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Old 10-03-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
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Utah National Parks

We just ended a 4 week trip, most of it in Utah. Our favorite by far is Capitol Reef NP. It's a smallish park but has loads of hiking and a great scenic drive. The campground is on a first-come first-serve basis but there were spaces until mid-afternoon. There are no hookups but water is available, the restrooms are clean but (no showers), and there is a sanidump. The scenery is just awesome and if you like geology it is fantastic.

We also found the North Rim Grand Canyon, Arizona, a great place. Of course, the canyon is grand and the campground was very pleasant. If you can, reserve a site on the edges of the campground. Some have views of the canyon and others abut a ravine. Showers are $1.50 and the restrooms are clean. The whole area is forested and right now the aspens are golden. Very beautiful.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:27 PM   #2
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Re: Utah National Parks

We were at Grand Canyon North Rim a year ago. As matter of fact we were there the last night they were open for the season. I can guess the showers were great, they were coming in the next day to tear the shower building down and build a new one. You benefited from the new construction.

I would agree that it is an excellent place to camp. So much different from the South Rim, like another world. Reservations are recommended however.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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Re: Utah National Parks

I just left Zion Park in Utah today. We have hiked and biked around there and Bryce Canyon for the last couple weeks. Absolutely fantastic country. Looking forward to the day when I can afford more time, and explore deeper and further into this unique landscape. I love travelling in country that affords good exercise while enjoying world class scenery. Pretty sure I lost a few pounds on this trip, and still enjoyed a few glasses of wine and bottles of beer every day.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
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Re: Utah National Parks

A couple of Utah state parks that are worth visiting (and have campgrounds) are Goblin Valley & Kodachrome Basin. Both have restrooms with hot showers, a dump station and off site water, and a few sites at Kodachrome have electric. Both hiking & beautiful scenery at each. There is an interesting slot canyon (Little Wild Horse Canyon) about 7 miles from Goblin Valley, and a couple of arches in or near Kodachrome (Shakespeare Arch in the park & Grosvenor Arch about 18 miles south of the park on Cottonwood Road.)
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:42 PM   #5
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Re: Utah National Parks

Just a caution for anyone traveling with a dog, dogs are not allowed on trails in American National Parks, even on a leash. We love the National Parks south of the border, but this really puts a damper on things for us. When we are told this by the rangers, we always ask if it is ok if we carry a gun, and the answer is yes. Hum, we reply, you must have had lots of problems with dogs down here!
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:16 AM   #6
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Re: Utah National Parks

Hi: ddevin... I don't think it's the dogs fault!!! Alf
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:46 PM   #7
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Re: Utah National Parks

We say it with a wink and a smile! It really is a shame though, as the National Parks are so spectacular. We are forced to have either my wife or me wait in the car with our very well trained dog while the kids do the hike. Yes, dogs with irresponsible owners can be a problem on trails, but it is too bad that they have painted all of us with the same brush. Nevertheless, we may be heading to Utah soon, so the information on this thread is useful.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:41 PM   #8
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Re: Utah National Parks

I wouldn't be surprised if it has to do with the effect that a dog's mere presence can have on wildlife and the environment. Multiply that by countless thousands of dogs. In addition, of course, are bad owners.

The parks are willing to let people in even though they are often a nuisance to the wildlife and environment, too, maybe more than dogs would be!
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Re: Utah National Parks

Looks like we all have great experiences in Utah! We will go back and Kodachrome and Goblin look like good candidates. I love slot canyons. Interesting and eerie. THe whole area is full of hiking and photo opportunities. Can't beat losing weight and having fun at the same time!
We also visited Arches and Canyonlands but Capitol Reef was our favorite by far. The old Mormon orchards were full of delicious apples which you could pick for free if you ate them on site. Otherwise, it is ten cents/pound. Such a deal.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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Re: Utah National Parks

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Originally Posted by Floating Cloud
I wouldn't be surprised if it has to do with the effect that a dog's mere presence can have on wildlife and the environment. Multiply that by countless thousands of dogs. In addition, of course, are bad owners.

The parks are willing to let people in even though they are often a nuisance to the wildlife and environment, too, maybe more than dogs would be!
Yes, dogs have the potential to stress wildlife, but I would suggest that rather than banning dogs from all trails, to ban them from trails that would be particularly susceptible to dog related problems. The way it is now you can't even take them on short paved paths to viewpoints! I would also argue that the parks in Canada, which do allow dogs on trails, have not suffered as the result of their dog friendly approach.

This thread has really got us thinking of Utah as our next trip, perhaps as soon as December. I just googled Kodachrome, which is a Dog-friendly State Park, and it does look amazing. It is close to many of the sites mentioned above. Any other suggestions for Utah and area? We are a family with two young boys...and a friendly, well- behaved, but marginalized German Shepherd!
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: Utah National Parks

ddevin, I was actually surprised to find from you that dogs are not allowed in National Parks. Apparently, that is correct most places. If you are going to Zion, however, there is a trail there that allows dogs which I will assume is still the case. There are supposedly trails at the Grand Canyon that do as well as at some other parks so you might ask about such places at a park station.

By the way, the U.S. has at least a dozen times the dogs that Canada does. We are dog lovers but, frankly, I find other people's dogs a nuisance. I have had them running at me in parks where I can't tell if the dog is going to bite or what. Dogs attack other dogs (while on leashes). One thing many dog owners cannot understand is that their dogs are often friendly only to their family members but will bite others right after the "Don't worry, he won't hurt you..." I am sure you have wonderful dogs but many are not that way. You might appreciate them being banned if you had been bitten a time or two as we have.

You can no doubt find a few dog-friendly trails if you ask around. They are not banned everywhere at every National Park. Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:38 PM   #12
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Re: Utah National Parks

Yes, we have been on the token trail in Zion. Frankly, it was pathetic! This was actually where we were first told about this flawed policy. We traveled thousands of kilometers (sorry, miles ) to experience the grandeur of Zion with our family (yes,our dog is part of our family), to find out that we could not leave the road. Having recently visited many American National Parks (we love the states!), I can tell you that dog friendly trails are rare. I am actually quite open minded, and I do understand your views. It is simply unacceptable to have a dog that is not controlled and is aggressive to other dogs or people. But it is also unacceptable to create a policy that penalizes responsible dog families. I, and many others don't appreciate the sound of generators in a National Park, but I do not expect them to be banned, just regulated in a reasonable way that respects all. For every person who shares your views, there is a responsible dog owner who is not allowed to have equal access to these natural wonders. Hence the flaw in the policy. Yes, I may understand your views if I had been bitten by dogs while on trails. And you may understand my views if you had been forced to sit in a car for hours with a beautiful, noble German Shepherd while your family hiked! Good trading perspectives with you-peace out!
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:35 AM   #13
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Re: Utah National Parks

ddevin, we were used to having pets, not only one as you have. So maybe this is not a good idea for you, but we hired pet-sitters to take care of the pets at home (never put a pet at a kennel). Can't leave one animal alone much though. If you only have one, you would almost have to have a live-in person as we sometimes did when on an extended trip. Yes, it cost us a bundle. Animals are often difficult to have with you when travelling and the no-dog parks are only one reason. We consider pets to be family members, too, but not necessarily for travel as that can cause them too much stress. I remember travelling everywhere with my first dog but soon realized that that was not going to work with other pets.

If you can't bear to leave your family member home, you might look at whatever sources you can find for the dog-friendly places. You do not have to go to the ones that do not allow dogs because I assure you that there are far more places to see that allow dogs which are very worth visiting. If you locate those and focus on them, I have no doubt you will still have great trips.

It is really not an acceptable option for you to stay in the car while the family goes hiking because the dog probably needs the exercise and maybe you do, too. I would suggest that you simply avoid the National Parks and try places on the coast or other interesting areas instead. There is no end to the possible destinations besides National Parks.

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Old 10-07-2012, 12:10 PM   #14
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Re: Utah National Parks

Leaving our boy at home while on a camping/hiking trip is not an option! We do focus on State Parks and BLM sites, we just also do love the National Parks. I assure you our dog is not stressed at all while on these trips. While traveling in our Escape we are living the life!
You are right Floating Cloud, there is no end in places to go - I just had to make my point!

I apologize for highjacking this thread and turning it into a discussion of traveling with dogs-my bad! Back to the topic of parks in Utah, thanks to Holo, we now have our next trip planned. In between my rants on dogs we have been researching the area, and will be spending four nights in Kodachrome (dog friendly), then down to the south rim of the Grand Canyon-thanks Cathy for pointing out that this park also has dog trails. Cheers!


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Old 03-17-2013, 11:51 AM   #15
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Interesting to see how this thread impacted our plans. We started thinking about Utah, and sure enough, headed down for a road trip in December/January. We had to go fast and light, so left our poor, snow covered Escape at home. We rented one of the little cabins in Kodachrome State Park, and had a great time hiking right from our door each day. Bryce Canyon was only a half hour drive away, and was a real highlight. It was snowy, but still good hiking. We then visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The canyon is beyond words, but so were the crowds, even in December. We then headed to Valley of Fire State
Park near Lake Mead, Nevada. This was also amazing, and much warmer than Utah in December. We did a final brief stop in Zion, then back to Alberta!
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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Valley of Fire state park is one of my favorites. I spent a week there in May, 2011. For those considering the park, it was hot in May, but some sites at Atlatl Rock campground have water & electric as well as hot showers.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:36 PM   #17
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Cedar Breaks National Monument is like a miniature Bryce that you look down on from above. However, there are no trails that run through the canyon, at least there weren't any when we were there many years ago. The Kolob section of Zion is a great place to visit, especially if you take one of the trails between the canyon fingers. It isn't nearly as visited as is the main Zion area, but still spectacular. Oh, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park is absolutely gorgeous.
In North Utah the climb up Mount Timpanogos in the Provo area is a great adventure and the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway is a spectacular drive.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #18
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I've been focusing so much on figuring out trailer options, etc., that it's nice to think about the actual camping --- We spent two weeks in Zion a few years ago around Memorial Day -- we camped on the Virgin River and it was flowing fast at that time (a friend who camped one year in August said that by then it had dried up) so we went to the supermarket across the bridge and bought tubes, and every day after hiking the trails we floated down the river. It was so much fun! The shuttle buses were great for a big family. We sometimes went in five different directions and didn't have to coordinate cars. We also spent several days in Arches, which was a totally different experience -- we were 19 miles from town or any kind of store and the sites were relatively big -- I don't think we could see other campers from our tents or picnic table -- it was hard at times in the heat, but I kind of like succumbing to the demands of weather -- we rested midday --
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:52 PM   #19
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I agree, the better solution would be to limit access of dogs. A complete ban is overkill, people cause many more problems than good dogs. I use to have a goal of visiting every NP, no longer, I will not leave my dog behind, she adds too much joy to every trip.

I am not a current Escape owner, but plan to buy following my retirement at the end of this year, most likely the 19, but the 21 looks very inviting.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holo View Post
We just ended a 4 week trip, most of it in Utah. Our favorite by far is Capitol Reef NP. It's a smallish park but has loads of hiking and a great scenic drive. The campground is on a first-come first-serve basis but there were spaces until mid-afternoon. There are no hookups but water is available, the restrooms are clean but (no showers), and there is a sanidump. The scenery is just awesome and if you like geology it is fantastic.

We also found the North Rim Grand Canyon, Arizona, a great place. Of course, the canyon is grand and the campground was very pleasant. If you can, reserve a site on the edges of the campground. Some have views of the canyon and others abut a ravine. Showers are $1.50 and the restrooms are clean. The whole area is forested and right now the aspens are golden. Very beautiful.
We too found Capitol Reef to be our favorite in our trip last October. While we were there the Capitol Reef campground filled up every day by early afternoon, but many people left every morning. So get there in the AM and sites should be open. We found the hiking at Capitol Reef very enjoyable and varied.

Our other 2 parks for this trip, Zion and Bryce Canyon were both very crowded. There were multiple tour buses at most Bryce overlooks. The trail into the famous Narrows of Zion looked like a crowded downtown city sidewalk. A friendly ranger at Zion gave us two tips on avoiding the crowds there, take the unmarked trail that follows the river from the top down and take the drive over to hike around the Lava Point Overlook area - where we were lucky enough to see Condors.

We thought that going in October would make for less crowding, but the ranger at Capitol Reef said that October may now be one of the most crowded times -- due to all of us Baby Boomers traveling then.
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