Updated: Jun 28
Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful destination to explore with your furry friend. While we all wish this park were more dog friendly, I can help you create a one-day itinerary with dog-friendly activities and sights. We stayed in Cody, Wyoming, so we entered the park on the east side; this itinerary also works great for the South (Jackson Hole, WY, and Great Teton National Park) and West Entrance (West Yellowstone, MT).
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Here's our itinerary for a day at Yellowstone with your dog:
Start your day early to beat the crowds and have more peaceful moments in the park.
Begin at the park's visitor center to gather information, maps, and any updates on dog restrictions or trail closures. Unless your dog is a service animal, dogs are not allowed inside but can stroll around the visitor center grounds. Many visitor centers have open spaces and trails suitable for pets. And don’t forget to take pictures!
Always be aware of your surroundings at this park; you will encounter wildlife, and you and your dog want to stay distant and safe. I always carried my first aid kit, and my dog, Yenko, always had a bear bell in this park. Also, never leave your dog unattended, whether in the car or tethered..it’s a big NO.
We also did some shopping at the General Store; we started at the Fishing Bridge Store and made sure to stop at every other General Store as they had items about that particular stop.
Our first stop was Old Faithful. Dogs can explore the area with you and watch Old Faithful erupt every 35-90 minutes from a distance. Dogs are not allowed in thermal areas or shops unless they are service animals. For my dog's safety, he stayed a distance away.
After watching Old Faithful, you’ll want to see the colorful hot springs at Midway Geyser Basin. There is a beautiful hike going to Fairy Falls that showcases Grand Prismatic from a view up above. But you can also explore them close up on the boardwalk. (dogs must stay near the parking area)
Head towards the Norris Geyser Basin. While dogs are not allowed on the boardwalks around the geysers, you can still explore the area by taking a scenic drive and stopping at the overlooks; make a quick stop at the pet-friendly Norris Campground to let your dog stretch their legs and enjoy a bit of playtime.
Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the designated picnic areas within the park. Be sure to bring plenty of water and dog-friendly food for you and your pup.
After lunch, drive the inner loop to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Stop at the various viewpoints along the way, such as Artist Point (I totally recommend this stop, it’s a short 0.5-mile hike) to admire the breathtaking scenery.
Take a short hike on the South Rim Trail, which offers stunning canyon views. Please make sure the walk is dog friendly (it can change at a moment's notice). Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times to protect the park's wildlife.
Drive to Mud Volcano, and walk around the boardwalk. It’s an incredible sight to see hot springs with a limited water supply. The sounds here are unlike any around the other park, especially Dragons Breath.
If traffic hasn’t delayed you, drive to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Dogs are allowed on the boardwalks and paved areas, so you can explore the beautiful terraces and hot springs together.
And as the day ends (and you are not scared of driving at night), visit the Lamar Valley, often called the "Serengeti of North America." This area is known for its abundant wildlife, including wolves, bears, and bison herds.
Always adhere to park regulations, keep your dog on a leash, and clean up after them. Also, remember that some areas of the park may have restrictions on dogs, particularly around thermal features and hikes. It’s for your dog's safety and the wildlife in the park. It's always a good idea to check with park officials for the most up-to-date information before your visit.
I hope this itinerary helps you plan your day at Yellowstone National Park with your dog. Enjoy this adventure and have a fantastic time exploring this incredible natural wonder!