Moab, Utah is known for being an adventure lovers playground. River rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, and being so close to not one but TWO National Parks with fantastic views, there is SO much to do! But the national parks don’t allow dogs on their trails, I haven’t gotten around to teaching my dog to ride a bike, she doesn’t have the opposable thumbs necessary for rock climbing, and I don’t think the river guides would appreciate my dog’s nails and teeth on their inflatable raft… so what about for those who want to bring their furry friend along on their trip to Moab? Never fear! There is still PLENTY for you and your dog to do and see! Here is a list of some of the dog-friendly hikes for you to enjoy year-round and a comprehensive guide to a Dog-Friendly Moab.
Let’s start with the Dog-Friendly Hikes:
Dead Horse Point State Park:
- Shade: Little to none
- Water: they have to have it brought in by water truck from Moab, so just plan on bringing your own.
While you may not be able to get into Canyonlands National Park with your dog, just a few miles before you reach the Island in the Sky district of the park, there is a small State Park with absolutely STUNNING and dramatic views from above of the Colorado River. There, you can see it snaking through the canyon and the gooseneck it has created in the rock. Though its name doesn’t inspire these types of images, don’t be deceived: Dead Horse Point State Park is absolutely breathtaking and has 7 miles of different hiking trails (all of them flat and easy to traverse) that you and your dog can go on. (To learn about the origins of this park’s gruesome name, see the Legends of Moab post).
With informational signs along the paths, you can learn about the geology and plant life of the park. After reading some of the signs along the way, I was able to sleep peacefully that night after all of my hiking and meeting my “learn something new every day” quota.
The park’s facilities include a visitors center, two restrooms (with plumbing!), and even a small coffee stand outside the visitors center. With two campgrounds, one which includes yurts, you can reserve your spot and spend the night in style. And with this park being a “Dark Sky” certified park, consider staying the night to go stargazing, see the Milky Way, and watch for shooting stars.
This is a popular park so don’t be surprised or disappointed if there are no more spots available for reservation for when you are going. Just go early to claim a first come first serve spot in one of the nearby Cowboy or Horsethief BLM campgrounds and you and your pup will be all set. Just make sure to keep your dog on a leash in this park, and you and your dog will have an amazing time exploring the views rivaling the ones in Canyonlands-Island in the Sky district. So take that National Park dog haters!
Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch Trail:
- Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 488 feet
- Shade: none
- Water: none
This trail starts from a well-marked parking area next to the Colorado River. It immediately takes you up a few switchbacks to climb up onto the ledge where you will get a great view of the river and the canyon it runs through. You will cross a railroad that goes through a short stretch of a man-made slot canyon of deep red rock (very Instagram worthy!).
Follow the rock cairns to help keep you on the path so you can enjoy the fantastic scenery around you. Eventually, you will come to a section where both you and your dog will have to channel your inner mountain goat to climb up to the next shelf up. But don’t worry! There are foot holes carved into the rock and a rope to help you up. After seeing another dog do it, my puppy had no problems getting up without much help from me, other than a couple of direction commands.
You can see both of the arches from here, but make sure to keep going so you can get the more magnificent view and see the epic proportions of this partially free-standing monolith.
Traveler tip: A lot of this hike is over slickrock, which is really good at reflecting heat. This is a great hike during colder months for this reason. During the hotter months, be sure to do this hike earlier on in the morning and bring LOTS of water for you and your dog!
Across the street from the main parking area for Corona Arch, there is more parking, picnic pavilions, and an “outhouse” type of toilet if you need to make a quick pit stop before or after your hike. There are no garbages at the trailhead to put doggie poop bags, so please be considerate: pick up after your dog and just take it with you to dispose of later. In the Big Bend campsite across from the trailhead (next to the river), there is a dumpster where you can take your trash and dog droppings.
Morning Glory Natural Bridge:
- Length: 4.3 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation Gain: 416 ft.
- Shade: Morning and evening shade
- Water: a stream your dog can drink from
Starting in the parking area next to the Colorado River, this trail follows a stream up a lovely little side canyon. This canyon is formerly known as Negro Bill Canyon, now Grandstaff Canyon. You can enjoy the dramatic red cliffs on both sides as you listen to the birds sing, the gurgle of the stream, and walk under some the of trees that have taken advantage of the little water source. You do cross the stream a couple of times, so unless you and your dog have some acrobatic balancing skills to jump from rock to rock, just expect to get your feet wet.
When you come to the point in the trail where the canyon forks and goes two separate ways, go to the left. The first time I hiked this trail, I got confused and started to climb up, following what looked like a path (probably made by many other confused souls like myself). Just stay down below and follow the stream. At the second fork of the canyon, go right to reach this canyon’s dead end and see Morning Glory Natural Bridge, with the 5th longest span in the world! When you get there, you will be treated to a large, deceiving arch with a spring feeding a little pool directly underneath it.
You can sit there to relax and enjoy the sites and sounds echoing around the dead end of the canyon. At times, you’ll even be able to watch people rappel down between the bridge and the cliff into this little oasis. But be aware of your surroundings! There is poison ivy included in the plant life in this area. Not a ton, but enough you should be aware of the plants so you and your dog can avoid touching it. Just remember: leaves of three, let it be!
This is a popular hike and the main parking area isn’t that big, but there is some overflow parking down and across the street a short way. There is an outhouse-like toilet, no plumbing in the main parking area. And while there are no garbages in the actual parking areas of the hike, next to the overflow parking area is a campground where there is a garbage to throw out your doggie bags.
Poison Spider Dinosaur Tracks and Petroglyphs:
- Length: 0.3 mile loop
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation gain: 68 feet
- Shade: none
- Water: none
Although this is a short hike, it is well worth it for you and your dog. This trail has lots of history includeing the writings of an ancient people and tracks left behind by the dinosaurs that used to roam this area. Against the red rock, both the petroglyphs and the tracks are easy for you to see. Just be prepared to climb up to see both the tracks and petroglyphs. As you start, it won’t be far until you come across the Dinosaur tracks.
The slab of rock they are on has fallen from above where the petroglyphs are, so keep going to see the petroglyphs and a few more tracks. There are informational signs by both sites where you can read more information about what you are seeing.
There is an “outhouse” like bathroom, but no garbages.
- Distance: 2-3.9 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 1,459 feet
- Shade: Morning
- Water: none
This hike is about a 25.5-mile drive outside of Moab, but worth it to see these unique rock formations. The drive itself is pretty spectacular as you are driving through the canyon on Scenic Byway 128. With the Colorado River on your left and the dizzying red cliffs on your right, you’ll wish you were the passenger in the car so you can just enjoy the scenery!
When you get to the trailhead, you will be able to see Fisher Towers from there, but please don’t think it’s as good as it gets there! There are so many different perspectives to see it from, as well as other stunning rock formations in the walls of the cliffs which can only be seen from the hike. Turn towards the cliffs with its strange rock formations and it feels like you are on another planet.
But standing in the same spot, if you turn 180 degrees to face the other direction, you can definitely understand why some movie directors chose this location to film scenes for few movies, movies like “John Carter“, “City Slickers“, “Lightning Jack“, “Geronimo: An American Legend“, and “Comencheros” .
This trail takes you over slickrock, down into and back out of canyons, so prepare yourself, and your camera, for many stunning views. With this hike, there are a couple of different options. About 3/4 of the way until the end of the trail, there is a viewpoint for the Titan. Many people turn around here and go back, and because of a time constraint, this is the option we chose. But my understanding is that you can continue on to the end of the trail where there is another viewpoint of the valley with fantastic views. Either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
As far as facilities go, this trail is similar to others: an outhouse-like bathroom and no garbage near the trailhead. But there is also a picnic area/campground you pass on the way to the beginning of the trail if you wanted to camp close. It is a BLM campground so if you are camping here, don’t expect water or hookups to be provided.
Jeep Arch (also known as Goldbar Arch):
- Distance: 4 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation gain: 944 feet
- Shade: Evening
- Water: none
This hike is a great, hidden gem that not a lot of people know about. About a half mile down the road from the Corona Arch parking area, there is a pull-out on the right side of the road. There is no sign to indicate it is the beginning of the trail, but once you park, go through the culvert that leads under the train tracks.
You will see a sign on the other side to indicate the beginning of the trail for Jeep Arch leading you up and to the left. The first 1/8th of a mile of the trail is uphill to get you up on the shelf. After that, the trail is on slickrock, but it is well marked with cairns. About a mile into the trail, there is a sign indicating the trail becomes a loop. You can go either way and it will take you uphill to the arch. If you go to the right, the uphill is more gradual. To the left, the climb up is steeper and in between the split rocks shown in the picture, but once you do, the rest of the hike to the arch is flat. Either way you go, you can hike through the arch to complete the loop, or just hike back the way you came.
This is a great trail to get away from the crowds! I hiked this trail in February, and for the whole hike, I only saw one other person on the last 1/4 mile of the trail on the way back. Otherwise, I was able to just take my time and enjoy the quiet solitude of the desert.
Tip:Like the Corona Arch Trail, the majority of this trail is on slickrock which makes it really good at reflecting the sun’s heat. This makes it a great trail for hiking in the winter, but take that into consideration when hiking in summer: hike early in the morning and bring lots of water.
There is no garbage can at the trailhead to place your dog’s waste, but since it is so close to Corona Arch and the Goldbar Campground, you can go ahead and use the campground garbage. You can use the toilet facilities at the campground area as well to relieve yourself before or after the hike if you need to.
- Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation gain: 164 feet
- Shade: most of the day (except midday)
- Water: Yes. a stream for your dog to drink from (for most of the year)
To get to this trail, on the way from Moab, keep an eye out on your right-hand side for a big boulder with some fencing around it and make sure to stop! This rock is covered in petroglyphs, including the famous Birthing Scene! It’s fascinating to think about the people who engraved their stories into the rock! Who was the lady in the depiction? Was she or her baby a really important person in the tribe? Or was this just a proud father carving a family portrait? I don’t know, but I wish I did! Oh to be a fly on the…..rock?
The parking area for this hike is the same parking area for the small campground that is right at the beginning of the trailhead. As you begin hiking up the canyon from the campground, you’ll be hiking among some of the vegetation that grows along the stream that is on the bottom. You’ll criss-cross the stream a few times and there are some opportunities for you to scramble up huge slabs of slickrock. About a half of a mile into the hike, make sure to look up and to the right to see Hunters Arch. Hiking in this canyon, with its huge, sweeping cliff walls and its stream and vegetation is what makes this a great hike for you and your dog to take.
There is an open-air style bathroom with no door on it, just a sign to indicate if it’s occupied or not. There is also no garbage so be prepared to haul our your dogs mess out with you, back to Moab.
Mill Creek Falls:
- Distance: 0.5-7.5 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 629 feet
- Shade: yes
- Water: Yes. a creek for your dog to drink from.
Moab in the summer gets HOT! Hiking in summer, of course you are going to be doing most of your hiking in the mornings and in the evenings where the temperatures of the day are coolest, but what about those blistering afternoons? Well because of the waterfalls and swimming holes on this trail, this is a great option to still get some hiking in and take a dip in the cool, refreshing water flowing straight from the La Sal mountains!
The start of this hike is just outside of Moab. Getting out of the car, and starting along the trail, it won’t take you very long at all to get to the first swimming hole and waterfall (man made). If you are looking for just a quick dip to get cool, go ahead and spend some time here to cool off a bit. After getting a little wet, make sure to keep going from there, up the canyon, to get to more swimming holes, more waterfalls, and to see some native american petroglyphs that are up on the cliff side.
This trail begins just right outside of town.
I don’t know about your dogs, but mine LOVES to play in the dirt and sand! After a long day of hiking in and around Moab, I knew if I wanted my pooch anywhere near my sleeping situation, I would have to give her a bath and wash out all of the red dirt she had accumulated. I tried to wash her off in the hotel tub the first night, but it was a near disaster as she was all over the place! I could barely get her clean enough to call it good enough before she jumped out and tore all over the room in her “dog after a bath” frenzy… then there was the wet dog smell that lingered for a long time afterward. So the second day, I decided to give the Moab Barkery a try.
The Moab Barkery is a pet shop in Moab that includes 2 dog baths (one walk-in, one raised) where you can wash off all that Moab dirt. For my 45 lb pooch, it cost me $15 and they provided the apron to save my clothes, bath, shampoo, conditioner, combs/brushes, ear drops, cotton balls, and dryer to dry her off when she was all clean. Oh my goodness, it was so much easier! I was able to save my back and bathe her in the raised tub, with a special leash so she couldn’t move around all over while I was giving her a bath. The shampoo and conditioner were very nice smelling and made it easy to brush her out afterward. I was able to dry her out with the dryer, and after it was all said and done, I was able to buy my spoiled pooch a treat and a new toy. All in all, my puppy and I had a great experience here!
Moab Bark Park:
One day while we were there, we had spent all of the morning and afternoon hiking around Moab. When we finished around 4pm, I knew I wouldn’t have time to complete the next trail I had wanted to do before sunset. I was also pretty tired, but I wasn’t ready to call it a day quite yet. I knew that Moab had a dog park so I looked it up: I found out it’s open from dawn until dusk so I decided to go and let my puppy get the rest of her energy out before we went back to the hotel.
When we showed up, I was pretty impressed! It was a pretty large space with two enclosed areas: a smaller one for dogs up to 30 lbs, and another, larger one for everyone else. It was all red dirt which I didn’t love, but my puppy sure did! There were lots of other dogs there for my dog to play and run around with. There were several “poop stations” around with bags to clean up your dog’s waste. They also had a watering station where the dogs could go take a drink break between playing sessions. My sweet dog was exhausted after playing hard at the Bark Park and slept very well the whole night after we got back to the hotel.
When I first got my puppy, I didn’t think about the fact that my accommodation options would become more limited. For my first trip to Moab with my sweet puppy, I got on a couple of travel sites to look for hotels with the “pet-friendly” filter on. I became pretty frustrated when I would call to double check they would allow my pooch to come and they said they didn’t allow dogs. So as a result of that frustration, I called quite a few of the hotels/motels/etc in the Moab area and asked them three things: 1. If they allowed dogs 2. if they had a fee for pets staying 3. what their cheapest off-season rates were versus their most expensive in-season rates. The result of that effort is what follows:
Dog-friendly Hotels: Pet Fee: Price Ranges(Off/On-season)
|Days Inn– (435)259-4468||$20 per pet/night||$59- $299|
|Gonzo Inn (435)259-2515||$30 per night (up to 2 dogs)||$99- $199|
|Expedition Lodge (435)259-6147||Pets stay free||$55- $350|
|Kokopelli Lodge & Suites (435)530-3134||$31- $186|
|Motel 6 (435)259-6686||Pets stay free||$50- $229|
|Under Canvas Moab (435)895-3213||$25 per pet/nights||Average price ranges from $226-$303. Open March 8-Oct 30|
|Homewood Suites by Hilton (435)259-7000||$50 one time fee||$99- $400|
|Apache Motel (435)259-5727||$70- $137|
|Big Horn Lodge||$5 per pet/night||$59- $149|
|La Quinta Inn & Suites (435)259-8700||Pets stay Free||$99-329+tax|
|Moab Rustic Inn (435)259-6177||Pets stay free||$100- $140- Closed from Dec 1-Feb 1|
|Silver Sage Inn (435)259-4420||$10 per pet/night||$45- $120|
|Red Stone Inn (435)259-3500||$10/night||$80- $166|
|The Virginian (435)259-5951||$10 per pet/night||$79- $149|
|BLM Campsites||Pets stay Free||$10- $25|