Hiking with Dogs

Dogs are permitted along most of the Trail, but they impose additional responsibilities on the hikers who bring them along. If you want to hike with your dog, be considerate of others (and your dog) by planning carefully, educating yourself about local regulations, and keeping your dog controlled at all times.


Dogs are NOT ALLOWED in three areas along the Trail:
  • Hiking with DogBaxter State Park, Maine
  • Bear Mountain State Park Trailside Museum and Wildlife Center, New York—alternate road walk is available
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

Leashes ARE REQUIRED on more than 40 percent of the Trail, including:

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
  • Maryland (entire state)
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
  • 500+ miles of A.T. land administered by the National Park Service

We recommend dogs be leashed at all times, as a matter of courtesy to other hikers and to minimize stress to wildlife, regardless of whether it’s required by law. 


People hiking with dogs should be aware of the impact of their animals on the Trail environment and their effect on the Trail experience of others. Be conscientious about cleaning up after your dog and keeping them away from water sources—dogs, like people, can carry and spread giardia and other diseases.  
  • Always keep your dog on a leash.
  • Do not allow your pet to chase wildlife.
  • Do not allow your dog to stand in springs or other sources of drinking water.
  • Be mindful of the rights of other hikers not to be bothered by even a friendly dog.
  • Bury your pet's waste as you would your own.

Take special measures at shelters. Keep your dog leashed in the shelter area, and ask permission of other hikers before allowing your dog in a shelter. Be prepared to "tent out" when a shelter is crowded, and on rainy days.

For more information, visit the Leave No Trace site here.