Traveling with dogs isn't easy.
Traveling with big dogs is definitely not easy but not impossible!
Here's a video of a recent road trip we took through Arizona, Utah and Nevada.
The humans didn't plan any lodging or set schedule. The goal was to see specific sights, but other than that, be open to whatever came up!
San Francisco to Grand Canyon about 12 hours.
This was our longest drive. I'm pretty good in the car since I sleep most of the time but the longest drive I've done is about six hours, and that's including off leash stops along the way, so this was definitely new. We stopped at a dog park in Bakersfield and then only made necessary gas/food stops along the way.
We decided to stop in Havasu City for one night since it was getting late. We had to try a few different motels before finding one with availability that was also dog friendly (without any restrictions).
Motel 6, Travelodge, Comfort Inn and Knights Inn are all dog friendly in this area. We ended up finding a room at Quality Inn (plus a $20 pet fee/night).
Something to keep in mind about "pet fees" is that there is a pet fee, and then on top of that most hotels will add an additional pet fee tax.
Also, sometimes the hotel websites say there are weight/size restrictions but always confirm. A lot of people we came across were on road trips with their dogs, too. Plus, you park right by your room door, so often times they never even see the dog.
The South Rim Trail is the only dog-friendly area within the Grand Canyon, and dogs must remain on leash and on the path. There are 13 miles of paved paths along the ridge with various scenic stop points.
Admission fee is $25.
Personally, I found this kinda boring and even in early May it's very crowded which makes it kind of stressful, especially because everyone stares at me and wants to pet me! Thankfully it wasn't too hot, yet. I don't know what all the humans were oogling at and I don't like these kind of heights! Although, I didn't mind when people wanted to take pictures of me. Say 'cheeeese'!!!
We only stuck around for about 30 minutes and then headed back into the car.
Grand Canyon to Lake Powell about 2.5 hours.
Lake Powell spans across the Arizona/Utah border so we decided to stay in Page, Arizona at the Courtyard Marriott (plus $25 pet fee/night).
Did you know Lake Powell is the second largest man made lake in the US? I'm full of interesting facts (that the humans tell me).
On the Arizona side you can access the lake through Wahweap Marina (north and south entrances). For $25 you get a week access pass. There's a resort, boat launch, and campgrounds.
We found out about a local equipment rental company in Page called Lake Powell Paddleboards from our neighbor and Instagram friend @emmas_wanderlust who also made a recent road trip so we decided to check it out.
Emma is a master SUP captain. For those of you like her, you can paddle 3 miles into Antelope Canyon through the slot canyons.
The fur parents decided to rent a kayak instead and with the help of the super staff, got directions to Lone Rock on the Utah side. They provide padding for the car, racks, equipment and even a doggy life vest! You have to like a company with a dog in its logo, right?
I'm not so good in water, yet. If you are, you can paddle/kayak around Lone Rock and even into lesser known slot canyons on the other side. There are also beaches on the other side of the lake where pups are free to run around, so we were told. We never made it that far since I move around a lot in the kayak.
The fur parents decided to spend two nights in Page since we arrived late afternoon anyway. The Courtyard Marriott was so much nicer than the Quality Inn and I needed a break from all the driving. Boy, it's tiring being a passenger! Plus this way we could just relax on the beach.
For those who are up for some yummy BBQ, check out Big John's Texas BBQ. They have live music and really yummy sausage, AND gave me a huge smoked hip bone! But fur mom took it away since it was cooked =( She's no fun.
Lake Powell to Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon about 5.5 hours
While the drive is long this was by far the prettiest and most interesting drive, at least for you humans. Man, you guys sure love to stare at large rocks. There's lots of open and windy roads through BLM land, which makes Utah very popular for camping and means us doggies get to run free! The fur parents promised to take me back for some epic camping trips!
Little Wild Horse Canyon/Bell Canyon
The two trails start from the same trail head, which is very convenient. If you do the full loop of the two trails it's about 8 miles.
When we went it must have been after a good amount of rain because I had to swim again! Ack! Some people mentioned they were there just a week ago and there were only some muddy spots.
Since we got there in the afternoon and with all the water and scrambling, the hike took a little bit longer than expected (about 3 hours). We didn't get to do the whole loop but I was still pooped! If you have to choose one, a lot of reviews say to choose Little Wild Horse vs. Bell, which is what we did. We didn't get to see all of it either; we probably hiked about 3 - 4 miles in/out, total. It's definitely up to you how short or long you want to hike.
Also, make sure to check the weather beforehand; if there's any chance of rain especially during the summer/autumn you may not want to go since the canyons have a high risk of flash floods.
Early May was warm, especially in the open areas, but once you get into the canyons it's much cooler, and in fact, the water was super refreshing! All the humans complained how cold the water was (they said it was so cold it hurt) but I thought it was the perfect temperature. You guys are a bunch of babies!
A lot of the dogs we ran into were leashed in the half mile hike leading to the trail head since the paths are wide and there are a lot more people, but once we got into the canyon every dog we came across was off leash, which makes sense since there isn't anywhere to go, really and it's best to keep moving forward until the next opening.
On a side note, doesn't the rock in the last picture look like a dinosaur?
Some of the trails get very narrow, so if you think your pup is uncomfortable in tight spaces then that's something to consider especially during busier seasons when you'll also have to deal with crowds.
By the time we finished hiking it was about 4 pm. While the fur parents were prepared to sleep in the car they really wanted to shower after wading through muddy waters. There are two towns closest to the canyons, Hanksville and Green River, which is the larger town of the two and about an hour away, 30 minutes of which is just getting out of Goblin Valley (recreational area).
We chose Green River. The fur parents grabbed dinner at the local Burger King - yum! One reason I love road trips is because I get to eat all the best foods like chicken nuggets and hamburgers! And we found a room at America's Best Value Inn (no pet fee at this location). I wasn't too happy with all the motel rooms since I like cooler rooms and don't like all the noise from the air conditioners, but oh well.
The fur parents woke me up at 4 am the next morning to load the car and get back on the road! Are they crazy?!
Bonneville Salt Flats
Green River to Bonneville Salt Flats about 4.5 hours
The original plan was to head to Lake Tahoe through Nevada on US-50, the Loneliest Road in America. After some discussion the night before they decided not to since that would mean we would have to stop at every small town to get gas making the drive even longer, and in case anything happened, there was a chance we could be stranded. Instead, we got onto US-80, which gave us a chance to stretch our legs at the salt flats.
You can drive onto the salt flats if you want, but there's a chance your car could get stuck. Fur mom also made sure to rinse my paws after, just to be sure they wouldn't burn. If your pup has sensitive paws you can always use wax or booties.
Green River to Lake Tahoe about 11 hours
Our second longest stretch of driving.
When we go to Lake Tahoe we stay in all different places (you can check all our reviews on the blog) but typically prefer the Nevada side. Once we're in the Lake Tahoe area I get to hike, run, and go everywhere with my fur parents - that's why it's my favorite place other than home!
Fur mom makes extra sure I wear bright colorful harnesses when we're here because I blend into the surroundings and people always think I'm a wolf! No accidents, please!
We ended up staying in Lake Tahoe for 2 nights before finally coming back home. Even though it was a lot of sitting in the car I was still exhausted! Mom made sure to give me a couple rest days at home to get back into a normal routine. It's going to suck when the humans have to go back to work but I can't wait for our next adventure!