pets are prohibited from all of Yellowstone’s backcountry.

We realize that at first glance these rules seem harsh, but they’re for your safety and the safety of your pet. Animals seen harassing wildlife are subject to impoundment and possibly being destroyed or the owner fined.

Yellowstone is the land of bears and wolves and many other things that can prey on domestic animals. Bears and wolves particularly don’t like dogs. While it is possible that your dog may outrun a bear, it is unlikely you could. Bears have been known to follow domestic dogs back to their owners. Wolves see domestic dogs as competition.

Thermal areas, which are located all across Yellowstone, pose a huge threat to your animals. Much of the thermal water in the park is at or nearly at the boiling point. Dogs have a difficult time distinguishing between cool water and hot water. There have been many occasions where dogs have been injured or killed by jumping into hot water here. There have even been instances where owners have lost their lives trying to save a pet.

Be aware that diseases can be spread from domestic animals to Yellowstone’s wild animals and vice-versa. Mange, Parvo and Distemper are found in wild animals and can be transmitted to your pet. You must clean-up after your pet. It is required that you carry proof on vaccinations from a veterinarian. Park Rangers may ask to see those documents.

If you can’t leave an animal home, but you would like visit Yellowstone without the worry associated with having a pet in the park, consider one of the local kennels. You will find a list of places that will watch over your beloved animals on our website. These services are located in communities outside of the park so plan ahead.

If you are going to stay overnight in Yellowstone with your pet, you have some options. Pets are allowed in campgrounds and the same rules mentioned earlier apply while camping. Be aware that food and water bowls cannot be left outside. Checkout our website for more information on safe camping in bear country before you visit.

Pets are not allowed in hotel rooms in the park, but dogs and cats are allowed in some cabins. Check with Xanterra Parks and Resorts for more on availability, fees and regulations.

We realize that pets are part of the family and we want you and your family to enjoy the world Yellowstone has to offer, but we also want to protect your family and the park. This is truly an amazing place and if you plan ahead and use caution a trip to Yellowstone is something you won’t forget.

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3 minutes, 44 seconds

Park Ranger George Heinz covers some of the rules and provides advice related to traveling with pets in Yellowstone.

Photo of a park ranger at an entrance station
Basic Information

Get all the essential information here, from directions to entrance fees to hours of operation.

Last updated: July 16, 2019

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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