In the US, National Scenic Trails span many different land types (state/federal parks, forests, etc). While these all have different rules on pets, I was wondering if the National Trail System designation has special rules.

Are pets (particularly dogs, in my case) allowed to thru-hike US National Scenic Trails such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, etc?

2 Answers 2


No. They can be on the vast majority of each trail, but in most cases the land agencies along the way still have their own rules, and many National Parks (and some state parks) forbid pets on trails. You would have to either bypass those areas or arrange for your pet to be transported to the other end of each.


NSTs do not have a uniform set of rules. That said for the major trails, there are good websites that can answer many of your questions.

The ATC website says that dogs are NOT allowed in 3 areas: Baxter State Park in Maine, Great Smoky mountains National Park in Tennessee, and Bear Mountain State Park in New York. There is an alternate road walk for the Bear Mountain section. The BSP section can be done in a single day and it is the first or last day which can make logistics easier. That said, the remoteness of BSP makes logistics more difficult. For GSMNP you will need to find someone to take care of your dog for the 4 or so days it takes to hike through the park.

The PCTA provides information on the PCT. While I cannot find anything that says dogs are allowed, they are (along with horses). That said, hiking the PCT with a dog is a bad idea because of the long distances between resupplies, water shortages, weather, terrain, bears, and snakes.

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