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Are Dogs Allowed in Arches National Park? 2023 Update & Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

view of arches national park

Have you daydreamed about exploring the jaw-dropping beauty of Arches National Park with your four-legged friend by your side? With over 2,000 natural stone arches, colossal sandstone fins, and towering pinnacles that paint the Utah desert landscape, it’s no wonder Arches has become a must-see destination for millions of visitors each year. But can your furry friend tag along on this epic adventure?

You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding dogs in Arches National Park, along with some crucial tips and tricks for a tail-wagging good time. For now, we will tell you, that dogs are allowed into Arches National Park, but there are some restrictions you need to know about.

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Are Dogs Allowed in Arches National Park?

First things first, are dogs allowed in Arches National Park? According to the National Park Service’s official website, the answer is yes, but with some restrictions.1 Pets are welcome in limited sections within the park, but they must be on a leash 6 feet or shorter at all times and under physical control. So, you can’t just let your dog roam free—and there’s a lot more you need to know before grabbing Fido’s leash and hitting the trails.

arches national park
Image Credit: Moriah Wolfe, Unsplash

Access is Severely Limited

It’s essential to understand that while dogs are allowed in the park, they have a limited number of access points. Your four-legged buddy can only join you in specific areas such as parking lots, paved roads, picnic areas, and established campgrounds. So, if you were hoping to let your pooch frolic among the famous arches, you’re out of luck. The reason behind these restrictions is simple: to protect the delicate desert ecosystem, as well as the park’s wildlife and other visitors. No pets—not even dogs—are permitted to hike, even in carriers, on or off trails, including overlooks. Pets also cannot be allowed inside the visitor center or any of the other buildings.

Timed Entry System

Now that we’ve got that straight let’s talk about some other vital info you should know before planning your trip to Arches National Park with your furry sidekick. As of January 2023, the park has implemented a Timed Entry System to manage the growing number of visitors.2 This means that you’ll need to reserve a timed entry ticket in advance to ensure you and your pooch can soak in those stunning red rock vistas. These tickets are released through a website, Recreation.gov, and reservations are scheduled 3 months in advance.3 All tickets are first come, first served, so you absolutely need to make sure you have one before setting out.

Pack All Your Needs & Behave Responsibly

One more thing—make sure you pack everything you need to keep your doggo comfy and happy during your visit. Arches National Park is located in the high desert of Utah, and it can get scorching hot during the summer months. So, it’s crucial to bring plenty of water, doggy waste bags, and even a collapsible water bowl to keep your pup hydrated and clean.

While we’re on the subject of keeping things clean, remember that you’re responsible for your dog’s mess. The park’s website explicitly states that pet owners must pick up after their pets and dispose of waste in a trash receptacle. So, don’t be that person—keep the park beautiful and pristine for everyone to enjoy.

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Things to See & Do in Moab

Now that you’re well-versed in the don’ts of bringing your dog to Arches National Park, let’s chat about some nearby pet-friendly activities. Arches might not put out the welcome mat, but there are other opportunities to explore. After all, variety is the spice of life, and it’s always a good idea to have a few options up your sleeve.

Just a stone’s throw away from Arches National Park, you’ll find the picturesque town of Moab, Utah. This vibrant desert oasis is chock-full of dog-friendly activities that you and your fur baby can enjoy together. From scenic hikes to al fresco dining, Moab has got you and your pup covered.

Basenji in a desert
Image Credit: Nikita Tiunov, Shutterstock

Off-Leash Areas

If your dog has a hankering for some off-leash fun, Moab Bark Park is the place to be. This is a popular dog run for good reason. A fully fenced, 2-acre park, it offers a safe environment for your dog to burn off some energy, socialize with other pups, and enjoy the great outdoors. If you came to Utah for the landscape, you don’t have to leave disappointed. For those looking to stretch their legs and take in some stunning views, the Mill Creek Canyon Trail is an excellent option. This dog-friendly trail meanders alongside a crystal-clear creek, culminating in a refreshing waterfall—a perfect spot for you and your pup to cool off on a hot day.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants & Accommodations

You’ll probably both work up quite an appetite after a day of adventuring. Fortunately, Moab has a smorgasbord of dog-friendly dining options that’ll satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Grab a bite at the Moab Brewery, where you can enjoy a cold brew and a tasty meal on their pet-friendly patio. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a bit more gourmet, head over to the Desert Bistro, which also welcomes well-behaved, leashed dogs on their outdoor patio.

When it comes to accommodation, Moab boasts a wide array of pet-friendly lodging options, such as the Expedition Lodge. From cozy cabins to luxurious hotels, be sure to confirm pet policies and any associated fees before booking your stay.

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In conclusion, while your dog’s access to Arches National Park is quite limited, there are plenty of pet-friendly activities and amenities in the surrounding area to make your trip a memorable one. As you prepare to enjoy Arches, remember to reserve a timed entry ticket.

By respecting the park’s rules and regulations, you’ll not only help preserve the delicate desert ecosystem, but you’ll also ensure a paws-itively fantastic experience for you, your dog, and your fellow park-goers. There are lots of other places to enjoy with your dog in the surrounding areas. So, with a little planning and a spirit of adventure, you and your furry friend will have a ball exploring the beauty of the Utah desert. Happy trails!

Featured Image Credit: Ken Cheung, Unsplash

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