If you are planning an incredible desert vacation with your dog to Zion National Park, hiking in red-rock canyons and up remote mesas, you may want to rethink your plans. At Zion, you’ll find pets are only allowed in extremely limited areas, placing you in a quandary, especially if it is hot out and you want to explore the park.
Leashed dogs are not allowed on any trails or wilderness areas, except the Pa’rus Trail. You can access this paved trail from Canyon Junction or the visitors center. The only exception is service dogs are allowed on leash throughout the park.
Other areas where leashed dogs are permitted is on public roads, parking areas, developed campgrounds and picnic areas and on the grounds surrounding the Zion Lodge. Like in other national parks, your leash must be no longer than 6 feet long.
Never Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car
Because temperatures can soar in southern Utah, it’s not safe to leave your pet inside your vehicle, even for several minutes on a warm day. On an 85-degree day, temperatures inside your car with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society. After 30 minutes, temperatures can reach 120 degrees. In both scenarios, your pet can rapidly experience severe organ damage or die.
Walk Your Dog in Early Morning or Evening
If you want to walk your dog on Pa’rus Trail, do it early in the morning or evening when the pavement is cooler than mid-day. Asphalt can get extremely hot and burn the pads of your dog’s feet in the heat of the day. Be sure to bring plastic bags that you can tie off to clean up after your pet. Rangers ask that you dispose of the bags in trash cans.
Zion rules allow you to leave your pet behind at developed campground only if it will not bark and disturb other campers and if weather conditions are safe to do so. However, heat is you and your pet’s worst enemy, so you are not allowed to leave your dog behind when his or her health could be jeopardized by the weather.
Board Your Dog to Keep It Safe
Given the hazards of heat and the limited places for your dog to spend the day, it may be worth considering boarding your dog in a nearby town. There are dog kennels in Rockville, Hurricane, St. George, Kanab and Cedar City. Do your research, know what proof of vaccination you will need to present at the kennel and make reservations.