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Tail Waggin' Hikes & Trails

Who is excited for the summer heat that has arrived in Utah? With so much time spent indoors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it isn't surprising that people are looking for outdoor activities that allow for social distancing requirements and full fledged fun with their pup pals. Hiking & nature walks provide excellent opportunities to get out of the house, stretch those legs, and have an enjoyable time with family and pets. There are many resources to check out for the best pet friendly trails in Utah, and we have rounded up some interesting and unique finds that allow your doggo to accompany you. Check out the links at the bottom of the post for more information!


Often times, the simplest tips for bringing your dog to parks and wilderness are overlooked. You want to have a great time with your pup, and you also want to make sure other visitors do too. Consider the following tips to make the most out of your time:

1. Remember to bring a leash,

2. Remember to bring bags to pick up after your pet (and dispose of solid waste in appropriate containers).

3. Not all water sources are good for drinking, which is a good reason for you to bring water for both you and your pet.

4. Good etiquette also means that humans should consider that excessive barking or overly zealous greetings by their buddies will not be welcome by everyone.

5. Dogs must be on-leash in Utah parks. Owners may let dogs run free in many areas of national forest and BLM land, though not in campgrounds. Regardless, chasing wildlife is both a danger to the pet and owner, can stress wildlife, and could endanger the animals. Dogs can also bring wildlife back to their owner when they return, which may threaten the owner with a wildlife encounter. Keep your dog leashed if you're not sure, especially if the terrain is new or your dog is not under your vocal control.

6. If you’re visiting a park during the warm months and want to hit a trail where your pal isn’t allowed, keep in mind that car temperatures rise very quickly in the sun, even with windows cracked, and even on days that seem to be cool and overcast, leading to heat exhaustion and possible death. It is best not to leave pets in vehicles. Plan for a doggy daycare where your pup will have a great time and not be in danger of overheating.

The Best Dog Friendly Waterfalls Hikes in Utah:

The Award-Winning Blog "Girl on a Hike" follows hiking enthusiast Alicia, and her hiking companion, Charlie, a Golden Lab, on their outdoor adventures. She often posts comprehensive lists of dog-friendly hiking trails so that you don't have to research all over the web for them yourself. She also creates user friendly checklists for different types of hikes for you to use as a hiking bucket list! Below is the checklist for the best waterfall hikes in Utah. Like her style? Check out her blog


1. Mill Loop Trail in American Fork Canyon at Tibble Fork Reservoir

Located on SR-92, take I-15 Highland exit.

Distance: 4 miles including the parking lot

Duration: 3 hours

American Fork Canyon is about 30 miles from Salt Lake. Begin on the south side of the Reservoir, just across the overflow, and hike up a series of switchbacks with beautiful views of the canyon. You’ll reach a meadow with a beaver dam at the midpoint, then start a trek back down the mountain. Depending on the season, you’ll be surrounded by blankets of wildflowers, changing fall leaves, shrubs and wildlife on this loop. Several streams provide water for your pups, but plan on bringing at least a liter for yourself. Watch out for horseman, mountain bikers and dirt bikers that frequent the trail. Several other hikes, and dog-friendly camping and rock climbing sites, are available.

See a list of trails on the Forest

Service Website:

2. Big Water Trail in Mill Creek Canyon

3800 S. Wasatch Boulevard, Salt Lake City

Distance: 5 miles round trip

Duration: 3 hours

Visit this canyon on leash-free days (odd-numbered calendar days) and enjoy the benefit of not encountering mountain bikes (which are only allowed on even days). Big Water Trail is a great beginner/intermediate hike that can also be used to access Little Water Trail. Little Water is a bit more difficult than Big Water, but is a mile shorter round trip. This trail is nice for dogs because you don’t have to carry water in with you, they can slurp from the little streams and lake. Bring $3.00 for canyon usage fee.

3. Neff’s Canyon

4175 East 4245 South, Salt Lake City

Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip

Duration: 6 hours, or turn around anytime to shorten your trip

This is a relaxed off-leash hike, and is near Mill Creek Canyon. Bonus! This trail does not have a usage fee. Choose from several different paths and hike until you or your dogs are tired and ready to turn back. There are plenty of water stops for dogs to drink from. In winter, strap on snowshoes and enjoy the trails in a white wonderland. The most popular way to hike is staying to the left on the main walkway, but if you and your dogs prefer a challenge, cross to the right when you meet with the creek and follow the water up the canyon to the top of the mountain. This side is fairly short, but is a decent workout for you and your dogs.


4. Waterfall Canyon

Top of 29th Street, Ogden

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Duration: 2 hours

If you reside in Ogden, try Waterfall Canyon, a moderate hike with 1,500 feet elevation gain that’s accessible year-round. When on this trail, look ahead for mountain bikers, especially on blind corners. Pay attention to your footing, as there are a few slippery places and the second half gets fairly rocky. But the view of the valley from the top and the stunning 200-foot waterfall make this hike worthwhile. Bring plenty of water because the vertical incline is tiring.

Website: Waterfall Canyon Trail Map

5. Bristlecone Pine Trail

Located along Highway 14, about 18 miles east of Cedar City

Distance: .75 miles round trip

Duration: less than 1 hour

If you venture further south with your pooch, enjoy amazing views on this easy hike that takes you out to a viewing platform overlooking Zion National Park. Stop in to the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism office and pick up their Hike & Bike Guide and to learn about nearby fall colors trails.



1. Panorama Trail at Kodachrome Basin State Park

The 2,240-acre Kodachrome Basin State Park is known for its colorful orange cliffs and white, sand-pipe chimneys that inspired its name. This easy-to-moderate hike is one of six hiking trails in the park, and the only one more than a mile long. The nearly three-mile Panorama Trail is a loop with very slight changes in elevation along the way.

You can extend the hike an extra two-and-a-half miles if you add the Big Bear Geyser Trail.

2. Spring Creek Canyon Trail

If you have always wanted to explore a slot canyon with your dog, Spring Creek Canyon Trail is the perfect place to start. The hike itself is about two miles round trip. Although you can hike further up into the canyon, the terrain becomes more difficult since there are boulders and small dry falls blocking the path beyond a mile. Even though this a small slot canyon, you should still watch the weather. Flash floods are a real possibility in all slot canyons. Do not attempt this hike in the rain or if flash flooding is predicted.

3. Tom’s Canyon Trail

Explore a true box canyon on this easy hike with minimal elevation gain. Unlike a river canyon where rushing water carves into rock, a box canyon is formed primarily from much slower erosion due to weather and water seeping through the rock. In many cases, including Tom’s Canyon, there are weeping rocks in the canyon walls. The trail is about two miles round trip, and all but the last quarter-mile is open to horses.

Do you have any favorite hiking trails that you like to bring your dog to? Let us know in the comment section. Have fun out there!!

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