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


Pets are an important part of our lives, providing companionship, love, and joy to their caretakers. While park regulations do not allow pets to join you on hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in park buildings, there are many great alternative areas to explore on a pet-friendly visit to Joshua Tree National Park.

"Why not take my pet with me?"

For many visitors, seeing wildlife is a highlight of a national park visit. Unfortunately, the mere presence of pets in the park alters the natural behavior of native wildlife. In national parks, the native species have priority.

Odors left behind by dogs may prevent wildlife from returning to important habitats such as fan palm oases.

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

The safety of your pet is important as well.

Abundant cactus spines, rattlesnakes, and thorns are good reasons not to let your pet roam free. 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 though your pet follows instructions and is very well behaved, others do not know your pet and may feel uneasy when encountering an unleashed animal.

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

Pet Regulations

  • Pets must remain on a leash at all times. Leashes may be no longer than 6 feet (1.8 m).
  • Pets may go no more than 100 feet (30.5 m) from any road, picnic area, or campground.
  • Owners must pick up any droppings. Leave no trace.
  • Pets are not permitted on trails or in the backcountry.
Violators of these regulations are subject to fine.

Remember to bring plenty of water for your pet. Leaving pets in unattended vehicles is strongly discouraged – especially on warm days.

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 are used to 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 36 CFR. 2.32(a)(3)(ii). To learn more, please visit our Accessibility page.


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 trail. See park map for locations of picnic areas and campgrounds.

Unpaved Roads

Unpaved roads see little vehicle traffic, making them feel a lot like wide trails and a great place to hike with your pet. Anywhere you can drive your vehicle, you can go with your leashed pet.

Some unpaved roads require 4-wheel drive and/or high-clearance vehicles. Be sure you are 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. See park map for locations of unpaved roads.

All Vehicles

  • Bighorn Pass Road: 3.2 miles (5.1 km) one way
  • Desert Queen Mine Road: 1.2 miles (1.9 km) one way
  • Geology Tour Road (to mile 5.4): 11.7 miles (18.8 km) one way
  • Odell Road: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
  • Stirrup Tank Road: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
  • Queen Valley Road: 2.9 miles (4.7 km)

4-wheel Drive

  • Berdoo Canyon Road: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
  • Black Eagle Mine Road: 9.6 miles (15.4 km)
  • Geology Tour Road (past mile 5.4): 11.7 miles (18.8 km)
  • Old Dale Road: 12.6 miles (20.3 km)
  • Pinkham Canyon Road: 19.2 miles (30.9 km)
  • Covington-area roads: 9.9 miles (15.9 km)
For more information, visit our Backcountry Roads page.

Boarding Your Pet

There are many local options for boarding your pet. Boarding your pet will give you the freedom to explore the park freely and more thoroughly. Boarding information can be found through local chambers of commerce.

Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce

Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce

Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce

Last updated: December 6, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


(760) 367-5500

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