25 Aug 2022
Now more than ever, people are looking to travel and explore the great outdoors with their pets. Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana are some of the best places for people and families with furry friends to take their next vacation. The communities are openly pet-friendly with many residents owning dogs or cats, and there are a ton of great local places to enjoy with your pets.
From scenic rivers and hiking trails to community parks and pet-friendly restaurants in town, you'll quickly see why these Montana mountain towns are revered by humans and pets alike. Read on to learn more about tips for traveling with your pets in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT.
Avoid Traveling With Pets In Yellowstone National Park
We're ripping this band-aid off right away. If you were looking to explore America's first national park with your dog, then let us be the first to say that you should reconsider that plan. Although you can technically bring pets into Yellowstone National Park, you'll have to deal with strict regulations including:
- Only allowing pets to stay within 100 ft of developed areas such as roads, park areas, and campgrounds.
- Keeping pets under control in a vehicle, in a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet in length.
In essence, you're not allowed to hike with pets anywhere in the park, and in most cases they need to stay in the car. Even if you were allowed to take pets off-leash around the park, there are many hazards that aren't so pet-friendly. Things like large wildlife, boiling-hot geothermal pools, and a ton of vehicles that would be dangerous hazards for pets.
So, although it may sound appealing to check out Yellowstone with your pet, we recommend avoiding it during your trip to Bozeman or Big Sky. As you'll soon discover below, there are plenty other things to do and places to check out nearby with your furry friends. If you do still want to learn about bringing pets into Yellowstone, then check out the Pets page on the national park's website.
Pet-Friendly Things To Do In Bozeman
If you're vacationing in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, there are a ton of exciting places to explore with your pets! And although many dog-friendly places can get busy, none of them here or in Big Sky can compare to the crowds around Yellowstone National Park. Here are our favorite places to take furry friends during your stay in Bozeman, Montana:
- Drinking Horse Mountain Trail - This 2.1-mile loop trail is a popular pet-friendly stop in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Drinking Horse Mountain Trail takes approximately one and a half hours to complete (perfect for dog-walking), and takes you through some gorgeous Montana mountain scenery!
- Snowfill Recreation Area - Designed with pets in mind, the Snowfill Recreation Area is essentially a 37-acre dog park. Here you can let your furry friends roam free and off leash as you meander along the two miles of trail. Additionally, there are plenty of benches to stop at, a vault toilet, and a doggy drinking fountain within the Snowfill Recreation Area.
- Burke Park / Peets Hill - This spot is widely regarded as one of the best spots around town for walking, biking, and letting dogs burn off some steam. Like with Snowfill, pets are allowed off-leash within Burke Park's 41-acre space. The best time to bring your dogs here for walks are at sunrise or sunset when the sky gets downright magical.
In addition to these exceptional trails and parks, there are plenty of local restaurants around that are pet-friendly. Head over to BringFido.com to see the list of dog-friendly restaurants in Bozeman.
Pet-Friendly Things To Do In Big Sky
Those of you visiting Big Sky and West Yellowstone will also have no trouble finding fun places to take your pet(s). Just as with Bozeman, the Big Sky community is openly pet-friendly. You'll almost certainly see more than a few locals and other visitors taking their furry friends for walks at these spots:
- Reflector Loop Trail - This lollipop-shaped trail is 4.1 miles long and takes around two hours to complete, so both humans and pets will need to be in good shape. Dogs do need to stay on a leash on the Reflector Loop Trail, but it's worth it to explore this spectacular trail. Expect colorful wildflowers in the summer and vibrant gold leaves in the fall.
- Ousel Falls Park Trail - Ousel Falls Park is one of the most popular recreation areas in Big Sky, and the trail is perfect for a morning walk with your dog. Ousel Falls' out-and-back trail spans a total distance of 1.7 miles and takes around 45 minutes to complete. Make sure to bring your camera too for snapping pics of the titular waterfall!
- Big Sky Community Park - At the east end of Big Sky is the postcard-perfect Big Sky Community Park. There's nothing outstandingly remarkable about the park, but it's got that classic park vibe that's perfect for walking and playing fetch with your dog. Big Sky Community Park is easy to reach and easy to have a good time at with the whole family.
Like in Bozeman and other nearby Montana communities, you'll find a ton of pet-friendly restaurants in Big Sky. Check out the Big Sky page on BringFido.com to find your perfect pet-friendly eatery.
Other Pet Resources Around Bozeman And Big Sky
Hiking areas, parks and restaurants aren't the only things you need to know about when traveling with pets. Listed below are all the other local pet resources you'll have nearby when visiting Bozeman or Big Sky.
Check Out Bozeman’s Great Selection of Stores for Your Pet's Needs:
- Dee-O-Gee Bozeman
- Bridger Animal Nutrition
- Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply
- Bozeman Dog Company
Emergencies Do Happen From Time to Time, Even to Our Furry Friends. Here are a Few Vets and Animal Hospitals Around Town:
- 360 Pet Medical
- Baxter Creek Veterinary Clinic
- Valley View Veterinary Hospital
- Pet Emergency Trauma Services (24 Hour Emergencies)
Check out Mountain Home’s Pet Friendly Homes
Mountain Home Montana offers pet-friendly homes that have unique features for your pet. Check them out to start your perfect pet-friendly Montana vacation