B.A.R.K. Ranger Program

A banner that says Hot Springs National Park Bark Ranger with a green and brown dog on either side.


A Park Ranger in uniform is kneeling and holding up a hand to swear in a golden retriever dog and a smiling woman who is their owner as Bark Rangers. An old man and volunteer watch. There is a certificate on the ground in front of the dog.
Get sworn in as a BARK Ranger! Visit the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center for more information.


Do you love exploring national parks with your canine companion? You're in luck! Hot Springs National Park offers countless opportunities for dogs and their humans to explore together. Dogs are allowed on every trail in Hot Springs National Park and are even allowed inside the Superior Bathhouse.

Become a B.A.R.K. Ranger

You can learn more about our BARK Ranger Program by inquiring with a ranger at the Fordyce Bathhouse and Visitor Center. Dogs and their humans can complete this short program by choosing two designated activities on the BARK ranger activity card in the park. All successful dogs will be sworn in as official BARK rangers and will receive a certificate of completion.

Please note: even though we love all BARK rangers, only service animals are allowed inside the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center and Museum. All dogs are allowed on the spacious front porch where we provide water for them.

Color sketch of a black & white dog on a blue & black background. The dog has its mouth open and tongue out. It also has a blue ribbon around it's neck with a bark ranger medal. It says, "Bark Ranger, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Bark Ranger Cooper

NPS Photo

B.A.R.K. Ranger Principles

B = Bag Your Poop

  • Help keep Hot Springs National Park clean by collecting and disposing of all dog waste in proper recepticles. Please be sure to carry the poop bag off the trail and do not throw them into the woods or leave them along the trail. Public garbage cans are located throughout the park.

  • Dog feces is not a natural fertilizer. Runoff from dog feces can contaminate our precious springs, creeks, and groundwater. Dogs can also carry diseases such as parvovirus, giardia, and roundworms, all of which can affect other dogs and the park's wildlife populations.

A = Always Wear a Leash

  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m). Retractable leashes that extend beyond this limit are prohibited.

  • Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from wilderness hazards.

  • Many people, especially children, are frightened by dogs, even small ones. Leashes also help to protect the experience of others who may be afraid or allergic. Not everyone loves dogs, regardless of how friendly and well behaved your dog may be. It is important to respect the personal space of other visitors.

  • Strange or new sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively. Leashes ensure that your companion stays with you at all times.

R = Respect Wildlife

  • Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife. They can scare birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding, and resting sites.

  • The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.

  • It is important that you keep your dog at a respectful distance from any animals you may encounter, including other dogs.

K = Know Where To Go

  • Dogs are allowed on all of our trails and also in the Gulpha Gorge Campground. Dogs are permitted to cool off in Gulpha Gorge Creek by the campground, so long as they are on a leash.

  • Pets are restricted from entering all public buildings on park property, with the exception of the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Restaurant.

  • All areas that are closed to park visitors, such in the thermal springs, are off limits. Pets and people may not swim in them.

  • Pets should not be left unattended. Summer heat poses a threat to pets in vehicles. Never leave pets alone in a car while hiking!

A brown and black Belgian Malinois dog with a black harness on poses in front of the large Hot Springs National Park Sign on green grass with trees in the background.
Hot Springs K9 Ranger, Konyak


K9 Ranger, Konyak

Hot Springs National Park is home to one of the Park Service's most celebrated K9 rangers, Konyak. Konyak is a seven year-old Belgian Malinois from Hungary. He worked for Hot Springs National Park for six years and retired in 2022.

During his time at the park, Konyak has made approximately forty arrests by surrender. He has helped seize over $10, 000.00 USD in narcotics and currency. Konyak and his team have assisted all the local agencies in Garland County to include the Hot Springs Police, the Garland County Sherrif's Office, and Arkansas State Troopers. Konyak and his handler Ranger Little have been deployed to work at Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument and Yosemite National Park for drug interdiction operations.

In addition to modeling the B.A.R.K. principles while out on the trails, Konyak also loves fetch, meeting junior rangers, and doing demonstrations at schools and special events. He loves to be pet by all the visitors. When he is not at work, he loves spending time with his family and getting lots of love and play time.

Working dogs fulfill many other roles at our national parks, in addition to law enforcement - including herding and protecting wildlife at Yosemite, pulling sleds across the frozen tundra at Denali, and acting as service animals for those with disabilities at countless other parks.

Hot Springs National Park

Last updated: July 8, 2022