Barking in Bryce
By Shannon & Joel MB \
Barking in Bryce? Actually, there was no barking involved, but we did want to share our experience with our two pups at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Earlier this month (March 2022) we set off on a two week road trip. I can’t say staying in a National Park with the pups was on our first order of travel – mainly because of the limitations National Parks often set on dogs and we wanted to be able to adventure with them. In fact, what brought us to Bryce was the need for gas and having to head south versus north to find a gas station. And well, why then should we retrace our path when we could instead drive through Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce – on our way to California – and stay over in our newly post gas fill-up researched boondocking site for the night? ; ) Well, that nicely researched site no where said there was a winter closure on the road. So we definitely had a moment when we pulled up as the sun was setting and saw that sign – a very sad, tired, road weary moment. Where to then? Enter Bryce, about 30 min away with one loop of one of their campgrounds open year round on a first-come, first-served basis. Literally the only campground or boondocking spot open for miles. And I mean miles. Pretty sure we all crossed our fingers and paws that we would be able to find a spot. I may have held my breath.
Thirty minutes later we were thankfully pulling into a spot. All happy to have a place to stop and rest for the night – even if we thought that the pawed crew could only travel on leash on the pavement in the campground. Oh, and the last reason that I have yet to mention, as to why we were all so relieved to have found a spot somewhere for the night, is that there was a looming snow storm moving in and pending watching the weather closely we knew there may be a need to hunker down for an extra day and wait out the storm.
We woke up to snow. We paid for another night and hunkered down for the day. While held up inside staying warm and cozy we were able to do a little research on dogs in Bryce. And what we found out was that dogs can do quite a lot in Bryce (compared to many National Parks we have visited).
And though, the paws could only hit the pavement on leash which is similar to other parks, there was more pavement to hit in Bryce! A portion of the Rim Trail between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point is paved – allowing both you and your pups to enjoy a beautiful vista of hoodoos. In addition, there is a paved shared use path between the park entrance and Inspiration Point. Giving you and your pups additional ground to cover!
With this information we were quite excited to be able to go explore as a family. When the weather broke for a moment we quickly layered up (it was in the teens) and left the campground with the pups. From our Loop A in the North Campground we were able to walk to the Shared Use Trail and then enjoy the amazing views of the hoodoos between Sunrise and Sunset Points. The access we had with the pups was perfect for the time we had to explore during the break in the storm. Just as we were finishing our walk and taking photos (so many photos) the clouds moved in and the vista was literally gone right before our eyes. As an aside, if there is anyway you can plan the weather and see Bryce Canyon after snow has fallen, we highly recommend it ; )
We headed out the following day. This 36 hr visit with the pups in Bryce Canyon was perfect for us. And we would recommend definitely visiting with your pups if this is the extent of the canyon that you would like to explore. But if staying for a longer period of time and you would like to explore the dirt trails then it would be best to leave the pups at home as they are not allowed to be left unattended in the park at anytime. We love adventuring with our pups (as you will see) and when road-tripping with them, we are very happy to drive through a park and then enjoy adventures where they are freer to roam with us. We are always happy to share our more pup friendly locations if you are curious – feel free to message us on the pups Instagram page should you have any questions! We will also try and write about those spots too!
Bryce for us was the perfect spot to be snowed in and we enjoyed the extended paved trails that this park allowed us to bring the pups on. These road weary travelers were so thankful to have found a spot to weather the storm. And despite the increased cost compared to boondocking, we have no complaints. I actually think it somehow worked out perfectly.