Ah.. The National Parks. Magical places… that dog’s simply aren’t allowed to enjoy. The short answer to, “Is Zion worth it if you’ve got your dogs with you”, is not what the ranger told me. The short answer is NO. The majority of Zion is only accessible through a shuttle bus… a shuttle bus that dogs are, of course, not welcome on. Yes, you can still see quite a bit – and the drive is lovely, but the pull outs are limited and my pups got frustrated that I was the only one getting out. There is ONE dog friendly path in Zion, the Pa’arus Trail. It is a paved pathway that runs along the Virgin River from the campground to the visitors center. It is a nice path. We didn’t do the path on this day, but we did go back to it later.
If you are desperate to walk your dog in Zion, this will suffice. However, the pavement is blacktop, so it gets hot quickly – even when the sun doesn’t seem that hot. The pups seemed to enjoy the Pa’arus trail, but we only did a portion of it – as that was the day we were moving camps. The Visitors center for Zion has a very nice exterior, with a lot of information panels – so that was a plus… however, plan ahead – the parking lot at the visitors center fills up daily by 10, so if you are later than that, you are out of luck for walking your dog.
Our second stop on “Nekkid Ladies do the Parks day” was Bryce. There is one paved pet friendly trail (that we did not take advantage of due to the heat), from Sunset point to Sunrise point. Pets are also allowed to walk on the paved areas at viewpoints. We took full advantage of this! Although it was fully 10 degrees cooler in Bryce than it had been in Zion, the ground was bloody hot. Darby had to wear her boots (which did not make her happy) and the Olivia got to ride in her pack. This at least allowed for some good photo ops – both for general photography and for Nekkid Ladies work!
We highly recommend Summit Trex Dog Boots from RuffWear. Without some paw protection, Darby would have never been able to get out of the car at a lot of these places – including our very hot campground in St. George. These are excellent fitting dog boots – are easy to put on, and Darby really didn’t seem to mind walking around in them. She did pout when I left them on her in the car, but that’s a kid for ya.
Because there are multiple places that pups can get out of the car and sniff around, we do recommend Bryce over Zion for a good pet friendly destination, just be mindful of the heat.