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Barking Up Park City, Utah

When you travel with pets things don’t always go as planned. Case in point: our visit to Salt Lake City … the one that didn’t quite happen.

We were looking forward to exploring Salt Lake City because it was #8 in DogFriendly.com’s listing of pet friendly cities. Problem was, temperatures in the valley were approaching 100 degrees when we arrived! Much too warm for the dogs – and us.

Initially disappointed, we reshuffled our plans and headed to the mountains and the more comfortable weather of higher elevations. Think highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s!

Sniffing Around

Park City is 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City. This ski resort was originally settled for the silver ore found here. But by the end of the 1950s, the drop in silver prices had nearly turned Park City into a ghost town. In the mid-1960s, the town was reborn as a winter recreation destination. Oh, to have bought some land back then!

They see their share of celebrities here – the 2002 Winter Olympics ski and snowboarding events were held in Park City and nearby Deer Valley, the US ski team calls Park City home, and each year Sundance – the US’s largest independent film festival – comes to town. Many famous folks have homes in the area, so keep your eyes peeled as you stroll around.

Pet Friendly Accommodations and Restaurants

The GoPetFriendly.com website produced three pet friendly hotels in Park City and twelve pet friendly restaurants, so it’s easy to cover the room and board basics. We ate out more than usual and recommend Prime Steak House for their exceedingly pet friendly attitude, Easy Street Steak and Seafood (now closed), who’s heated patio floor keeps pooches comfy on chilly evenings, and Main Street Pizza and Noodle, where the pizza and service were fantastic!

Park City’s only campground has a 20 pound weight limit for dogs – clearly that wasn’t going to work for us. But Jordanelle State Park is very close by and turned out to be one of our favorite campgrounds of the road trip. It was wonderfully clean, a great value at only $20 a night, and had paved paths for walking the dogs. We had a difficult time dragging ourselves away and ended up staying for six nights.

Pet Friendly Perspective

Whether you’re a history buff, shopaholic, hiker, biker, foodie, or someone who enjoys the simple pleasure of settling in with cup of coffee for a little people watching, you’ll find something to like in Park City. Oh yeah, there’s skiing too.

The city’s makeover from silver town to ski mecca covers all the bases, but to us it felt a bit contrived … as in striving too hard to be quaint and charming. I can’t put my finger on it exactly … it’s like the aftertaste from artificial sweetener – not obnoxious, but a tad off-putting.

We learned from one of the locals that before Park City’s popularity grew, the residents affectionately referred to it as “Bark City.” And on any given day you could tell who was inside the local drinking establishments by the dogs that were playing out front. Things have changed from those days, but you’ll still find plenty to do with your pets here.

We suggest stopping by the visitor’s center and grabbing a historic walking tour guide as you make your way up Main Street. You can learn a little trivia as you check out the many boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants along the way.

If you’d like to get out and enjoy the scenery this area is famous for, you’ll find over 350 miles of trails and 7,000 acres of preserved open space to explore.

Mill Creek Canyon

Visiting Mill Creek Canyon just outside of Salt Lake in the Wasatch National Forest makes for a perfect day trip. I love the creative way they’ve mitigated the clash between mountain bikers and dog walkers. On even days, bikes are allowed on the Upper Mill Creek trails (accessed from the parking lots at the end of the canyon), and dogs on the trails must be on leash. On odd days, bikes are prohibited on the trails and dogs can amble off-leash. It seems like a fantastic compromise to me!

On your way back down the canyon, consider stopping in for dinner at the historic Log Haven. UPDATE: Unfortunately, we’ve learned that Log Haven is no longer welcoming dogs to their outside seating area. We’re sorry that you won’t be able to enjoy this experience. They offer a unique dining experience – providing seating in a hillside amphitheater for those accompanied by their dogs. Because you’re tucked away in a private location, it’s the perfect opportunity for your pup to relax while you savor dinner at this highly acclaimed restaurant (we went in our nicest jeans and GoPetFriendly tee shirt attire).

If you have to resort to bribery to encourage your pooch to be on his best behavior (as we do), feed her the “Meat Lovers Kabob” available from the menu. That should do the trick!

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • Thanks so much for letting us know, Carmie Bednar! Park City has always been a fantatic place to visit with dogs, and we’re glad to know that the restuaruants are going out of their way to make sure our four-legged companions are still welcome.

  • Good to know! Hopefully I’ll get back there one day.

  • Update… Park City restaurants are once again more dog friendly. Many paying for extra permits to solve the health code problems. :)

  • Khris Sellin That’s great news! I’m so glad you found the website helpful and that you and Brooklyn had a great trip. There’s nothing quite like traveling with your dog. <3

  • GoPetFriendly.com Yeah, they seem to be moving backwards in Utah. On a brighter note, everywhere else I went was AWESOME! I drove cross-country (and back) with my little “demon dog” (Brooklyn the cocker spaniel) and we had a blast! I found many great places and tips through your blog. Thanks so much!

  • Shoot, Khris! I’m really sorry to hear that Log Haven no longer welcomes pets, and that you had to learn that the hard way. Not being able to find a pet friendly patio certainly puts a damper on any pet friendly trip, so we understand why you’re discouraged. I hope that as other states start removing these restrictive statutes that Idaho will catch on and take a look at how they can make their state more welcoming for pet travelers. Thanks for the heads up, and may your future pet travels be more enjoyable.

  • Just in case anyone finds this page, like I did, and expects Park City to be dog friendly, it decidedly is not. Health codes prohibit dogs from even sitting at outdoor tables at restaurants and bars, and the formerly dog-friendly Log Haven no longer allows dogs. Sadly, I learned this the hard way.

  • Edeitz says:

    Their solution to the trail use of the mountain bikers or the dog walkers is a great idea. It deserves more attention.

  • michelechollow says:

    Amy, I would have trouble pulling myself away from such beauty too. I remember being in Saint Lucia, my favorite Caribbean island. Our hotel looked out on the Grand Pitons. The first morning, and every one after that, we had breakfast overlooking the Grand Pitons. I would sit and just stare at the beauty. People would come by and ask if I wanted to explore the island, which I did. However, I would have been quite content just staring at the mountains.

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