Barking Up the Right Tree: 7 Amazing Dog-Friendly Arboretums

Posted by Erin Ballinger

An arboretum is a public botanical garden dedicated to the collection and study of trees. The best arboretums are dog friendly and are places where all species can reconnect with nature during a hike or walk shaded by majestic woody plants. Grab your pup’s leash and head one of these seven dog-friendly arboretums where you can stretch your legs with Fido.

1. U.S. National Arboretum

Washington, DC
Have a tongue-wagging good time in Washington, D.C. Photo by Melissa Halliburton

Bring Fido to the U.S. National Arboretum, where leashed pets are welcome to join you as you explore the 446 acres of gardens along 9.5 miles of pathways. Established in 1927 by an act of Congress, the arboretum acts as a place of scientific discovery and has more than 600,000 visitors annually. Be sure to explore the National Capitol Columns on permanent display and get a photo of your pooch for the ‘gram using #bringfido. Your pup isn’t allowed on tram tours of the arboretum, but you can drive or walk with him throughout the grounds. Admission is free.

2. Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Superior, AZ
He’s lookin’ as sharp as the cacti. Photo by @btarboretum

Visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden, with your leashed pup to immerse yourself in nature. Take a hike with Fido in the Sonoran Desert and explore lush desert gardens, cacti, dramatic mountain vistas, streams, a desert lake, canyons and, of course, trees. In 2020, the arboretum will add 13 acres with more than 5,000 new plantings with the opening of the Wallace Desert Garden. Be sure to bring plenty of water for you and your pet so you can both stay hydrated. Admission to Boyce Thompson Arboretum is $15 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, and free for children under five and dogs.

3. North Carolina Arboretum

Asheville, NC
In my mind, I’m gone to Carolina. Photo by Jennifer

The North Carolina Arboretum offers 434 leafy acres for you and Fido to explore. This includes 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. There are trails for all skill levels, and dogs are allowed on all of them with you. Take the Carolina Mountain Trail for an easy 2.4-mile stroll in the woods with man’s best friend. There is no admission to the arboretum, but parking for your personal vehicle is $14.

4. Khlem Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Rockford, IL
Panting around the perennials. Photo by

Visitors to the Khlem Arboretum & Botanic Garden get to see a wide variety of trees and plants native to the Midwest and all over the world. Formerly home to Rockford Nursery, this verdant spot now boasts more than 300 woody plant species. Stop by the visitors center for a trail map and then visit all of the amazing specialty gardens with your leashed dog. Admission costs $6 for adults; $3 for seniors, students and children; and is free for children under age 2 and dogs.

5. Washington Park Arboretum

Seattle, WA
Pose next to the rhododendrons with your Golden. Photo by Kathleen

The Washington Park Arboretum is a dog-friendly urban oasis located on the shores of Lake Washington. Jointly managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, its 230 acres contain a plethora of plants, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. Admission is free.

6. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Boston, MA
Bark if you love Boston! Photo by @sonny_shiba

Bring Fido to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, a beautiful park that is a Boston favorite. Explore its 281 acres of wooded walkways, trails and gardens with your leashed dog. In addition to flora and fauna, the arboretum is home to coyotes and other wildlife. Please do not touch or feed any animals. There is no admission charge to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, but donations are appreciated.

7. Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest

Clermont, KY
“I’m IN a TREE!” Photo by @bernheimforest

Leashed dogs are welcome in all outdoor areas of Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest in Clermont, KY. The arboretum and forest features over 35 miles of trails in a variety of geographic settings. Admission is $10 per car.

Did we leave out your favorite pet-friendly arboretum? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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