The National Park system is a treasure of our country with amazing sights and stunning landscapes to be seen and enjoyed, with five fantastic parks in Southern Utah alone. The one downside to National Parks is they are not the most dog friendly places. Most National Parks have few (if any) places that pups are allowed and if you want to do that iconic hike or ride that shuttle to that breathtaking viewpoint you will have to leave your fur baby behind.
So what do you do if you are bringing your pup along on your road trip, or if you are like us and travel full time with your pup? Here are some of the best solutions we have found for doggie day care, dog boarding, and attempting to bring your dog into the park while visiting Utah’s Mighty Five.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is like the Disneyland of National Parks and with good reason. The landscape is mesmerizing as you travel through the canyon and stare up at the walls. There are spectacular hikes like the iconic Angel’s Landing – if your heart can handle the steep incline and your nerves can handle 1000 foot drop-offs on either side of you. There is also the Narrows, where you can wade through the river to explore further up the canyon, and numerous less strenuous hikes and beautiful viewpoints as well. Be sure to stick around and watch the sunset over the Watchman at the end of the canyon, it’s a sight you would be sad to miss.
Where Dogs Can Go in the Park: campgrounds, developed picnic areas, grounds of The Zion Lodge, Pa’rus Trail (small paved path from the visitor center that follows the river up to canyon junction or down to the south campground- 3.5 miles of available trail)
Where Dogs Can NOT Go in the Park: the visitor center, public buildings, the shuttle bus, all hiking trails, all backcountry areas
For more information on the rules of pets in Zion click here.
Doggie Daycare/Boarding Options:
Doggy Dude Ranch (in Springdale): This is by far the closest location to the park but when we visiting in May 2018 it was not accepting dogs due to family medical issues. Daycare is $30 per day for one dog with discounts for multiple dogs. Overnight boarding is $36 per night. For more details visit their website and be sure to check that they are open and accepting clients.
On the Spot Stay and Play (in Hurricane about 30 minutes away): This is farther away from the park, but provides your typical facility based day care and boarding needs. Daycare is $4.50/hour and boarding is $30 per night. We did not use this place but reviews seem pretty positive. For more information visit their website.
Rover: Rover.com is like airbnb for dogs. These are normal everyday people who accept dogs into their homes for daycare and boarding. Some even offer coming to your house to let your dog out as well. We like Rover because it allows Miles to get more individual attention than a big facility and we like that he gets to snuggle on the couch with a human and possibly even sleep in their bed. If you’d like to sign up for Rover use this link and you will get $20 off your first stay!
What We Did:
We chose a person from rover.com located in Washington, UT which was about 40 minutes away from the park. We drove out of our way to drop him off here, but if you are coming from the direction of Las Vegas it would be right on your route. This is also suburban civilization so it’s a great place to stock up on groceries and anything you may need from a big box store.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is like something from another planet. The rock formations are stunning from all angles, but getting down into the canyon makes your appreciate the grandeur of them that much more. Our big hike in Bryce was the Fairyland Loop trail which is a more strenuous hike off the path of the shuttle, giving us a chance to escape a lot of the crowds. All of the viewpoints along the shuttle route are worth a stop as well, and even though we missed both sunset and sunrise in the park, they are supposed to be breathtaking.
Where Dogs Can Go in the Park: all paved surfaces-campgrounds, parking lots, paved roads, paved viewpoint areas, the paved section between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point, the paved Shared Use Path between the park entrance and Inspiration POint
Where Dogs Can NOT Go in the Park: visitor center, public buildings, shuttle, all hiking trails, unpaved viewpoints
For more information on the rules of pets in Bryce Canyon click here.
Doggie Daycare/Boarding Options:
Bryce Canyon National Park is in the middle of nowhere, it’s not really in a town, nor are there any major towns nearby. Our original internet searches for daycare came up dry but then we got the idea to call the RV park in town and ask if they knew of anything, and it turns out they did! They gave me the phone number of a person who comes into town, picks up your dog, takes them back to the facility for daycare, and then delivers them back to you that evening. All for the amazing deal of $25/day (cash only). The company is called PawzDogz. Their website does not work for me, but they are very responsive to calls and text messages. Here is their yelp link instead.
What We Did:
We opted for the pick up service since it was the only choice, but we had no problems with it. The owner picks up from the campground in the park, from the RV park in town and in the Subway parking lot for people boondocking on National Forest land like us. It was easy as could be!
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef may be the most underrated of the Utah National Parks and is definitely one of the least visited, but don’t let that stop you. There are magnificent red cliffs in every direction that go on for miles and miles and miles. If the views alone don’t bring you in, there are also hundreds of acres of orchards along the canyon river where you can pick your own snack, or stop by an old homestead and grab a delicious homemade pie. Capitol Reef is located in a certified dark sky area which also makes it the best place for gazing up at the milky way.
Where Dogs Can Go in the Park: within 50 feet of the center line of roads that open vehicle travel, parking areas, unfenced and unlocked orchards, certain picnic area, the trail from the visitor center to the Fruita Campground, the Fremont River Trail from the campground to the south end of Hattie’s Field, in campgrounds.
Where Dogs Can NOT Go in the Park: Visitor Center, public buildings, hiking trails, backcountry
For more information on the rules of pets in Capitol Reef click here.
Loa’s Ark Pet Boarding Kennel: Located in the nearby town of Loa, about 40 minutes away. They don’t have a website but per some forums and reviews prices are only $10 per day. Check out their yelp link for more information.
What We Did:
We had done a lot of hiking and were feeling lazy at this point, so we opted not to do any of the hiking trails and just wander the park by vehicle and stop at the viewpoints. We frolicked through the orchard and stopped at the Gifford house for pie and ice cream. We did walk the trail along the river but it is pretty short.
Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park
Both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Parks are located near Moab, UT which is an outdoor recreation mecca in itself. The town of Moab is very dog friendly with numerous restaurants offering dog friendly patio seating. There are also tons of dog friendly hikes and other adventures in the area. As dog friendly as Moab is, the National Parks still have their rules and are not a place to take your pups.
Arches National Park as the name suggests is known for its arches, of which there are over 2000 of them in the park. The trail to Delicate Arch is short and steep, but we promise once you get to the top your heart will stop from awe and not the climb. You can also obtain a permit to visit the Fiery Furnace section from the visitor center which is a playground of crazy rock formations to explore and a great way to feel like you have the popular park all to yourselves.
Canyonlands National Park is a massive park that is made up of three different sections: Island in the Sky, The needles, and The Maze. Islands in the Sky is the most accessible section of the park and offers endless canyon views that could rival the Grand Canyon. There are numerous viewpoints and some short easy hikes with lots of pay off at the end. Those looking to explore the other sections of the park would need to be prepared for backcountry camping, whether through long hikes or epic 4×4 trails.
Where Dogs Can Go in Arches: paved roads and parking lots, picnic areas, and campgrounds
Where Dogs Can NOT Go in Arches: visitors center, public buildings, all hiking trails, all overlooks
For more information on pets in Arches click here.
Where Dogs Can Go in Canyonlands: campgrounds, paved roads and parking lots, on Potash/Shafer Canyon Road between Moab and Island in the Sky
Where Dogs Can NOT Go in Canyonlands: all overlooks, all hiking trails, all backcountry areas, on the rivers, on any non paved road (even just riding in car)
For more information on pets in Canyonlands click here.
Karen’s Canine Campground: This option is located just south of town at Karen’s house and adjoining property. This is a completely cage free facility. Daycare hours are 8-5 so if you need more flexible times you’ll have to pay for overnight. Daycare is $30/day, overnight is $65. No credit cards accepted. For more information visit their website.
Tracey’s Bed and Biscuit: Another option located just south of town. This is more of a kenneling facility then an open play daycare. Rates are not available online and we never called as this was a back up option for us. More information about their services is available on their website.
Rover: As we stated above Rover.com is a service where individual people watch your dog in their home. This is usually our preferred method of daycare and boarding as it feels more personal and Miles doesn’t have to be overwhelmed by large numbers of dogs. If you use our link to sign up you will get $20 off your first stay.
What We Did:
We used Karen’s Canine Campground for a day of doggie daycare when we went to Arches during the day. Miles got to stay in the “penthouse” instead of the “campground” since he was a smaller dog which meant he stayed in Karen’s house and yard. We also used a Rover sitter for an overnight stay. We chose Rover over going back to Karen’s due to flexibility in drop off and pick up times as we wanted to drop Miles off early in the morning to beat the crowds into Arches and get into Fiery Furnace before the ranger groups started. We chose an overnight option so that we could also get into the park at night to see all the stars. Doing an overnight was also cheaper than 2 days of daycare but still gave us two days to explore (we did one at Arches and one in Canyonlands).