Pets in Parks

Are You Planning to Bring A Pet To Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area?

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a very pet-friendly place. To learn about where your pet can go, activities they can do by following the rules of BARK and the safest ways for them to visit read through this page.

Two dogs next to each other with safety vests sitting on grass
BARK Rangers Nancy and Kelce ready for their adventure on the McDade Trail

NPS Photo / J. Vidrio

A dog laying in the grass with a straw park ranger hat
BARK Ranger Kelsey pondering the rules of BARK

NPS / T. Henckel

Where Your Pet Can Go:

Pets are allowed almost everywhere in the park. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area encompasses more than 70,000 acres and has over 150 miles of trails, many of which are pet-friendly. There are just a few exceptions. When you are making your trip, make sure to plan ahead so you and your pet can have the best day possible!

Where Your Pet Can Not Go:

In Pennsylvania: 

  • Raymondskill Falls Recreation Site

  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center and Recreation Site, including the boardwalk trail

  • Smithfield Beach and Milford Beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day (Except when launching and retrieving vessels at the designated launch sites or when accessing the McDade trailhead for the purpose of utilizing the trail)

  • George W. Childs Park (closed until further notice)

  • Valley View Group Campsites

In New Jersey: 

  • Turtle Beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day

  • Kittatinny Point Picnic Area

  • Rivers Bend Group Campsites

Service Animals

Dogs classified as service animals are individually trained to perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere that visitors can go. Learn more about NPS requirements for service animals. Emotional support, therapy, and companion animals are not considered service animals and must abide by all pet regulations.

Dispose of Pet Waste Properly

Help keep Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area clean by collecting and disposing of all pet waste properly. Be sure to carry pet waste off the trail and dispose of it in one of the many public waste receptacles are located throughout the park.

BARK ranger Jameson ready to safely hike in the recreation area.
BARK ranger Jameson ready to safely hike in the recreation area.

NPS / K.DeMaio

Become a BARK Ranger

While Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is pet-friendly, there are some rules we ask you to follow in order to keep you and your pet safe:

  • Bag your pet’s waste

  • Always wear a leash

  • Respect wildlife

  • Know where you can go

Well-behaved pets who follow theses rules are invited to bring their human companions and become official Delaware Water Gap Bark Rangers. Learn more about the rules of BARK, where and how to enjoy Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with your pet and to earn your Bark Ranger tag, visit our BARK Ranger Page!

Park volunteer with a dog on a paddleboard in the Delaware river.
Park volunteer, Dr. Paul, enjoying the Delaware river with a BARK ranger.

NPS / P.Kovalski

Pet Safety

  • Be prepared and ensure your pet can safely attend all activities on your itinerary. Pets should not be left unattended in a vehicle, especially during the summer. High temperatures in a car can be a serious threat to pets. Instead, consider leaving them at home or bringing them to the park on cooler days.

  • Is something hot to the touch? Then its too hot for paws! The summer heat can be dangerous for a pet’s paws. Avoid walking your pet in the heat of the day. Follow the five-second rule: place the back of your hand on the pavement: if you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your pet.

  • Know where you can get your pet water while visiting the park. If you are hungry or thirsty while you are exploring, your pet probably is too. Always carry extra food and water for you both.

  • Ticks are prevalent in Delaware Water Gap, and are especially active late spring to early fall. Check yourself and your pet thoroughly after a visit to prevent ticks from latching on to you or your pet.

  • Hunting is allowed in the park. Always remember to be aware of your surroundings, dates for hunting seasons, and get your pet the proper safety gear.

  • If you’re taking your pet on the river, make sure you have a properly fitting life jacket for them. It is highly recommended that they wear one so that your pet can stay safe while boating with you.

  • Remember, you are taking your pet into a different environment and you are responsible for their safety. Have you considered your pet in all of your preparations? With a little planning, you and your pet can have an enjoyable and memorable trip to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Last updated: September 28, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 2

Bushkill, PA 18324


570 426-2452

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