The Grand Canyon is one of the top bucket-list destinations in the United States. No matter if you’re a local or visiting from overseas, you shouldn’t miss this stunning natural formation. And luckily, the answer to are dogs are allowed at the Grand Canyon, is yes!
This particularly applies at the South Rim, with the Grand Canyon National Park being a fairly dog-friendly national park. Read on to find out what you can and can’t do with a dog when visiting the Grand Canyon.
Dog-Friendly Things to do at the Grand Canyon
When visiting the Grand Canyon with your dog, make sure you tick off these dog-friendly things to do at the Grand Canyon.
1. Walk Along the Rim Trail
The best part of visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with your dog is that they are allowed on the South Rim Trail, an easy paved trail which stretches for nearly 13 miles along the southern edge of the canyon.
The trail starts 2.3 miles east of the main Visitor Center and Mather Point at the South Kaibab Trailhead, then extends 10.5 miles west of the Visitor Center all the way to Hermits Rest.
It would be a massive undertaking to walk the whole length of this trail with your dog and return along it in a day, although I’m sure some are up to it!
We ended up only walking a mile or two either side of Mather Point along it, stopping frequently for photos. We also returned to the trail late in the day to experience the changing colours at sunset.
Don’t forget that dogs must at all times stay on a leash no longer than 6-feet in length. Another short dog-friendly hiking trail is the one-mile walk to Shoshone Point along an old dirt road.
2. Drive to Desert View
I also recommend driving the 22 mile drive east of the main Visitor Center to Desert View, on the eastern edge of the park. The Desert View Drive stays open to private vehicles year round.
Along the way, stop at some or all the viewpoints along the drive: Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point and Navajo Point. Dogs are allowed at the paved lookouts.
At Desert View is the historic Watchtower, constructed in the 1930s. Naturally dogs are not allowed inside the building and up the watchtower. Instead, I recommend taking turns to head inside if you are visiting with someone else.
3. Catch the Sunset
If possible, stay until the end of the day to catch a glorious Grand Canyon sunset, along with your dog. If staying outside of the park, it’ll mean a drive back to your accommodation in the dark, but it’s worth it to see the beautiful colours at the canyon lights up as the sun sets.
One of the most popular sunset points in the park is Hopi Point. However, this point lies along Hermit Road and is only accessible most of the year by a shuttle bus (see more below), that doesn’t permit pets onboard. Instead, I recommend heading to Yavapai Point, near the main carpark.
Where Else Are Dogs Allowed at the Grand Canyon?
At the South Rim, dogs are also permitted on the Greenway Trail, which connects the the main Visitor Center, Market Plaza, Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan precincts. It’s a paved bicycle path more of a practical rather than sightseeing nature.
The North Rim unfortunately isn’t as dog-friendly as the South Rim. Leashed pets are only allowed on the Greenway Trail, also known as the Bridle Trail, that connects the North Kaibab Trail and the portion of the Arizona Trail north to the park entrance station. We didn’t have time to visit the North Rim.
What To Skip When Visiting with a Dog
If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon with your dog, unfortunately your dog cannot go below the rim. This rules out the more adventurous hiking trails at the Grand Canyon, including the popular Bright Angel Trail.
If you’ve got your heart set on undertaking one of these hikes, you should look into the Grand Canyon Kennel, see more details below.
Additionally, dogs are naturally not allowed on park shuttle buses. For most people this rules out visiting the lookouts west of the Grand Canyon Village, up to Hermits Rest, including the popular sunset spot of Hopi Point.
This is because from 1st March to 30th November it is not possible to drive west past the Village along Hermit Road in private vehicles, with access restricted just to park shuttle buses. It is of course also possible to hike to Hermits Rest, but this section of the Rim Trail measures 7.9-miles one-way, a total return trip of 15.8 miles!
It’s for this reason I recommend if you have limited time instead driving east to Desert View, where private vehicles are allowed on the road year round. Also, an alternative pet-friendly sunset spot is the more accessible Yavapai Point.
Using the Kennel at the Grand Canyon
While we didn’t make use of the Grand Canyon Kennel at the Grand Canyon, it’s a great option to have available and I’m sure many pet owners make use of it, whether for a one-day stay or overnight stays.
The Kennel is located on the South Rim near Maswik Lodge and is operated by Xanterra. The South Rim Kennel open from 7:30am to 5:00pm daily during peak season and reservations are recommended, especially during the summer months and holidays, by calling 928-638-0534. Note that proof of vaccination must be supplied.
Keeping Your Dog Safe at the Grand Canyon
Dogs in the Grand Canyon National Park are required to be on a leash no longer than 6-feet at all times. This is as much about their own safety as out of consideration to other visitors. (Some of those drops are huge!)
If visiting during the summer, make sure you keep at eye on the temperature. It’s better to only hike during the early morning and evening hours. Check the temperature of pavements that you’re walking on, especially if they’re not shaded.
Plus always take plenty of water for both yourself and your dog. I always recommend a collapsible water bowl.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation at the Grand Canyon
There’s a variety of dog-friendly accommodation options available when visiting the Grand Canyon, including some options within the national park at the South Rim, plus plenty of pet-friendly hotels in the nearby towns of Williams and Flagstaff.
Pet-Friendly Accommodation Near the South Rim
If you’re planning on staying right at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, there are a number of pet-friendly options. The most options are available if you’re planning on camping. Pet-friendly campgrounds at the Grand Canyon include Mather Campground, Desert View Campground and the Trailer Village, although pets need to remain on a leash.
If you’re wanting to stay in a pet-friendly lodge, your option are more limited, with Yavapai Lodge being the only in-park lodge that has pet-friendly rooms. Two pets are permitted per room, with an additional charge of $30 per night applying.
Note that pets are not permitted in any of the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges operated by Xanterra Travel, only service animals – pets are required to stay in the kennel, see above.
Pet-Friendly Accommodation in Williams & Flagstaff
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Alternatively, many visitors to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon stay in the nearby towns of Williams or Flagstaff. Flagstaff is the larger of the two, located 80 miles by road away, about a 90-minute drive.
Williams is slightly closer, being only 60 miles south, just over an hour’s drive. Both offer plenty of pet-friendly motels near the Grand Canyon.
As well as being one of the cheapest Motel 6 hotels we stayed in, it was by far one of the best, with a large room, access to a microwave in a downstairs lounge area and a very friendly receptionist. Like all Motel 6 hotels, dogs stay for free.
Williams was a great choice in general, with a hip vibe due to the historic buildings and signs from when it was located on the historic Route 66. We also visited the Grand Canyon Brewery and Distillery in town. Just note that dogs are only allowed outside, as food is also served.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.
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