We may have only been in Moab for three days, but they were jam-packed days:
On one hand Arches National Park is nonstop amazing rock formations, on the other hand it is not dog-friendly. However, we have a federal lands pass so we made a quick drive through. We stopped at a few pull outs and even got out to explore Double Arch since it was cool enough to leave the dogs in the car for a few minutes – I DO NOT recommend this during the summer or on even remotely warm days. Arches would be a great place to explore without dogs or just make the drive through with your four-legged friend.
Next, we got off the pavement and locked in the hubs to explore the miles of four-wheel drive roads in southern Utah. If you don’t have a suitable vehicle, there are a number of rental options in Moab. Some rental places are more limiting on where they allow you to take their vehicles, while others don’t allow dogs in their vehicles. The jeep we rented didn’t have carpet so I didn’t understand this policy and neither did our stealth adventure pups…
Anyway, my dad is an experienced four-wheeler but was new to this type of terrain. The rental place loaned us a copy of Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails and suggested starting on Fins & Things and then take on Hell’s Revenge. Fins & Things was a decent warm up; as a beginner driver I think I could have tackled the whole trail. Hell’s Revenge on the other hand, gives it to you straight from the beginning – at the trailhead you start by going up a fin with significant drops on both sides that you wouldn’t walk away from. If you’re unsure I suggest evaluating the start on foot because once you’re on the trail backing out is not a feasible option. Now that I’ve given sufficient warning, the main trail is challenging with some hair-raising spots. There are also some detours which, even if they weren’t on our no go list we were not equipped nor crazy enough to try the hot tubs, the escalator, or the tip over challenge. Come on…that last one is right there in the name.
Another dog-friendly challenge is finding a place to eat. Driving down Main Street the Cabo Grill had a sign out front, “dogs welcome.” They had a nice outside seating area and good Mexican food – Aspen and I would visit again. Milt’s Stop & Eat also had outdoor seating and delicious milkshakes.
Our last stop before heading back west was Dead Horse Point State Park. It doesn’t have a very appealing name, but it does have a very appealing view! The origin of the park’s name is – not surprisingly – a despairing story; cowboys used to use the point of land to corral wild mustangs. They would round the mustangs up and then herd them across the narrow stretch of land and pile brush and branches across the 30-yard opening. Combine that “fence” with the precipitous cliffs on all other sides and you’ve got yourself a natural corral. After the choice horses were selected the rest were left on the waterless point, where they died of thirst looking at the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.
We chose this destination to see canyon lands at a dog-friendly park. There are two trail networks and dogs are allowed on one of the networks on-leash. Wildlife 4-8 was also able to ride his mountain bike here and loved the trails, he even ranked it higher than the popular Slickrock Trail system. After exploring the park we headed west on the pavement, while my parents opted for the dirt road and took Long Canyon Road back to Moab. From the sound of it, the road was indeed in a long canyon, very scenic, you get to drive under a rock leaning on the base of a cliff, and my Honda CRV could have handled the drive – maybe next time!
When you’re dogging about Moab, don’t forget to pack a lot of water for both you and your adventure pup.
On to Nevada!