Bringing your dog to Niagara Falls is a great way to spend time with your pet. I have taken my dog to Niagara Falls State Park many times, but there are a few things to consider when planning your trip.
Niagara Falls State Park, as a general rule, is pet friendly. Dogs are allowed along the green spaces and footpaths. However, dogs are generally not permitted in the Park buildings and can not accompany you to the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, or indoor att
On any given day, people can be seen walking their dogs along State Parks trails. The trails are well-maintained and stretch for miles. Goat Island has a network of paths that will keep you and your pet busy all day.
The beauty of bringing your dog to Niagara Falls is that your dog can practically go anywhere you go outside. You can walk along the rapids, down to the brink of the falls, and even hike the many trails along the gorge.
Rules for Dogs at Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park nearly surrounds The American and Horseshoe Falls on the United States side. The Park boundary begins a mile upriver and continues down past the falls. The Park is over 400 acres and is open 365 days per year.
The State Parks maintain a web page that has additional rules regarding pets. Service dogs are exempt from some regulations, but check with State Park staff for further information.
Are dogs allowed on the Maid of the Mist?
Unfortunately, as a general rule, dogs are not permitted to ride on the Maid of the Mist. As of the 2023 season, the Maid of the Mist website states, ” Pets, including emotional comfort animals, are not permitted within the Maid of the Mist Facility, including on board the boats. The only exceptions are for service dogs. A service dog is a working animal, not a pet”
As noted above, service dogs are allowed on the Maid of the Mist but do not mistake this as allowing all dogs or emotional support dogs. The lines for the maid of the mist can be long during the warmer months and you would not want to finally get down to the boat and be turned away if your dog does not meet the requirements to be considered a service dog. You can refer to the ADA website for more information.
Canadian Side Tour Boat: Niagara City Cruises Pet Rules
The tour operator for the Niagara Falls tour boats is called Niagara City Cruises. The policy for dogs on the tour boats is very similar to the rules on the American Side, and their FAQ page states, ” Niagara City Cruises welcomes guide dogs or service animals on our premises. All service animals must wear proper service attire, and documentation supporting that the animal is a service animal must be provided”. Read more about Niagara City Cruises rules here.
State Park Rules for Dogs
Your dog must be on a leash, and the length of the leash can be no longer than six feet.
- Dogs must be up to date on vaccinations.
- Dogs are not allowed in areas that are marked as prohibited for animals
- Dogs can not be leashed or tiedown in a way that can cause damage to Park property
- You must clean up after your dog
If you plan to visit The Cave of the Winds, The Maid of The Mist boat tour, the Discovery or Visitor Centers, or the Aquarium, You may want to avoid bringing your dog to the Park. All of these attractions prohibit dogs.
Will It Be Too Crowded to Bring My Dog?
Typically, you can avoid heading into the most crowded areas of the Park. Knowing how your dog will react in larger crowds is critical. I have seen well-behaved dogs strolling along in crowds with no problem. However, smaller dogs can be disadvantaged in larger groups of people because they may not be seen by people walking by.
A few weeks ago, I witnessed a man bringing two dogs to Niagara Falls State Park. We were on Goat Island then, just beyond the Cave of the Winds attraction entrance.
The man’s dogs were barking incessantly. The Dogs were pulling on their leashes and struggling to reach people passing by. As people walked by, they had to alter their path from the sidewalk and walk around the two agitated dogs.
The dog owner had not considered how his dogs would react in a crowded area with people strolling by. In addition, the dogs were not well socialized, so this was not a good situation for anyone.
When is the Best Time to Bring Dogs to Niagara Falls?
During the offseason, the number of visitors at Niagara Falls State Park can be relatively low. This makes for a perfect time to bring your dog to the Park. The walking trails around the Park are in much lower use. Even the scenic areas where tourists typically gather can be successfully navigated.
The Park can get quite lovely on weekends and during nice days from June to September. If you have a socialized dog that can walk on a leash reasonably well, you should have no problem enjoying the Park with your dog.
On busy days, the following locations can get a bit crowded. If your dog is uncomfortable around crowds, avoid these areas during the middle of the day:
Goat Island Side:
- Terrapin point (popular falls viewing areas)
- Cave of the Winds entrance and snack bar area
- Luna Island
- Three Sisters Island
Prospect Pont Side:
- Prospect Point and Maid of the Mist entrance
- The Visitor Center
- The Discovery Center
So Where Else Can I Take My Dog?
On crowded days, the trails along the south side of Goat Island and the Scenic Niagara Parkway, including Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks, are often relatively open.
Whirlpool State Park is an excellent hiking place with many picnic areas. Whirlpool State Park has lots of shade and wide-open regions to picnic and relaxes on a crowded day. Parking is usually not a problem except at the busiest times.
There are several well-marked trails at Whirlpool Park. The Niagara Gorge Rim Trail is a relatively easy trail perfect for most dogs. The RimTrail is a beautiful shady walk along the upper gorge that weaves in and out of old-growth trees. The Rim Trail offers spectacular views of Whirlpool Rapids and Canada.
A second easy trail for dogs is the Robert Mosses Recreational Trail. At 3.2 miles one way, this trail starts at the falls and connects to Whirlpool Park and Devil’s Hole Park.
There are eight separate trails along the Niagara Gorge; the trails range from easy to the most difficult requiring you to climb 300 steps on your way back out of the gorge.
Deveaux Woods State Park – Dog Park
Deveaux Woods State Park Dog Park is a dog-friendly recreation area. The park features separate sections for small and large dogs. Additionally, there is a private run around the park’s perimeter, which can be separated into three private sections in case your dog needs their own private little area.
The park’s pet policy allows a maximum of two pets in day-use areas unless specified otherwise. Pets must be supervised and either crated or on a leash no longer than six feet. Staff may request proof of rabies vaccination.
3180 De Veaux Woods Drive
Niagara Falls, NY 14305
The Best Dog Park Ever- Ellicott Bark Park
Last, but in no way the least, is the Ellicott Bark Park. I’m not sure if this is the best dog park ever, but it has to be in the top 10
If you are traveling to Niagara Falls, the best dog park I have ever seen is pretty close out of the way. Ellicott Island Bark Park is about as close to a theme park for dogs as you can get.
This Park is an official off-leash dog park. But unlike the usual fenced-in postage stamps, the Bark Park is an entire tree (and squirrel) filled island. There is no cost for Bark Park; they only ask that you follow the posted rules.
Situated on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst, NY, this dog park is on a 14-acre island. Once you cross the footbridge to the Island, you can take the leash off and let your dog explore, swim, and play with many other dogs. Your dog can not run too far, as Ellicott Creek surrounds the entire Island.
Although this Park is 14 miles south of Niagara Falls, it is probably on the way to Niagara Falls if you are traveling from anywhere but Canada.
Directions to Bark Park
If you were driving to Niagara Falls, instead of taking Interstate 190 North, you could exit from Interstate 290 at Niagara Falls Boulevard (Route 62) North. Then head north on the Boulevard about two miles. The Bark Park entrance is on the left side at Creekside Drive.
The physical address for Ellicott Bark Park is:
10 Creekside Drive, Tonawanda, NY.
If you take this alternate route to Niagara Falls, you save a dollar on the toll, and your dog has a blast at Bark Park.
Pet-Friendly Hotels in Niagara Falls NY
We have written a guide to finding the best dog-friendly hotels in Niagara Falls, NY, here.
In summary, there are a few hotels close to Niagara Falls State Park that are dog friendly.
I found that each hotel has its specific policy on dogs and the rules and fees. We go over all this and more in our Guide.
You can check our top pet-friendly hotels listed in order of proximity to Niagara Falls State Park.
The Hyatt Place Niagara Falls: Just a block from Niagara Falls State Park, Hyatt offers convenient access to walking trails in the park and amenities like free breakfast, a pool, and a rooftop terrace.
The Giacomo, a boutique hotel with great views of Niagara Rapids, is just a short walk from the park entrance.
The Hampton Inn Niagara Falls on Rainbow Avenue provides easy access to the falls and nearby attractions, with free parking and competitive rates, and is just across the street from the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
If you prefer to stay outside downtown
The Niagara Riverside Resort offers a bike/walking path along the Niagara River that leads back to Niagara Falls State Park.
while La Quinta Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn/Blvd, Red Roof Inn, and Holiday Inn Express provide comfortable accommodations with easy access to dining and attractions
Remember to confirm pet policies and any additional fees with each hotel before your trip.
Kennel or Dog Sitter
If you do have your dog with you and you want to experience all of Niagara Falls attractions, maybe a kennel or dog sitter is an option.
The Island Pet Lodge
The Island Pet Lodge is a pet care facility on Grand Island, just a few miles from Niagara Falls. As you approach Niagara Falls, the facility is located just off I-190 at exit 19, just two exits before the Niagara Scenic Parkway exit. The Island Pet Lodge offers services such as daycare, boarding, training, bathing, and portrait photography for dogs.
The daycare service consists of four playgroups, customized according to each dog’s size, play style, and energy level, which ensures a safe and enjoyable experience. In addition, the boarding facility, managed by a dedicated staff, provides temperature-controlled kennels with private indoor and outdoor runs. For inquiries, the Island Pet Lodge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (716) 774-7297. Their physical address is 2120 Alvin Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.
For a dog sitter, you can check Rover.com or other pet-sitting websites.
Several Other Resources for Pet Boarding near Niagara Falls
When searching for a local kennel or dog sitter, some of the search platforms will include pet sitters and kennels from Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the same search result, so Take note if the kennel or dog sitter is physically located in the USA or Canada.
Taking Your Dog to Canada
To cross the border, you (and everyone traveling with you) will need an enhanced driver’s license, passport, or another form of ID suitable for crossing international borders. You will have to go through customs going into Canada as well as returning to the United States.
Your dog will need current written proof of vaccinations to enter Canada. This document must be a recent letter signed by your Veterinarian with information about rabies shot manufacturer and immunity duration. Your dog should be in good healthy condition if taken into Canada. Puppies must be at least four months old.
Here Are the Links to the border rules for Dogs. Be sure to review the rules as they do change.
Animal Hospitals in Niagara Falls
American Side Animal Hospitals
Below are some veterinarians / Animal hospitals around Niagara Falls. If your pet needs some attention or you need to get a vaccine to cross the border, they may be able to fit you in and issue you a certificate.