There are hundreds of places in the great American West where you and your entire family, including your dog, can go to have the times of your life. Part 1 of this series covered Arizona through Montana; now let’s talk about Nevada through Wyoming.
Believe it or not, if your dog weighs 25 pounds or less, there’s a pet-friendly hotel right on the Las Vegas Strip! The Cosmopolitan not only provides a dog bowl and treats, it also offers dog sitting and walking services. Las Vegas gets very hot in the summer; sidewalks, parking lots, etc. are hot enough to burn your dog’s feet. Bring along some mesh dog sandals or disposable dog booties. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for even short outdoor walks. This one holds 24 ounces and its detachable bottom piece becomes an 8-ounce water bowl.
In Carson City, the Toiyabe National Forest allows leashed dogs on its hiking trails. At Washoe Lake State Park you can hike, horseback ride, mountain bike, picnic, windsurf, water and jet ski, and fish. There’s also a pet-friendly RV park and several campgrounds. Carson City also gets very hot in the summer. Its sands can burn your dog’s feet just as quickly as the Las Vegas sidewalks and pavements.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park allows leashed dogs on the grounds, but not in the cave, the visitor center, off-road, on the trails, or at the bat flight. There is a day kennel that takes dogs on a first-come-first-served basis and provides them with water, but you'll need to bring whatever food and bedding you think your dog will require the day you're there.
In Albuquerque, the ABQ Trolley Company welcomes leashed and well-behaved dogs on the 85-minute open-air trolley tours around the city. The tours start at Historic Old Town where you can walk your leashed dog throughout the area. There also are several off-lead dog parks in Albuquerque, but be sure and bring water for your dog since most of them don’t have a pet fountain. Petroglyph National Monument allows leashed dogs everywhere except in public buildings and Boca Negra Canyon.
Santa Fe has two off-lead dog parks. The Animal Shelter Dog Park is fenced; Las Cruses Dog Park is not. Ned Houk Memorial Park in Clovis welcomes leashed dogs. There also are miles of walking and hiking paths, as well as several dog-friendly spa hotels.
Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond was an active coastal fort from the Civil War to the end of World War II. Today you and your leashed dog can see Battery Russell that was in the line of fire from a WWII Japanese submarine; Battery Mishler, the underground command post for the Columbia River forts; and the ongoing reconstruction of the Civil War earthworks. The park offers camping and RV facilities and presents numerous Living History events, including the annual Civil War reenactment.
At Oswald West State Park on Arch Cape you and your leashed dog can fish, picnic, walk along the beach, or hike some or all of the 13-mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trial that runs through the park. If you’d rather dig for razor clams, head over to Agate Beach State Recreation Site in Newport. McVay Rock State Recreation Site in Brookings offers surf fishing, clamming, whale walking, picnicking, and beach access. It also has its own off-lead dog park.
If it’s sand dunes that you’d prefer, don’t miss Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in Florence. Not only can you and your leashed dog see 40 miles of amazing wind-sculptured dunes, there are also beaches, hiking, paddling, camping, picnicking, and great birding.
Utah is home to five – count ‘em, FIVE – incredible National Parks, each one magnificent in its own unique way. All of them welcome leashed dogs in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along scenic drives with overlooks and pullouts, but not in the visitor centers, on hiking trails, or in backcountry.
· Arches National Park - over 2,000 natural sandstone arches like Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch, and spectacular rock formations like Balanced Rock.
· Bryce Canyon National Park - hundreds of red hoodoos, spire-shaped rock formations.
· Canyonlands National Park - gorgeous canyons, scenic drives, hiking, and the amazing Island in the Sky, a sheer-walled red rock mesa rising more than 1,000 feet above some of its surrounding area.
· Capitol Reef National Park - golden sandstone arches and incredible rock formations with such unique names as Upper Muley Twist, Gifford Homestead, Goosenecks, Chimney Rock, and Cathedral Valley.
· Zion National Park - steep red cliffs, forest trails, and the Emerald Pools area with breathtaking waterfalls, hanging gardens, and the Zion Narrows, a “wading hike.”
Orcas Island features on-lead hiking in Turtleback Mountain Preserve, swimming at North Beach, and a huge off-lead dog park at Eastsound, including ferry rides where your dog rides for free. The West Beach Resort welcomes dogs in its cabins.
In Seattle, the Warren Magnuson Dog Park has nine acres of fenced off-lead space with beautiful scenery, a shoreline trail, designated area for small dogs, and even a dog washing station. Dogs have the run of the beach in Long Beach, Washington, and are welcome on the boardwalk and Discovery Trail if leashed. And your leashed dog will love the Freemont Sunday Ice Cream Cruise!
There are numerous dog-friendly wineries in Yakima Valley Wine Country, including one named Spoiled Dog Winery. For winter fun with your large dog, try skiing or snowshoeing on the Mount Baker/Methow Area trails. You probably will see dogsled teams that might give him an idea for a whole new career!
Yellowstone National Park welcomes dogs on six-foot leashes at the frontcountry campground, but not on boardwalks, trails, or in the backcountry. However, there are many dog-friendly trails in the nearby Shoshone National Forest.
Your whole family, including your dog, will love dressing up in Wild West costumes and having your photo taken at the Red Velvet Swing Old Time Photos in Jackson. Cody Wyoming Adventures in Cody offers dog-friendly outdoor adventures and tours in Red River Canyon (including a wild mustang tour), a photo tour of Yellowstone, and rafting, kayaking and other kinds of water sports.
So get going – Mother Nature is calling you, your family, and your dog to the Great American West. Answer her call!