We love national parks. Unfortunately, they don’t love our dog. For some reason they think he’s a crazy wildlife terrorizing, poop dropping machine who can’t handle himself in the company of others. While this may be partially true (there was that one incident with a skunk back in Minnesota, although truthfully I think the skunk was the one doing the terrorizing), I can’t help but think that if they took the time to get to know our sweet old man dog, surely they would realize just how civilized he can be on a hiking trail. Alas, since this is unlikely to happen, the poor guy has to stay behind while we enjoy the national parks.
Fortunately here in Moab there are plenty of super dog friendly hiking options outside of the national parks. The best resource we’ve found for hiking with your pooch around Moab is this site: DiscoverMoab.com. We haven’t done all the trails listed on this site, but here’s our take on the ones we have hiked.
Negro Bill Canyon:
This is the ultimate dog hike. The easy 5 mile trail winds along the canyon bottom following, and in many cases crossing over, a shallow, fast moving river. Phineas enjoyed this hike so much that we did it twice.
The trail ends at the Morning Glory Bridge. This bridge spans the back of the canyon, with only a narrow separation from the rock wall behind it. From a distance it doesn’t look very spectacular, but up close and from below it’s a pretty impressive sight.
Moab Rim Trail:
This is a trail shared by hikers, bikers and 4×4 vehicles. We’re calling it dog friendly even though Phineas stayed home for this one. At 13 years-young his little legs simply can’t handle a hike of this length and difficulty anymore. Younger dogs would probably love this hike though. We only saw one pair of mountain bikers and one group of ATVs, which leads me to believe that it’s not a high traffic area where you need to worry about you or your dog getting run over by over zealous thrill seekers. There are a couple different variations to the trail, but the route we took clocked in at eight-miles round trip. This is one of those trails that starts off strong- really strong. The first one-mile is a thigh burning climb up steep slickrock that gains 900 feet of elevation.
After the exhausting climb we were rewarded with a view of the Moab Valley and Arches N.P. way off in the distance to the north.
The trail left the rim and headed south, rolling up and down the slickrock and dirt tracks offering amazing views in all directions.
In many areas the rocks were stained black from the countless 4×4 tires that have struggled up and down this arduous track.
A final steep section of loose, jagged rocks brought us to a rocky outcropping with another awesome view of the Moab Valley and the La Sal Mountains to the south.
An easy hike to a really impressive arch that rivals any of the ones you see in the national park. The Corona Arch is huge. It measuring 140-feet tall with a 105-foot opening. Part of what makes this arch special is the stunning surrounding landscape.
Once again Phineas did not get to join us on this hike. While it’s a short one, only three- miles round trip, there is one section with a ladder and another steep climb with cables that we didn’t think he could handle. We saw quite a few other dogs on the trail though and I watched one young pup scamper up the steep rock next to the ladder with ease.
Don’t let this picture full of people scare you away from this hike. I am sure it’s a popular one, but on the day we went a school group of at least 50 kids also decided to make the trek to the arch. Without those kids we wouldn’t have seen more than 20 other hikers in total.
The hike to the arch is a very easy gradual climb across sandstone. I only took a few photos along the trail because our camera lens has been acting up lately, and after limping along for about a month now finally decided to stop focusing altogether. Luckily I was able to take some phone photos, but they don’t capture the scene nearly as well as a real camera.
Hunters Canyon Trail
Similar to the Negro Bill Trail, this hike follows along a canyon bottom winding alongside and crossing over a stream. With no steep sections or ladders to climb, Phineas was happy to join us on this hike. The trailhead is located at the Hunter Canyon BLM Campground on Kane Creek Rd. It’s a small campground with about a dozen tent sites. Half are walk up sites tucked back in the canyon alongside the river. Back in our tenting days we would have loved this campground!
The trail is an easy four-mile trek through the canyon. At times we ducked under rocks…
Stopped for a quick swim…
Enjoyed the view…
Passed cool rock formations…
And spotted a cactus in bloom!
The end of the trail is rather anti-climatic. There’s no big arch, natural bridge or grand view. After about two-miles the brush thickens, the boulders grow too large to scramble over, and the trail ends. From here we turned around and headed back. This was a great trail for dogs and kids with lots of water access and really easy terrain.
So there you are, four dog friendly hikes in Moab.