Indiana Dunes Dog Policy
Indiana Dunes National Park is Dog Friendly
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes is highlighted by 15 miles of coastline with large sections of sandy beaches and large dunes. However, the park also has over 50 miles of trails. The trails lead through the dunes, but also through the woodlands, prairies, and wetlands that are a part of this large, approximately 15,000 acre, park. Indiana Dunes also hosts a variety of plant, animal, and bird life.
Indiana Dunes National Park is a dog friendly park. Dogs are allowed on most trails, and even allowed on several parts of the beaches. Please see the map in the detailed NPS pet policy for a quick overview of where pets are allowed. Dogs are not allowed to be left unattended in cars.
Indiana Dunes National Park also runs the BARK Ranger program where you can get a special dog tag by learning and following park rules (see the BARK Ranger section below).
Dogs are allowed on the following trails while on a leash:
- Pinhook Upload Trail
- Glenwood Dunes Trail system where horses not allowed, including the parking lot
- Great Marsh Trail
- Heron Rookery Trail
- Hobart Prairie Grove Trails
- Moount Baldy Beach Trail
- Paul H. Douglas Trail
- Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail
- Tolleston Dunes Trail
- West Beach Trails
Dogs are not allowed on the following trails:
- Pinhook Bog Trail
- Horse part of the Glenwood Dunes Trail system
Dogs are allowed year round on all beaches except the swimming area at West Beach from the Friday of Memorial Day Wekeend through Monday of Labor Day weekend.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times on the beach, even while they're swimming. Dogs are not allowed to chase birds or other wildlife on the beach.
Bark Ranger is a really great program that some National Park Service destinations run. The Bark Ranger program teaches dog owners responsible behaviors with their dogs, and in return you get a special dog tag that’s different for each park (note: some parks require you to purchase the tag at the end). You start the program by going to a park office and picking up a checklist. When you complete the checklist (see the link below for more details), you can get your special dog tag.
B.A.R.K. is an acronym for:
- B: Bag your poop
- Help keep the park clean by bagging and picking up your dog poop, and properly disposing of it. Don’t leave your bagged poop on the side of the trail, hanging from branches, or throw it into the woods. Please note dog poop is not a natural fertilizer — it can carry disease that can spread to wildlife or other dogs.
- A: Always wear a leash
- Dogs must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6'. Retractable leashes that extend beyond 6' are not allowed. Not everyone appreciates a dog running up to them, and many people are scared or allergic to dogs — a leash prevents uncomfortable situations between your dog and others. Leashes also help protect your dog from running off if anything spooks them.
- R: Respect wildlife
- Dogs can chase or scare wildlife such as birds and turtles. They can also damage nesting areas. Some parks have wildlife, such as bears, coyotes, or wolves, that can threaten your dog. Please be respectful of wildlife with your dog, and if you do encounter wildlife, keep dog at distance to protect both your dog and the wildlife.
- K: Know where to go
- Know which trails allow dogs, and which don’t. Don’t leave dogs unattended in vehicles while you go off to hike. See the link below for more details.
For more information on the Bark Ranger program, please see: https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/bark-rangers.htm
We also have a list of all parks that run the BARK Ranger program.