Visitors walk their leashed dogs along the Bighorn Pass Road. NPS / Brad Sutton
Joshua Tree's unpaved backcountry roads have little traffic and are good places to walk leashed dogs.

NPS/Brad Sutton


An important part of our lives, pets provide us with companionship, love, and joy. Park regulations do not allow pets to join you on hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in park buildings. Instead, the park offers many great alternative areas to explore on a
pet-friendly visit to Joshua Tree National Park. Leashed pets are allowed within 100 feet (30.5 m) of roads, picnic areas, and campgrounds. See the park map for locations described below. .

"Why not take my pet with me?"

Wildlife sightings highlight national park visits for many visitors. Unfortunately, the mere presence of pets in the park alters their natural behavior. In national parks, the native wildlife has priority.

Odors, especially urine and feces, left behind by dogs prevent wildlife from returning to important habitats such as fan palm oases.

Sensitive archeological sites are hard to see and may be inadvertently disturbed by inquisitive four-legged visitors.

Pet Safety: Abundant cactus spines, rattlesnakes, and sharp rocks will harm your pet. Dogs are natural hunters but can easily become the hunted. Predators, such as coyotes and mountain lions, can kill pets, even during daylight hours.

Even if your pet follows instructions and is well behaved, others do not know your pet and may feel uneasy when encountering you.

By following the park’s simple regulations and respecting fellow visitors, you and your pet can have a happy and safe park outing.


Pet Regulations

  • All pets must remain on a leash at all times.
  • Leashes must be 6 feet (1.8 m) long or less.
  • Pets are allowed within 100 feet (30.5 m) of roads, picnic areas, and campgrounds.
  • Owners must pick up any droppings and put them in the trash.
  • Regulation violators are subject to fine.
  • Bring plenty of water for your pet.

Leaving pets unattended or tied to an object is prohibited under 2.15 of 36 CFR. It can be lethal to leave your pet in your vehicle.

Service Animals

The 2010 revision to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a “service animal” as an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Animals that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including animals that provide comfort or emotional support (e.g. therapy animals), are considered pets and not service animals.

Service animals in training and pets are subject to the park’s pet regulations and are not allowed on trails or more than 100 feet (30.5m) from any road, picnic area, or campground. Falsely portraying a pet as a service animal is considered fraud and is subject to federal prosecution under 2.32(a)(3)(ii) of 36 CFR.


Picnic Areas and Campgrounds

These areas offer many opportunities to experience the park’s diverse scenery with your pet. Pets are also permitted on the paved Oasis of Mara and Keys View trails. Be aware of hot sidewalks and pavement that will burn your pet’s feet—walk during the cooler parts of the day.

Unpaved Roads

Unpaved roads offer spectacular scenery and a chance to immerse yourself in the desert landscape with your pet while following park regulations and protecting the park. Anywhere you can drive your vehicle, you can go with your leashed pet. Some unpaved roads require 4-wheel drive and/or high-clearance. Be prepared with food and plenty of water before beginning your trip. Most roads have pullouts or nearby parking areas where you may park and begin hiking. Keep alert for traffic and move out of the way of vehicles.

One-Way Distances: All Vehicles

  • Queen Valley Road—one-way traffic
    2.9 miles (4.7 km)
  • Stirrup Tank Road
    1.5 miles (2.4 km)
  • Odell Road
    1.5 miles (2.4 km)
  • Geology Tour Road to mile 5.4 (km 8.7)
    5.4 miles (8.7 km)
  • Desert Queen Mine Road
    1.2 miles (1.9 km)
  • Bighorn Pass Road
    3.2 miles (5.1 km)

One-Way Distances: 4-wheel Drive Roads

  • Covington-area Roads
    9.9 miles (15.9 km)
  • Pinkham Canyon Road
    19.2 miles (30.9 km)
  • Old Dale Road
    12.6 miles (20.2 km)
  • Geology Tour Road past mile 5.4 (km 8.7)
    18 miles (29 km)
  • Black Eagle Mine Road
    9.6 miles (15.4 km)
  • Berdoo Canyon Road
    11.5 miles (18.5 km)

For more information, visit our Backcountry Roads page.


Boarding Your Pet

Boarding your pet will give you the freedom to explore the park freely and more thoroughly. Boarding information can be found online by searching in the local communities: Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley. Boarding options may also be available in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and the surrounding area.

Last updated: August 4, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


(760) 367-5500

Contact Us