National Park Rules For A Fun And Safe Visit

Grand Canyon National Park

Last Updated on June 18, 2022

National Park Rules

When visiting a National Park, it is important to follow several simple rules.  This will help keep our cherished parks thriving for years to come!

It is official: National parks are more popular than ever. According to the National Park Service, more than 297 million people visited America’s national parks in 2021, an increase of 60 million visitors from the previous year. A total of 44 parks saw record-breaking numbers of tourists, with many destinations struggling to accommodate the influx of visitors. And it is not just in America. Visiting National Parks around the world is rapidly increasing in popularity.

While the boom in tourism is good news for the economy, it also puts a strain on park resources and personnel. Overcrowding can damage sensitive ecosystems, and hikers who venture off the beaten path can spread invasive species. Park officials are urging visitors to be mindful of their impact and to enjoy the parks responsibly. With a little planning and courtesy, and by following the national park rules and regulations,  we can all help ensure that our national parks remain pristine places for generations to come.

As any outdoor enthusiast knows, all national parks are natural playgrounds full of stunning wilderness and bountiful wildlife. There is no shortage of summits to conquer, picnics to enjoy, or stars to sleep under. But as we all know, with great responsibility comes great stewardship. And it is our responsibility to promote land stewardship and safely experience the beautiful outdoors.

By following both the written and unwritten national park rules, we can all do our part to keep national parks pristine for generations to come. Some of the written national park rules are straightforward, such as following posted signs and regulations, while others are a bit more subtle, like obeying Leave No Trace principles. But the unwritten national park rules are just as important – if not more so. These are the unspoken etiquette that helps us respect both the land and each other while enjoying the outdoors.

Crater Lake National Park

Here Are 23 National Park Rules You Should Follow (So You Do Not Ruin The Experience For Everyone): 

Do Visit National Park Websites

The National Parks are a treasured part of the world, and there’s one to suit everyone’s taste. What better way to plan your trip than by visiting the National Parks website? There you can learn about the different parks, what they have to offer, and how to make the most of your visit.

When it comes to planning a trip to a National Park, one of the most important things to consider is the time of year. After all, the weather can have a big impact on your trip, and you don’t want to end up dealing with extreme heat or cold. Luckily, these days it’s easy to get accurate information about weather patterns around the world. The National Park websites will provide an accurate forecast for your destination. That way, you can plan accordingly and make sure you have a great time.

Read Next – 15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Crater Lake National Park

Do Arrive Early To Avoid Crowds

If you want to find yourself a true wilderness experience, there’s no need to travel far and wide – sometimes, the best way to get away from it all is to just head to your nearest national park. But before you pack your bags and hit the road, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: get there early. That’s right, to avoid the crowds and have more space to explore, you need to be one of the first ones through the gates. Trust us, it’ll make all the difference. Nothing ruins a hike like having to constantly stop for crowds, and nothing makes it harder to find a spot for your camping gear than arriving late in the day. So, wake up early, grab your gear, and head on out – we guarantee you won’t regret it.

Do Always Have Your Ten Essentials

A national park visit is a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some time in nature. However, it’s important to be prepared before you go. If you’re planning on spending time in a national park, it’s important that you have the ten essentials with you. These items are designed to help you stay safe and comfortable in the wilderness, and they can make all the difference if you find yourself in an emergency. The ten essentials include items like a map and compass, a flashlight, extra food and water, and a first-aid kit. Having these items with you will help you be prepared for anything that comes your way, and they could even save your life. So, before you head out on your next adventure, make sure you have your ten essentials packed and ready to go.

Above the ten essentials,  you will also likely need insect repellent. Comfortable shoes are also a must, as you will probably be doing a lot of walking. And don’t forget your camera! There’s nothing like capturing the beauty of a national park on film.

Jasper National Park

Do Not Feed The Animals

Wildlife is a fantastic sight, and for some, it can be tempting to want to feed them when you see them. However, there are many good reasons why you should never feed wildlife. First of all, feeding wildlife can alter their natural behavior. They may become reliant on humans for food and lose their natural instincts for foraging. Wildlife in national parks is used to foraging for food and they have specific diets that they need to maintain their health. Feeding wildlife can cause them to become aggressive or too accustomed to humans, which can be dangerous for both the animals and the people. Additionally, certain foods that are safe for humans can be harmful to animals.

Finally, feeding wildlife can also attract predators to the area. If you’re looking to enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat, the best thing you can do is leave them be.

It’s also important to remember that feeding wildlife is illegal in national parks.

Do Practice Leave No Trace Principles

We’ve all seen the signs: “Pack it in, pack it out”, or “Leave no trace”. But what does that really mean?

When we are enjoying the outdoors – whether we’re hiking, camping, picnicking, or just spending time in the park – it is important to remember that we’re sharing those spaces with other people and with wildlife. That means we need to be considerate of both and take care not to disturb the natural world around us.

One of the best ways to do that is to practice leave no trace principles. That means packing out anything we bring in, from food wrappers to bottles and cans. It also means being careful with things like firewood – making sure we only use wood you purchased locally. Transporting wood from other regions plays a role in spreading invasive species.

And if we see trash left behind by others, it is always nice to pick it up and dispose of it properly. After all, we all want to enjoy beautiful surroundings that are clean and welcoming. By following leave no trace principles, we can help make sure those places stay that way for years to come.

Elk Island National Park

Do Not Go Off Trail

When you are out hiking or exploring nature, it is important to stick to the trails. Going off-trail can damage the environment in several ways. First, it can crush vegetation and disturb wildlife. Second, it can create new trails, which can lead to erosion and the loss of soil. Third, it can spread invasive species of plants and animals. And finally, it can litter the area with trash and debris. So please, when you’re enjoying the outdoors, be sure to stick to the trails!

Do Be Patient And Flexible

When visiting a busy national park, it is important to be patient and flexible. The park may be crowded, and you may have to wait in line for the popular attractions. However, the wait will be worth it when you get to experience the beauty of the park. In addition, it is important to be flexible in your plans. The park may be closed due to weather conditions, or you may not be able to get to the trailhead because of road closures. However, there are always other activities that you can do, such as visiting the visitor center for advice or taking a scenic drive. By being patient and flexible, you can make the most of your visit to a busy national park.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Do Take A Lot Of Photos

When visiting a national park, there are plenty of photo opportunities. Every turn could present a new and stunning view of the natural landscape. However, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to take photos. To make sure you don’t miss any key sights, it’s important to take a lot of photos when visiting a national park. That way, you can always look back and remember the amazing things you saw while you were there. Plus, sharing your photos with friends and family is a great way to share your national park experience with them. So go ahead and take as many photos as you can while exploring the great outdoors.

Do Pay Attention To Speed Limits And Signage

There are speed limits and other signs posted throughout the national park for a reason – to help keep everyone safe. National Park staff and volunteers work hard to maintain the parks and trails so that everyone can enjoy them. But it takes visitors to help with keeping the parks clean and safe for everyone. Pay attention to the speed limits and other signs so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.

Do Speak To A Park Ranger

Park rangers are more than just the people who hand out maps and answer questions; they are an important part of the park experience. Rangers are there to help you enjoy your visit and to keep you safe. They can tell you about closures and detours, recommend the best places to see wildlife, and even provide first aid if necessary. So next time you’re planning a visit to a park, be sure to say hello to the park ranger. You may just find that they make your trip that much more enjoyable.

Do Not Remove Property From National Parks

While it may be tempting to take home mementos from your national park visits, it is important to resist the urge. Taking things from national parks is against the law, and there are good reasons for this. First, taking things from national parks can damage the park’s ecosystem. Flowers, rocks, and other natural items play an important role in the park’s environment and removing even one item can disrupt the balance. Additionally, taking things from national parks takes away from the experience for other visitors. Everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of the park, not just those who manage to snag a souvenir. So next time you’re tempted to take something home with you from a national park, remember that it is best to leave things as you found them.

Read Next – Ruby Beach In Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park – Ruby beach

Do Make Reservations In Advance

Camping is a great way to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature. However, finding a campsite in a National Park can be difficult, especially during peak season. To ensure that you get the camping spot that you want, it is important to make a reservation well in advance. This way, you can choose your ideal location and have peace of mind knowing that your spot is secured. Keep in mind that National Park campgrounds can fill up quickly, so it is best to make your reservation as soon as possible. With a little planning, you can guarantee yourself a great camping trip.

Do Check To See What Access Passes You Need

More and more people are spending time outdoors. This has led to an increase in visitors to National Parks. To help manage this influx of visitors, many park pass rules have been put into place. For example, some parks now require visitors to reserve a spot in advance, and others have limits on the number of people who can enter each day.

When planning your trip to a National Park, be sure to check whether you need any additional reservations to access certain scenic drives or trails. While some areas of the park are accessible with just a basic entry pass, others require an extended permit or reservations for experiences like overnight camping.

This is especially important if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the park’s iconic wildlife, as many of the best viewing spots can be in more remote areas. By doing a little bit of research in advance, you can be sure that you have everything you need to make the most of your time in the National Park.

Do Keep A Safe Distance From Wildlife

When you visit a National Park, you are likely to see some amazing wildlife. deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and buffalo are just a few of the animals that call national parks home. While it may be tempting to get up close and personal with these animals, it is important to remember that they are wild creatures and can be dangerous. Park Rangers always advise visitors to keep a safe distance from wildlife, both for their safety and for the safety of the animals. By staying at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from other animals, you can help to keep everyone safe. So, the next time you’re enjoying the sights and sounds of a national park, remember to give the wildlife some space.

Read Next – Camping At Fort Langley National Historic Site: An oTENTik Experience

Do Watch The Body Language Of Wildlife

One of the best things about national parks is the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat. However, it’s important to remember that these animals are wild, and their body language can be very different from what we’re used to seeing in domesticated animals. By understanding how to read the body language of wildlife you could encounter, you can enjoy a safe and memorable encounter with nature. By keeping an eye on the body language of wildlife, you can ensure that your encounter is both safe and enjoyable.

Banff National Park

Do Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when you’re hiking or camping in the wilderness. Natural hazards like steep drop-offs or fast-moving water can pose a serious threat to your safety, so it’s important to stay clear of them. If you’re unsure of the terrain, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep a safe distance from any potential hazards. This will help ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe experience while enjoying the great outdoors.

Do Not Make Excessive Noise

When you visit a national park, it’s important to remember that you are entering a different environment. The sounds of nature should be respected and preserved for future generations. For this reason, national parks have established quiet hours, typically from 10 pm to 6 am. During these times, all visitors are expected to keep noise to a minimum. This includes loud music, shouting, and speakerphone conversations. Even during the day, it’s important to be aware of your noise level and respect the tranquil atmosphere of the park. So, take some time to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

Do Follow The Food Storage Rules

Park visitors should always follow safe food storage guidelines when camping in National Parks. The risk of attracting wildlife to human foods poses a significant danger, both for park guests and the animals themselves!

Do Not Smoke On Trails

National parks are some of the most beautiful places on earth, and millions of people visit them every year to enjoy the fresh air and scenery. One of the most important rules is that smoking is strictly prohibited anywhere on national park trails. This includes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Cigarette butt litter can be harmful to animals and plants and pose a fire hazard in dry conditions. So please, before you hit the trails, make sure to dispose of your cigarettes properly. Remember, we all have a responsibility to protect our national parks.

Pacific Rim National Park

Do Not Vandalize

National parks are some of the most beautiful and treasured places in the world. They are home to majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and ancient forests. Millions of people visit national parks each year to appreciate their natural beauty and to take part in activities like hiking, camping, and fishing.

However, national parks are also vulnerable to vandalism. Trees and rocks are often spray-painted with messages or graffiti, and this can be very difficult to remove. Unfortunately, this damages the environment and ruins the experience for other visitors. So next time you are thinking about writing your name on a tree or painting a rock, remember that you are not just damaging property – you are also harming one of our most precious natural resources.

Do Obey Rules With Pets

A visit to a national park is a great opportunity to spend time with your furry friend. However, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding pets at national parks.

Some trails are dog-friendly, but others have a strict no-dogs policy. And even if your pet is allowed to join you on a trail, it needs to be leashed up to six feet. Off-leash dogs can impose stress on wildlife by running loose and exhausting the prey, leaving them with little energy to escape other wild predators. Off-leash dogs on the trail can also trample over and disrupt the delicate balance in the ecosystem.

Always consider what impact our pets can have on the environment. Also, do not forget to clean up after your pet!

Do Have A Good Time

There’s something about the great outdoors that just has a way of making people feel alive. Maybe it’s the fresh air, the wide-open spaces, or the opportunity to connect with nature. Whatever the reason, spending time in a national park can be a truly magical experience. And while there are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors, one of the best is simply taking the time to explore. Whether you’re hiking through a forest, wading in a river, or climbing a mountain, there’s no better way to connect with the natural world. And who knows, you might just make some incredible memories along the way. So get out there and have some fun!

Do Not Fly Your Drone

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, but there are still some places where they are not welcome. One of these places is national parks. In order to protect the natural beauty and tranquility and wildlife of these areas, the use of drones is prohibited when visiting national parks. This means that visitors must leave their drones at home when they travel to a national park. While this may be inconvenient for some, it is important to respect the rules in order to preserve these special places.


Whether you are a seasoned pro or just getting started, remember to always practice Leave No Trace principles and be a responsible outdoor enthusiast when visiting national parks. It is the least we can do to ensure that these parks remain accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

What is your favorite national park? Why do you think it’s important to protect them?

Let us know in the comments below!


Love it? Pin it for later!