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Traveling with Kids or Pets in Utah’s National Parks

A dog perches on sandstone with Monument Valley behind them.
Keep in mind when planning that dogs aren’t permitted on trails in a national park. Photo © Barna Tanko/123rf.

Utah’s national parks are filled with dramatic vistas and exciting recreation. The parks provide lots of opportunities for adventures, whether it’s rafting the Colorado River or hiking to ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins, and most children will have the time of their young lives in Utah.

A family-vacation type of place, no special planning is required to make a national park holiday exciting for children in Utah. Children do receive discounts on a number of things ranging from motel rooms (where they often stay for free, but inquire about age restrictions, which vary) to museum admissions. One exception to this family-friendly rule is B&Bs, which frequently don’t allow children at all.

Utah law requires all children age four or younger to be restrained in a child safety seat. Child seats can be rented from car-rental agencies—ask when making a car reservation.

Traveling with Pets

Unless you really have no other option, it’s best not to bring your dog (or cat, or bird, or ferret) along on a national park vacation.

Although pets are allowed in national parks, they aren’t permitted on the trails. This limits you and your dog to leashed walks along the roads, around campground loops, and in parking areas.

During much of the year, it’s far too hot to leave an animal in a parked car. In Zion, private cars are prohibited on the scenic canyon drive, and no pets are allowed on the shuttle buses that drive this route.

If you are traveling with a pet while visiting southern Utah’s national parks, there are a few pet boarding services are available in Moab:

When in Moab, visit the Moab Bark Park (300 S. 100 E.), a fenced off-leash dog park.


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