Guest Journalist: Mark Payne
In 2017 I flew from Australia to North America for the trip of a lifetime, the only difference between me and thousands of other Aussies, is I choose to take my dog along for the adventure. Since then we have traveled almost 80,000 km throughout North America. We have been across Canada, explored almost 40 states throughout the USA, and even made it to Mexico for a day. Initially we found getting information about travelling with a pet really difficult, so now we share pet-friendly travel tips and show people you can have a dog and a life of adventure and travel too. Together we have been skiing, snowboarding, backcountry touring, snowshoeing, fat and mountain biking, paddling, white water rafting and hiking.
During our time in Utah, we made it to Moab and absolutely fell in love with how beautiful the area is and the adventure on offer. We did some things quite well during our time there, but also could have done some things better, and thought we would share our top five tips for visiting Moab with a dog.
1. Know what you can and can’t do
During our time, we explored Arches National Park during the day and watched the sunset from the Island in the Sky in the Canyonlands National Park. Often people talk about the limitations you have going into a National Park with your dog, and although they existed, we were still able to see and do plenty from the areas we were allowed.
There are some differences between the two parks, so we suggest you check the current requirements for each park from the National Park Service’s website (click here), but in general dogs must be leashed at all times and you can have your dog with you:
- On all park roads
- In parking areas
- In picnic areas
- In the main campground
You can’t have your dog with you:
- At any overlooks on any hiking trails,
- Anywhere off-trails
- In the visitor centre
As in all National Parks you are expected to clean up after your dog & not leave them unattended.
2. Plan for the heat
When we were exploring Moab it was really hot during the day. Summer temperatures reach 100°F regularly, so it is really important to plan your days accordingly. I made sure I carried plenty of water for both Mya and I, and had a collapsible light weight dog bowl for Mya to drink from. I also had a set of Ruffwear hiking boots for Mya, to stop her paws getting burnt on the hot ground. A good rule is, if you can’t put your hand on the ground for five seconds without burning it, then it is probably too hot for dogs to walk on bare paw. Just remember that different surfaces such as asphalt, concrete and soil will have different temperatures.
3. Utilize doggy day care when required
I would have liked to have been able to check out the Delicate Arch, but sadly I wasn’t able to see it whilst I had Mya with me, as it is a 30 minute hike and dogs aren’t permitted on the trail. The National Parks recommend against leaving pets in your car when temperatures are above 68°F, even with the windows cracked. With the heat we experienced, I would also discourage this and instead suggest arranging for some doggy day care. A list of boarding services can be found here, or talk to the team at the Moab Information Center (corner of Main & Center Streets in Moab) who can help you with recommendations.
4. Book your accommodation in advance
Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance. Initially we planned to camp in one of the national parks or Dead Horse Point State Park, but when we arrived, all the camp sites were booked out (If you arrive early enough, you may be able to get a non reserved site, but they do fill up fast). Additionally, if your dog is the type that is going to bark whenever they hear a noise outside of the tent, you might want to be considerate of others and look at alternative forms of pet friendly accommodation. We ended up staying at La Quinta in Moab, which as most of you know has a fantastic pet policy with no pet fees. Other pet friendly options we would recommend would by the Hyatt Place and Homewood Suites By Hilton. A complete list of pet-friendly accommodations can be found here.
5. Make Sure You Have Enough Time
Sadly we didn’t allocate enough time during our visit to make the most of the area. I would have loved to have checked out the dog friendly hike to the Corona Arch (I’ve seen some incredible photos and this is our biggest regret from Utah), a dog friendly hike through Dead Horse Point State Park, the Negro Bill Canyon trail and a rafting trip on the Green River or San Jan River with the Moab Rafting & Canoe Company; yes the company offers dog friendly rafting tours. I’ve also heard the mountain biking in Dead Horse State Park is great, but as dogs aren’t allowed on the mountain bike trails, it’s one you would need to arrange doggy day care for in advance. To make the most of the area I would recommend spending at least five days there, but if for whatever reason you can’t, I guess it just gives you a reason to head back.
Exploring Moab with Mya, made the experience so much more special. With so many amazing opportunities, Moab is definitely one of our favourite places in the USA, and with enough time and planning there is no reason why people should have to leave their furry friends behind.
Follow Mark & Mya’s continuing Adventures here: facebook.com/markandmyasadventures/