National parks are some of the most popular places for tourists because of their diversity, impressive landscapes and the huge array of activities provided. What’s more, these parks are scattered all across the United States so it should not be too hard to find one near your area. However, the biggest drawback of these national parks, particularly for those who love to travel with their dogs, is that most of them have severe restrictions when it comes to guests who bring pets. If you are looking for a significantly dog-friendly national park, Zion National Park is one to check out. Located in Southwestern Utah, this park boasts the Zion Canyon, a 229-square mile canyon that cuts through the Navajo Sandstone. It also has a unique geography and features a diverse ecosystem composed of several different species of animals and plants, making it one of the most visited and popular national parks in the entire country.
While dogs are technically not permitted in the majority of the areas in Zion National Park, they are allowed on the major roads in the park as long as they stay inside the vehicle. While this may seem like a mundane activity to do with your dog, the incredible views that you and your pooch can take in while driving beg to differ. Think of this activity as a mini road trip where you get to discover new places, observe some wildlife and enjoy the stunning sceneries. You can even make some short stops at one of the several viewing points found along the highway for some photo-taking sessions.
As with almost all national parks in the United States, Zion National Park also has restrictions for hikers who are bringing their dogs with them. However, there is one pet-friendly path where you can bring your pooch without any reservations – the famous Pa’rus trail. This picturesque path stretches for 1.7 miles along the Virgin River banks (3.5 miles round trip). The path is a completely flat and paved trail that can be accessed from the visitor’s center or the Canyon Junction. It may be the only pet-friendly trail but it has more than enough gorgeous scenery for you and your pooch to enjoy.
Although the Zion National Park itself is considered somewhat dog-friendly, it is safe to say that the resources and facilities available to dogs are quite limited. If you want to have the full Zion National Park experience without having to leave your dog behind, the best place for you to bring your pooch to is the Doggy Dude Ranch. This special dog-care facility is located very close to Zion National Park and specifically targets visitors who want to bring their dogs for a grand time. The facility offers a variety of services, including “doggy daycare”, overnight boarding, dog training and dog sports.
While in Zion National Park, guests can bring their dogs in some selected picnic areas and the grounds surrounding the Zion Lodge. This means that you can have a picnic with your pooch during your stay in the park. Just bring a picnic blanket, some food and toys and relax with your dog.
Aside from the picnic areas, guests of the park can also bring their dogs to a number of campgrounds, so long as they are developed. Bring some camping gear or an RV and camp with your pooch. Just remember that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Moreover, the park rules clearly state that dogs should never be left alone unless the dogs are well-behaved and won’t disturb other campers and if the environmental conditions are safe for the dog.
The Zion National Park is a beautiful and impressive destination that is just waiting to be explored. With a distinctive geography, great animal and plant diversity, scenic views and numerous trails for hiking, the park is undoubtedly one of the top national parks in the country. It also helps that the park is generally dog-friendly. With proper planning, you and your pooch can have the perfect visit to Zion National Park.