Activities For Dogs In Capitol Reef National Park

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Introduction

Planning a trip out to Utah's Capitol Reef National Park? Well, don't leave your dog behind! There is so much you can do with your dog in Capitol Reef National Park and in the surrounding area that leaving your best friend at home would be a mistake! So pack up that leash, put on your dog's collar and get them ready to take an adventure into this fantastic park. Oh, and don't forget your camera, you're going to want to record this trip!

Stargazing

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Blanket
Leash
Collar
Telescope
Activity description
Did you know that the national park service considers darkness to be a natural resource? Did you know that the national park service has started an initiative to protect darkness in and around all national parks? Sounds pretty crazy right? Well, once you observe the beauty of this initiative, you will understand why darkness is important. The "Starry Starry Night" program is part of the International Dark Sky Association's effort to praise and preserve parks where the stars can clearly be seen at night due to barely any light pollution in the area. Capitol Reef National Park is a Gold Tier park in this program which means it has the highest quality dark skies. The best part, it is totally free to stargaze! Here is how to take advantage of this with your pup by your side.
Step
1
Find a spot
While the entire park is perfect for stargazing thanks to the park's commitment to reducing lights at night, there are a few spots that people find ideal to stargaze. Gooseneck Overlook and Notom Road are both said to have the best sky views where darkness is complete and you will be able to clearly see every star in the sky. Pick your spot and head out with your pup!
Step
2
Set up
Place a blanket on the ground for you and your dog to lay on. You may want to bring a few pillows or an extra blanket to get under to be super cozy as you stargaze. Your dog may also appreciate a dog bed or extra thick blanket if you plan on staying out for long. If you brought a telescope, set it up as well before the darkness rolls in.
Step
3
Stare and enjoy
While you can opt to bring a few maps of the night sky or consult your phone to tell you what constellations you are looking at, it is best to just lay there with your pup by your side and take it all in. The vast sky with all its sparkling stars will remind you how lucky you are to be in that moment with your best friend cuddled beside you.
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Camping

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
24 - 48 hrs
Items needed
Food and Water
Blankets and Sleeping Bags
Collar
Leash
Dog Waste Bags
Tent
Activity description
If you are considering a visit to Capitol Reef National Park, you may want to strongly consider spending a night camping with your dog. In fact, the campground areas are one place where your dog is welcomed with open arms while staying at the park (unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails or in the backcountry area). Camping in the park is fairly inexpensive and since the nights are almost always warm, you can go camping here any time of year. Sleeping outside in the wilderness is also an ideal experience for you and your dog - dogs were, after all, wild animals once, right? So grab your tent and plenty of extra water and get ready for a fun night outside with your dog.
Step
1
Reservation
Campsites in Capitol Reef National Park can fill up quickly so you want to be sure to make a reservation in advance. You can choose from developed campsites (with bathrooms and running water) to "primitive" campsites which are merely a pit toilet and a hole for a campfire! Pick which you think suits you and your dog the best as pups are allowed at both types of sites!
Step
2
Set up camp
When you arrive at your campsite in Capitol Reef National Park, set up your site right away before the sun goes down - it is much easier to set it up in the light of day because, as you know, it will get very dark at night! Pitch your tent, plan where you can light a fire and make yourself at home in the surrounding area. It is good to take your dog for a walk around the campground (on a leash due to park rules!) so that they can sniff around and also get their bearings.
Step
3
Relax
Cook some food over a fire for you and your dog, sing a few camping songs and cuddle up together in your tent when you are ready for bed. Enjoy being out in the wilderness with your dog and don't forget to look up at that beautiful night sky! Keep your dog in your tent at night so they don't go wandering off or get into any encounters with wildlife - camping safely is the way to go!
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Fruit Picking

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Dog Waste Bags
Activity description
Capitol Reef National Park is home to one of the first maintained orchards in the United States. A Pioneer community called Fruita was settled in the 1880's and the fruit trees which they planted are still standing and producing delicious fruit. Luckily, this area is open to people as well as dogs! While you are only permitted to pick fruit when the park rangers give you the okay (it varies season to season when the fruit will be ripe and ready!), you can still walk through the orchards with your dog by your side and take in the history of the place. You do need to pay for your fruit so only pick what you intend to eat!
Step
1
Plan the time
Check the park schedule to see when fruit will be ripe and ready to be picked. The first fruit to ripen are cherries which are typically ready to pick in early June. Apples will finish off the season in October but there is fruit to pick every month in between when the cherries are ready and the last apple falls on the ground. Plan your trip based on what fruit you'd like!
Step
2
Consider your dog
As this trip to Capitol Reef National Park is all about your pup (of course!), you want to consider what they can and cannot enjoy while at the orchard. Your dog will just enjoy being there, walking around and enjoying the park but can your dog enjoy the fruit that you pick? Some of it! Cherries are a big no for dogs but they can enjoy the apples, peaches and pears that are also grown in the orchards. So plan your trip when these fruits are in season to really let your dog get the full fruit picking experience (you have to eat some immediately after it is picked!).
Step
3
Pay and enjoy
Once you have wandered through the orchard, picking the best fruits or simply just enjoying the ancient trees and flowering buds before the harvest, it is time to head out. You do need to pay for any fruit you picked with your dog but all the money goes right back into paying for the orchard maintenance - a worthy cause! Pay for your fruit and then enjoy it with your dog in the scenic national park!
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More Fun Ideas...

Hiking

While dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails in the park, they are allowed on the paved and unpaved roads, both of which have plenty of dream-worthy views. So grab your dog's leash and head out for a nice hike!

Hotel

If you or your dog aren't big fans of camping, you can opt to stay at one of the many pet-friendly hotels in the area. With a wide array of options, feel free to pick based on what amenities you need (an in-ground pool sounds nice after a hot day in the Capitol Reef Park)!

Conclusion

Capitol Reef National Park actually has a whole lot for you and your dog to do together - more than most national parks, which tend to have much more strict rules regarding dogs. That means this park is one all dog lovers need to visit! Keep your dog on a 6 foot leash as the park asks and head out on one of these many adventures; you will be glad you did and you will be extra glad that you decided to bring your dog.