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Are Dogs Allowed in Arches National Park? 2023 Update

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 22, 2023
arches national park

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arches national park

With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, massive rock fins, and hundreds of pinnacles, the Arches National Park is a popular destination for outdoor activities. Most people who visit the park also bring their pets along, but the park has limited activities you can do with your dogs.

While the park recognizes the strong bond between pets and their owners, the official authorities regard it as a natural area whose purpose is to protect and preserve the natural environment, scenic beauty, wildlife, and cultural resources of the area.

That’s why no dogs other than service dogs are allowed on hiking trails, overlooks, or visitor centers. However, you can bring your dog along and keep them in the campgrounds. Let’s look at the park’s pet policy closely.

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Does Arches National Park Allow Dogs?

The Arches National Park allows service dogs everywhere in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The regulations for all other dogs and pets are as follows.

Allowed

  • In parking areas
  • Along established roads
  • In picnic areas
  • In established campgrounds

Not Allowed

  • At overlooks
  • On hiking trails, not even off-trail
  • In any building
  • In the visitor center

Do note that your dog should be leashed in these areas. You should not leave your dog unattended at the park unless you have a paid-for campsite in the park’s Devils Garden Campground.

Even here, you must ensure your dog does not cause disturbance to other campers or wildlife. You should also not leave your pet inside a vehicle in hot weather as the temperature inside cars can become dangerously high. Air temperatures of 65°F/18°C or higher can be lethal to your dog while inside your vehicle.

shih tzu dog at the desert in arches national park
Image Credit: Hannah Kipersztok, Shutterstock

divider-pawWhy Can’t You Bring Your Dog on Trails in Arches National Park?

The Arches National Park lists four reasons your dogs are not allowed on trails.

Wildlife Behavior

The presence of a dog on a trail can alter the behavior of the park’s wildlife. Since dogs are predators, they can scare local wildlife. They may also transmit disease through saliva or dander.

Even their scent can disrupt the natural behavior and movement of animals in the park. Since the national park is already in a stressful environment (a desert), expending extra energy to avoid dogs can lead animals to become vulnerable to predators or other dangers.

Trail Damage

Dogs can cause irreversible damage on trails. For example, they can destroy natural resources, like desert soils and native plants.

Dogs are known to be curious. Your inquisitive little friend might disrupt sensitive archeological and cultural sites in the park.

trail sign in arches national park
Image Credit: Camille Couvez, Unsplash

Pet Safety

Arches National Park considers pet safety to be one of its top priorities. The harsh desert environment has many hazards for dogs on trails, such as cliff edges and sharp rocks. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, and other animals are also present on these trails that can injure your dog.

The park officials also warn that your dog may become prey for mountain lions and coyotes if they steer in the wrong direction.

Visitor Safety

Not all other visitors to the park are comfortable around dogs. Some people are anxious in the presence of dogs, while others may be scared.

Even if your pet is well-behaved and follows your commands, other visitors do not know this. So, they feel uneasy walking close to dogs on hiking trails.

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Regulations for Dogs in Arches National Park

If you plan to take your dog to Arches National Park, you must follow these rules set by the park:

  • Your dog must be leashed at all times. If your disability does not allow you to leash your dog physically, you must use voice commands or signals to control your pet.
  • The leash can be a maximum of 1.8 meters or 6 feet long.
  • Your dog should not make excessive noise that disturbs other wildlife or visitors. You might be requested to leave the premises if your dog is a nuisance to other guests.
  • You must collect your pet’s excrement and dispose of them in the nearest trash area.
  • You cannot tie your dog to an object other than your vehicle. Leaving your dog unattended is prohibited in the park.
  • Pets cannot be led by lead or leash from a vehicle or bicycle.

Does Arches National Park Allow Service Dogs?

Yes, Arches National Park allows you to take your service dog everywhere onsite. Service dog owners must also comply with pet restraint and waste regulations.

The Americans With Disabilities Act protects the rights of people with disabilities, and service dogs are one of them. Therefore, park personnel cannot deny entry or service to a visitor with a service animal.

Do note that Utah requires an updated rabies vaccine for all cats and dogs. Keep your dog’s vaccination documents with you when you visit the park.

man with disability with his service dog
Image Credit: 24K_Production, Shutterstock

Does Arches National Park Ask for Service Dog Documents?

The ADA prohibits public spaces and organizations from asking service dog owners for documentation. Arches National Park staff cannot ask you to show training or registration documents for your dog.

It’s also important to know that your dog does not need to be registered or licensed either. Some states may have voluntary registration programs for service dogs.

But Utah is not one of those states. Utah law says you may get professional service dog training for your pet, but it’s not mandatory. You have the right to train your service dog yourself.

What Can Arches National Park Ask About a Service Animal?

The Arches National Park staff can ask you two things about your service dog. First, they can inquire if the service animal is required due to a disability. Second, they can ask which task the dog does for you.

The task your service dog does must be related to your disability.

Here are some examples:

  • Guide Dogs: People with visual impairments use service dogs to navigate their environment. The dog leads its handler around obstacles and signals changes in elevation.
  • Mobility Assistance Dogs: These dogs perform tasks, like opening doors and retrieving objects, for people with physical disabilities.
  • Medical Alert Dogs: Such dogs detect changes in their handlers’ behavior or body odor to detect an oncoming medical event like a panic attack or seizure.
  • Hearing Dogs: These dogs work as service animals for deaf individuals. They may alert the handler to sounds like approaching people and alarms.

Park personnel cannot ask you for more information about your disability or inquire further into the nature and extent of your impairment. They can also not ask to see the dog perform the task they are trained to do.

Does Arches National Park Allow Support Dogs?

Arches National Park does not allow support, comfort, or therapy dogs. These animals are not considered service animals for the ADA.

Even if you have a note from your doctor stating that you need the animal for emotional support, the park will deny your dog entry to trails and other areas off-limits for non-service dogs.

divider-pawWhat Happens if You Violate Park Regulations?

If you violate Arches National Park’s pet regulations, one or more of the following can happen.

  • Citation: The park’s law enforcement personnel may issue you a citation for violating the pet policy. A regulation citation is an administrative action that goes on public records.
  • Removal: You may be asked to leave the premises if your dog is creating problems for other visitors or wildlife.
  • Fine: The citation often comes with a fine. You may have to pay the penalty for violating the park’s regulations. If your dog has caused damage to the park or any third party, you will be liable for those expenses too.
  • Mandatory Court Appearance: The park may require you to appear before a United States Magistrate Court. At your initial attendance, the judge may release you or give you a bond (monetary penalty) for any violations.

Pet-Friendly Locations Outside Arches National Park

Although pets are not allowed in hiking trails and some other areas inside the park, there are a few places outside it where you can do activities with your dog. Here are some of them.

  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • La Sal National Forest

You can also find plenty of pet-friendly hiking trails around the area. Most of them require you to put your dog on a leash. But if you want to unleash your park, Moab’s Bark Park is a good alternative to the Arches National Park.

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Conclusion

Like many other national parks across the country, Arches National Park also does not allow dogs on hiking trails and at overlooks. You can keep your dog in the parking, picnic, or campground areas.

Dogs are prohibited on hiking trails and public-filled areas to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. As for service dogs, they are allowed everywhere.

Remember that emotional support and therapy dogs are not service animals. Your service animals must perform tasks related to your disability and should be under your control at all times in the park.


Featured Image Credit: webpascal, Pixabay

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