Utah is home to five national parks, but when it comes to dog-friendly campgrounds, you might want to try elsewhere. Technically, dogs are allowed in Utah’s national parks, but there are pretty serious restrictions in place. Most hiking trails are off-limits, and so are many of the national park campgrounds. When it comes down to it, exploring Utah’s national parks is something best done without your pup.

These rules are in place for the safety of the environment, the local wildlife, and your dog, but that doesn’t make it easier to look into those puppy dog eyes and say Sorry, you can’t come.

The good news is that you don’t have to leave them behind to go camping in Utah. Pets are allowed in over 40 of Utah’s state parks, provided you keep them on a leash that’s no more than six feet long. For the most part, dogs are also allowed to hike on public land in Utah, as long as they stay under your control.

Dog-Friendly Campgrounds in Utah

Check out these six dog-friendly campgrounds in Utah, so both you and your pup can explore the red desert landscape and forested mountains of this stunning state.

1. Mirror Lake Campground

Mirror Lake Campground is in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 75 miles east of Salt Lake City. Dogs are allowed on the 2.8 mile trail around the lake and you’re within easy access of trails that lead to the popular Highline Trail.

“Mirror lake is the most popular campground in all of the Uintas so the spots go super fast as soon as registration is opened! If you want solitude this is not the spot for you. I usually like to camp in the middle of nowhere, but this was a fun change.” —The Dyrt camper Rebecca J.

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2. Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park is a dog’s paradise, with tons of great trails to hike, like the Panorama Trail. Hit this 2.9 mile stretch in the spring for a dazzling display of wildflowers. Kodachrome is near Grosvenor Arch and Bryce Canyon National Park. Dogs are allowed on trails and around the park, but not in buildings.

“I was desperate for a shower so we packed up our camp and found this amazing campground with HOT showers that is in a very remote part of southern Utah in Kodachrome Basin State Park. There are 4 campgrounds in this State Park, we camped at the furthest one called Basin Campground. BEST views! This was an ultra clean campground!” —The Dyrt camper Carrie C.

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3. Red Canyon Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Colette K.

Dixie National Forest takes you into the mountains near Cedar City, and it has hundreds of miles of trails to explore. Take your dog for a hike through the Ponderosa Pines and pink limestone formations for some gorgeous views. Though Dixie is near Zion National Park, there’s one significant difference—you won’t have to contend with the crowds.

Red Canyon Campground sits among rolling hills of red sand, broken up by striking limestone formations. This area is arguably just as beautiful as the National Parks, but your dog can enjoy it, too.

“This is a great campground that can be accessed by vehicle or you can be adventurous and hike the 4 miles in on the Rim Trial. We chose to hike in and tent camp. The hike itself is a beautiful, easy hike.” —The Dyrt camper Tammy H.

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4. Sand Flats Recreation Area


Sand Flats Recreation Area is a hotspot for adventurous campers and their dogs. In the backcountry, as long as your dog is under verbal restraint, he’s good to go. Try the Grandstaff Canyon Trail or the Hunters Canyon Trail, but be careful when hiking on sandstone as your doggy’s paws may not be used to it!

“This is one of our favorite campgrounds. This loop has plenty of fun sites with immediate access to great views and fun terrain to explore. There is always plenty of room for our dogs to play and run around.” —The Dyrt camper Adam H.

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5. Watchman Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Collette M.

There’s one trail in all of Zion National Park that allows dogs, and that’s the Pa’rus Trail. You can access the 3.5 mile trail directly from Watchman Campground. Bonus: the dog-friendly Zion Canyon Brew Pub is also within walking distance.
“Had a fabulous trip to Zion with out 6 month old and 2 dogs. Cap sites had plenty of room. there were clean restrooms and plenty of space to wash dishes. Dogs loved it! there is only one trail that allows dogs, but it runs along the river and is a beautiful trail for jogging with the dogs and our little one.”—The Dyrt camper Amber R.

6. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Campground


Dogs are allowed throughout the park and on all trails, so you’ll have plenty of room to play. The walk from Coral Pink Sand Dunes Campground to the dunes is less than a mile away. Time your dune hike to coincide with sunset so you can watch as the sand takes on its famous pink hue.

“Upon arriving, check-in was easy with the Ranger at the welcome station. From there, it was a VERY short drive to the campsite. There was already wood stacked in front of our campsite for us to use, and the campground host drove by and introduced himself within 5 minutes of our arrival. The campground was clean, the bathrooms and showers were clean, and everyone was very friendly!” —The Dyrt camper Sarah R.

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7. Dead Horse Point State Park

 

Image from The Dyrt camper Kim K.

The land climbs 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, then stretches out in sprawling staircases of plateau at Dead Horse Point State Park. It feels like you can see to the end of the Earth, or to the end of some other planet, because this does not look like most of our own. Dogs are welcome to camp at Dead Horse State Park, but you’ll want to be mindful of heat. Your pup might not love the lack of shade in the heat of summer. But if you’re looking for a place to camp for the night, you’ll find the Utah night sky at its most brilliant — without the crowds of most national park campgrounds — right here.

“If you’re looking for a free place to camp in Moab, then this is your spot. These campsites are just outside Dead Horse Point State Park along Long Canyon Rd. You can either drive up 313 and turn on Long Canyon Rd, or take Pucker Pass up if you have a jeep. These campsites are on state land, which pretty much has no camping restrictions besides leave no trace.” — The Dyrt camper Karl G. 

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Are you heading to Utah with your four-legged camper? View this Saved Campground List of Dog-Friendly Campgrounds in Utah on The Dyrt, and start planning your camping trip! You can also start your own list and save your favorite campgrounds in one place.

Lauren Fitzpatrick

Lauren Fitzpatrick

Lauren has been a carny, fruit picker, teacher, and movie extra, but what she likes the most is seeing the world and writing about it. She recently spent 18 months traveling Australia in a camper trailer and is still disappointed that she didn't spot a single wombat. Read her writing at Lateral Movements