Thursday, September 21, 2023


Why dogs are not allowed in some California State Parks

California has some of the best open spaces to sightsee and take in nature to the fullest with family and friends. Whether for the views from the mountains like Mount San Jacinto or walking barefoot along the beaches in San Diego, heading to the outdoors is good for body and soul, especially when you visit with your four-legged friend.

Dogs are welcome at most state parks, but not all of them.

To help visitors who wish to bring their dogs to state parks, the department created a webpage——with information on which parks and areas allow dogs. The reason some state parks do not allow them is because the parks were established to protect and preserve resources of statewide significance, including unique, irreplaceable natural, cultural and recreational resources. These higher resource values require top levels of protection.

But your dog is the best and the most obedient dog in the world, so it should get a pass, right? Unfortunately, even “good dogs” can cause problems by displacing and harassing wildlife, disturbing sensitive nesting and breeding areas, and spreading diseases.

Many studies also show that dog waste directly and significantly degrades water quality, affecting human health and recreation. Dogs can also intimidate other visitors, some of whom have traveled significant distances to enjoy state park destinations. Additionally, dogs look like a predator to most wild animals. Because of this, even the presence of a dog at a distance, whether on or off a leash, often disturbs wildlife.

If you do visit a state park that allows dogs, remember that dogs must stay on a maximum 6-foot leash at ALL times and must be physically under your control. Also, be sure to clean up after your dog. An alternative option may be to choose a more dog-friendly, local park.

Always keep your dogs on a leash when visiting California’s state parks and make sure to visit the park’s website to see if dogs are allowed and in which areas. Top: Kalea at Empire Mine State Historic Park. Bottom left: Carl and Milo at South Yuba River State Park. Bottom right: Luka on a trail at Auburn State Recreation Area. Photos from Adeline Yee, Brittani Peterson and Jorge Moreno.  



  1. How about you use a Pic of dogs under 10 lbs, that would really highlight the danger of “dogs”. 220lbs or 5 lbs, same rules. Hmm.

  2. A large unleashed dog rushed up head on to me on a dog friendly trail and my husband got ready with his buck knife just in case. I was somewhat in fear since I did not know the intent of the dog. (Friend of foe?) The owners of the dog who were 15 feet behind the dog said “sorry, he is very friendly”. But for me that was after the fact. We could have stabbed their dog as personal protection if my husband had not restrained himself but used his masculine voice and alpha body language to stave off the dog. Keep your dogs on a leash out of respect for others on the path even if you may think you are the only ones on the path.

  3. Dogs are not allowed at some state parks, including California, primarily due to the owners. As has already been posted, obey the rules about leashes and waste pickup and disposal and these type of bans won’t increase. But given the fact that some dogs are better behaved than their owners, I don’t see this happening.

  4. Keep your dogs leashed!
    Follow the rules! Your not in your backyard.
    It is unsafe to let your dog or dogs run unleashed in a campground!
    How can you pick up their poop if they are running loose?
    Just follow the rules and stuff like this wont happen possibly.


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