After a mostly driving tour of pet unfriendly Arches National Park, the dogs deserved some fun fit dog time. Just a few miles from the entrance to Arches National Park is a pet friendly trail to Bow Tie and Corona Arches. Since this hike is short (3 miles round trip,) I had planned to carry Leo on my hand but he opted for some alone time in his cage. It was late in the day and the already cool spring Moab sun wasn't going to pose a risk to Leo staying behind in the van. While Leo enjoyed his toys and a gorgeous view of the Colorado River, Wilhelm, Brychwyn, Huxley and I headed off into the desert in search of arches.
This was our first hike in the desert and I was nervous, to say the least. I had read everything I could about avoiding desert dangers and what to do should we encounter any. I carried what felt like gallons of water. Fortunately, there was nothing but sapphire blue sky, stunning red rocks, blossoming cacti and a rainbow of wildflowers. The Bow Tie and Corona Arch trail was just the fit dog time we needed. We hiked on gravel, sand and slabs of rock. There were rocks large enough to provide shade and there were places with natural stairs to climb. The dogs absolutely loved it!
Before we caught sight of the arches, we passed a group of fellow Cascadians. Their party stopped to fawn over the dogs and in the course of the conversation they told me that they were surprised I had read that the trail was pet friendly. They informed me that just around the corner I'd be able to see Bow Tie and Corona Arches but the dogs would not be able to get to the arches because of the ladder. I continued on but the other hikers were right. The dogs and I had the hike cut short by an almost vertical grade with chiseled human foot holes and a cable railing up the rock to the level of the arches. I was momentarily disappointed but only for a split second because the dogs didn't care. We were having a wonderful time and the view... ah, the view!
Such fabulous fit dog fun! Plus the very next day, we finally got up close and personal with a pet friendly arch (Leo too) making our time in Moab perfect in every way.
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Pets are only allowed in parking lots, at viewpoints, on roads and in the campground of Arches National Park. Pets are not allowed on any trails. During our recent trip to Moab, Utah, I hadn't planned to visit pet unfriendly Arches National Park. Then I realized that the entrance to the park was very near the trail head of the pet-friendly desert hike I had planned outside of the park. I just couldn't resist a detour into the world famous desert park. I knew I would have to sacrifice seeing a lot of what Arches National Park has to offer by taking the dogs and cockatoo Leo along. But we had a wonderful time!
If you're not willing to forgo seeing everything at Arches National Park and most especially hiking even short trails to interpretive signs, attractions and viewpoints, do not take your pets. Follow the National Park Services advice and board them in pet-friendly Moab. Pets cannot be left in the car, water should be available to them at all times during your visit and paw protection is highly recommended (I use Musher's Secret.)
When we followed the road into the parking lot loop to view The Windows Section, I almost didn't stop. It was very crowded and I wasn't sure I could safely walk the dogs along the narrow, mostly shoulder less road and through the over flowing parking lot. As I gazed in awe at the North and South Windows from the van, I briefly felt a little deprived because of being there with the pets. The trails from the parking area lead to several windows and arches that hoards of people were standing in and admiring. The left-out feeling passed quickly into gratitude for traveling with pets; I wanted nothing more than to get away from that mass of people. I did get lucky and got one of the only two parking spots in the entire area. The parking spot also happened to be one I could safely get the dogs and Leo out of the van. Obviously, it was meant to be for us to stop for just a few photos.
Our next stop was just minutes from the mob scene at The Windows Section, Garden of Eden. This was my favorite stop. I highly recommend it. We had the entire viewpoint area to ourselves. The 360 degree view was breathtaking and the dogs had space for a safe and pleasant stroll. The road had a wide gravel shoulder and the parking lot had a gravel curb to walk on. It wasn't very hot for the Utah desert but as Cascadians, any temperature over 70 Fahrenheit takes some acclimation. The short walk around Garden of Eden was perfect.
With a willingness to sacrifice, Arches National Park (or any pet unfriendly National Park) can be enjoyed with pets. I do hope to someday go back to Arches without my pets, I will always treasure the memories of seeing such amazing natural wonders with my best friends by my side.
Tomorrow we'll share the stunning pet-friendly Moab hike we took outside of Arches National Park after our park tour ended.
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One of my favorite stops on our spring road trip was at Balanced Rock in Arches National Park. Can you believe that huge rock just sits there? I cheered for Balanced Rock's awesome equilibrium while other tourists took silly photos of pushing the rock over with their finger or balancing the rock on their heads. I decided to try one of those goofy pictures and made Balanced Rock a part of my crest. How's it look?
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Click on any photo or here to learn more about our visit to Grand Canyon National Park and click here to catch up on our pet friendly road trip from Seattle to Phoenix and back again.