We had the oppertunity to make a stop in Zion National Park on our cross country move from California to New Jersey! We had a car full our belongings and our beloved dog Huckleberry Finn along with us for the big move. This adventure is one we will never forget and memories we fondly look back on with happy tears in our eyes. Huck Finn passed away in July 2022. I am writing this for all the dog lovers out there who want to visit Zion National Park with their furry friend and the adventure traveler looking to experience all Zion has to offer without man's best friend. Let's go over the best hikes and overlooks, where to stay, where to eat, and dog friendly activities in Zion National Park!
WHERE TO STAY IN ZION
When visiting Zion National Park stay in Springdale! It's the closest town in proximity to the Parks Entrance and has many accomadation and restuarant options making it a super convenient location. We personally stayed at Holiday Inn Express in Springdale, a pet friendly hotel and it could not have been a better experience! Great location, awesome views, traditional rooms, free breakfast, a pool, and hot tub, I mean what else could you ask for?
PARK ENTRY AND SHUTTLE SYSTEM
To enter Zion National Park the entrance fee is $35 per vehicle, granting you access for a generous 7 days! You do not need a reservation for a timed entry ticket to visit the park. You also do not need a ticket or reservation to ride the park shuttle. Keep in mind that during the shuttle season visitors cannot drive their personal vehicles on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Be sure to keep updated on the shuttle schedule and pick up/drop off locations!
VISITNG ZION NATIONAL PARK WITH A DOG
With Huck, our ever-enthusiastic canine companion tagging along, our exploration took a dog-friendly route. We visited the park in March (not shuttle season) so we were able to take the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and hike the Pa'rus Trail, being the sole dog-friendly trail in the park. While Zion enforces a strict no-dogs policy on many trails, we found solace in being able to navigate the scenic drive taking in the views, stopping at overlooks, and stepping out of the car exploring surrounding areas with Huck on a leash.
Despite the limitations posed by the no-dogs policy on certain trails, our minimalistic approach allowed us to immerse ourselves in the surreal beauty of Zion! The towering sandstone cliffs, the Virgin River's gentle flow, and the vibrant colors of the canyon walls provided a sensory feast that words can hardly capture. Huck even took a dip in the Virgin River!
HIKES AND PERMITS | WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE
In an alternate scenario without Huck, we would have ventured into more challenging trails like the iconic Angels Landing hike, renowned for its breathtaking views from the summit. Additionally, we'd have delved into the stunning Narrows, a unique hike through the towering canyon walls with the Virgin River beneath our feet. We would have also loved to visit some of the amazing near by slot canyons!
Angels Landing Hike: Keep in mind to hike Angels Landing a special-use permit is required due to its popularity and the need to manage the trail's capacity. These permits can be obtained through the park's official website, and it's advisable to secure them well in advance. Once permitted, the hike involves a strenuous ascent with exposed cliffs and narrow paths. Make for an early start and careful preparation is essential!
The Narrows: You do not need a permit to hike the Narrows! Be sure to check weather conditions as flash floods can occur, rent appropriate gear like waterproof boots and walking sticks, or bring your own. Be ready for a wet and wild adventure!
Slot Canyons: I've been dreaming of Utah's enchanting slot canyons! These narrow, twisting corridors, showcase the incredible power of erosion on sandstone landscapes over millions of years. Be sure to put this amazing experience on your list of things to do in Zion! Take a thrilling UTV and slot canyon tour, adding an extra layer of excitement to an already extraordinary journey.
WHERE TO EAT
After a day of exploration, our taste buds were treated to a feast at Oscar’s Cafe! The Mexican culinary delights served as the perfect refuel. For a change of scene, we also savored the fantastic outdoor atmosphere at Zion Brewery, concluding our days with good food and a tranquil ambiance.
In retrospect, while we yearned for more extensive hikes, our decision to prioritize Huck's well-being made our journey uniquely ours. Zion National Park, with its majestic landscapes and canine-friendly corners, left an indelible mark on our travel diaries. It's a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most fulfilling adventures are the ones where you find joy in the simplicity of the moment. One day we will return to Zion, until then feel free to check out our other National Park Guides and USA Destinations!