It’s common knowledge among pet travelers that our national parks are not pet friendly. We experienced that last summer at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Generally, your pets are allowed outside your vehicle only in paved parking lots and some campgrounds. The trails are usually off limits.
But things are different at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Leashed dogs are welcome on the South Rim Trail – all 13 miles!
We parked at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center (right side of map) and picked up the trail at Mather Point. The pathways and lookouts right around there were crowded with tourists … but just a quarter mile down, the path was wide open.
The most difficult thing to convey about the Grand Canyon is its enormity. It’s almost too big to be real. In fact, as we stood looking out over the vistas we agreed that if someone told us we were looking at a Hollywood movie backdrop, we’d have believed them.
So, like a couple of addicts (and their dogs), we started walking … and walking. Signs along the trail mark the distance to the next point of interest, and it’s never very far. “Oh, it’s just a mile to Bright Angel Lodge. We’ll just be getting warmed up.”
“Hey, it’s less than a mile to Trailview Overlook – let’s do it!”
And so on … until nearly five miles (and about 200 photos) later we finally got a hold of ourselves. The dogs were pooped, and Ty was giving us his it’s-time-to-head-back look.
We were there on a cloudy, cool day. If it had been warmer, we wouldn’t have been able to walk so far with the boys. Though the path is easy to navigate, the high elevation and dry climate can quickly lead to dehydration for you and your dog. Even if you’re only planning a short stroll, bring plenty of water and a collapsible bowl.
We made it back to the Winnebago fairly quickly. Ty seemed to sense we were heading toward his bed, and he got his second wind. He wouldn’t even move over for people on the trail! It was as if he was calculating the shortest distance home and he was going to walk that line regardless of who got in his way.
We spent the night at Trailer Village – one of the three pet friendly campgrounds in the park. The campground itself was nothing spectacular, but it was really convenient to the South Rim amenities and attractions. The next day, the dogs begged off so Rod and I jumped on the shuttle and spent a couple hours visiting points further down the Rim Trail, including Hermit’s Rest. Built in 1914, and designed by Mary Coulter, Hermit’s Rest was … you guessed it … a rest stop for travelers back in the day.
Now a gift shop and snack bar, the fireplace is still a great place to relax.
There are two pet friendly hotels and two campgrounds (without hookups) and one RV park (with hookups) inside the park. There are additional pet friendly options available just south of the park in the town of Tusayan, AZ.
Finding a pet friendly restaurant here is a bit of a challenge. The closest we were able to find was about 80 miles south in Flagstaff, Arizona.
We made a second visit to the Grand Canyon and explored a different section of the South Rim Trail. We’re happy to report that the park is just as pet friendly as our last visit, and you can read about it here: Arizona’s Top Pet Friendly Attraction – The Grand Canyon.