Pets

A couple walking their dogs at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Dogs and other pets are wonderful animals that give comfort and companionship. However, a national park is not the best place for them.

  • Dogs can scare, chase, harass, and/or kill wild animals, such as nesting shorebirds, deer, rabbits, and marine mammals. As an example, in 2019 here at Point Reyes, a dog which was illegally off-leash attacked and killed a rare Guadalupe fur seal.
  • Dogs leave behind a territorial "predator" scent typical of all wild canines, like wolves and coyotes. This scent can linger in the area for long periods of time and can disrupt or alter the behavior of the native animals this park has been set aside to protect.
  • Pets can transmit diseases to wild animals—such as coyotes, badgers, and marine mammals—or contract diseases from wild animals. Some diseases transmitted by ticks and fleas, such as Lyme disease and bubonic plague, could then be transmitted to humans.
  • Native predators, such as mountain lions and coyotes, may see pets as prey, placing both pet and owner in danger.
  • Pets can damage the ground, sensitive archaeological sites, and plants by digging or rolling.
  • Even normally well-behaved pets can become stressed by unfamiliar surroundings, threatening visitors and wildlife in close situations, such as on park trails or along the narrow paths to the lighthouse.
  • Pets can intimidate, disturb, and/or annoy other visitors by making noise or by scaring wildlife away.
 

Regulations

If you bring a dog, or any other pet, to the park, please observe the following regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times; the leash must be no longer than 6 feet.
  • Pets are allowed in the Bear Valley Visitor Center parking lot and picnic area.
  • Pets are not permitted in public buildings, on public transportation vehicles, or in locations designated as a swimming beach, or within any structure or area closed to the possession of pets by the superintendent. This prohibition does not apply to working service dogs, which are allowed on trails and in public buildings. If you have a service dog, please inquire at a park visitor center for information before setting out.
    Please note: Only dogs are classified as service animals, and they must perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals.
  • Leaving a pet unattended and tied to an object is prohibited.
  • Pet owners not adhering to regulations will be cited.
  • All trails within the park are closed to pets—with the exception of Kehoe Beach trail and designated trails in the neighboring Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Map - 3,084 KB PDF). Pets are also permitted on the trails and roads within the Niman Ranch/Commonweal area south of the Commonweal entrance road and west of Mesa road.
  • All backcountry campgrounds within the park are closed to pets.
  • Pets are allowed on the following ocean-facing beaches throughout the year (Map - 2,250 KB PDF):
    • Kehoe Beach - north of the Kehoe Beach trail
    • Limantour Beach - southeast of the parking lot to the beach adjacent to Coast Camp
    • Point Reyes/Great Beach - from the North Beach parking lot south to the historic Navy installation/lifeboat station located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the South Beach parking lot.
  • During the nesting season of the threatened western snowy plover (March 1 through September 30), pets are not allowed on the beach south of the trail at Kehoe Beach or on the beach to the north of the North Beach parking lot. Temporary closures of other beaches may be in effect during the nesting season.
  • During the northern elephant seal pupping and mating season (December through April), pets and humans are not allowed on the beach south of the historic Navy installation/lifeboat station located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the South Beach parking lot.
  • Palomarin Beach is no longer open to pets.

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Tomales Bay

  • Pets are permitted on boats in Tomales Bay and on National Seashore beaches on the west side of Tomales Bay from the northern boundary of Tomales Bay State Park to Elk Fence South Beach. (Map - 2,485 KB PDF). These beaches include:
    • Kilkenny Beach
    • Long Cove Beach
    • Fruit Tree Beach
    • Marshall Beach
    • No Name Beach
    • Tomales Beach
    • Elk Fence South Beach
  • Pets are not permitted on beaches or anywhere else within the Tomales Point Elk Reserve, i.e., north of the elk fence.
  • Pets are not permitted on Hog Island, Duck Island, or Pelican Point.
  • Pets are not permitted on beaches within Tomales Bay State Park.
  • Please note: the only way to access the Tomales Bay beaches listed above if you are accompanied by a pet is by boat. Pets are not permitted on Marshall Beach Trail.

Cattle

Bolinas Ridge Trail, Jewell Trail, McCurdy Trail, and Randall Trail within Golden Gate National Recreation Area pass through cattle pasture. Cattle can feel threatened by dogs, which they may perceive to be a predator. Mother cows may become aggressive when trying to protect their young. Please read Understanding Working Rangelands: Sharing Open Space: What to Expect from Grazing Livestock (1,314 KB PDF) to better understand basic cattle behavior and to give yourself a better chance to predict how cattle are likely to react to your dog's presence. This will help make your hike along these trails safer and more enjoyable.

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Maps showing locations where pets are permitted year-round:

Full park map (8,294 KB PDF)
Beaches map (2,250 KB PDF)
Bolinas Ridge map (3,084 KB PDF)
Tomales Bay map (2,485 KB PDF)

Additional information

Stop by a visitor center to pick up a free site bulletin (518 KB PDF) on pet regulations for the Seashore and other parks in the area.

Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 Volume 1 Section 2.15 provides more details concerning pets within National Park Service sites. (166 KB PDF or xml)


Adobe® Acrobat Reader® may be needed to view the maps.

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Last updated: September 30, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:

(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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