If you know us or have been reading our posts — you should know by now that this is kind of our mantra: We love traveling with our dogs and plan our adventures around them! Recently, we highlighted our favorite dog adventures in Utah. This month, we’re covering Arizona RV adventures with dogs!
Read on to see what stops you and your dogs can enjoy in the Grand Canyon state.
Cue the Eagles! “Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see…” This is a must-stop if you’re in the area. Lily preferred “sitting on the corner,” but do what feels best when you get there!
The famous song plays loudly throughout the park, making this a really fun quick stop.
Petrified Forest National Park
With the word PET literally in its name, the Petrified Forest is one of our favorite, truly pet-friendly destinations. Pets can go anywhere you can go (except in buildings). This park also participates in the BARK Ranger program. Make sure you ask about it when you visit! Lily & Mushy were very proud of becoming BARK Rangers in Washington and highly recommend it.
The Desert Bar
A solar-powered, off-grid bar in the Arizona desert? You heard that right! Welcome to The Desert Bar in Parker, Arizona. This impressive establishment is open on weekends only from October to April. They have live music and DJs — and several food options — oh, and alcohol! It’s popular and can get crowded. Families, children, and dogs are welcome. Cash only — so come prepared!
Getting out there is an adventure in itself. You’ll be more comfortable in a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, but we did see a few sedans make it all the way. The road in is otherwise good enough condition but has random rocks from the size of a fist to a football, and you can’t drive around all of them.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
If this looks familiar to you, it’s because we recently did an in-depth post about our visit here! This stunning canyon in northeastern Arizona is way less crowded than the Grand Canyon, and dogs are allowed at many overlooks.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
A bit off the beaten path but worth the trip! We visited Organ Pipe in 2018 and were able to combine their three dog-friendly trails, which totaled 3.5 miles.
From our previous experience, we suggest wearing the pups out with that first and then driving the Ajo Mountain Drive loop. Keep in mind pets can’t get out of the car on that loop, which takes roughly two hours to complete. Ask about current conditions at the visitor center before you begin. We felt that combining the hike with the drive was a great day trip, and we loved that the dogs got to join. Plan your trip accordingly though. We went in February when the temperatures allowed the dogs to be comfortable.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Do you like boondocking? If so, you’ll love visiting the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge off State Highway 95 between Yuma and Quartzsite. This epic boondocking spot has killer views and a short little hike to a desert oasis: Palm Canyon. We visited in 2018 and the dogs loved it.
See that road going up into the canyon? That’s the Palm Canyon hike trailhead. I won’t post a photo here — so you can be surprised when you go! (Yes, there are palm trees up there believe it or not!)
Pro-tip: The cholla cactus here can be brutal for pups! Stay on the road and trails, or pick up a pair of booties to protect their paws.
Devil’s Bridge, Sedona
We only had one day to visit Sedona, which I’ll tell you now is not enough! We chose to do the very popular hike to Devil’s Bridge. An early start got us there before it got too hot or too busy. The hike isn’t very strenuous until the very end.
If you want to stand on top of the bridge, you have a little bit of rock scrambling to do. This was nothing we, or the dogs, couldn’t do — but it’s good to know that you can still see the bridge from below if you don’t want to do the scramble, or don’t like heights!
Once an old mining town known as the “wickedest town in the West,” Jerome is now a fun, little mountain town with a great artist community. These elements make it perfect for a dog-friendly day trip! Stand on a glass viewing platform over a 1918 mine shaft in Audrey Headframe Park, walk the town, and then grab a bite to eat on the dog-friendly patio of the Haunted Hamburger.
Ready for this? Dog-friendly, waterfront camping ON THE BEACH. Okay, okay. Technically it’s in Utah, but it’s right on the border of Arizona, and it’s a great place to stay if you’re visiting Page, AZ.
Does parking on a beach sound risky? Well, it kind of is! In fact, during our stay, we saw several rigs get pulled out of the sand by tow trucks. And the tow truck company’s phone number is posted at the entry kiosk. So keep that in mind!
We chose to unhook our toad (a very capable 4WD Jeep Wrangler) and go scouting before we dared to bring our 31,000-pound Class A onto the beach. Look for the hard-packed sand — that should keep you safe! It worked well for us. Alternately, there is a paved parking area on the bluff above the beach that will get you the same views without the risk.
While you’re in Page, you may want to visit the very Instagram-worthy Horseshoe Bend …if you and your dog can find a place in the parking lot. From what I’m hearing, it is often full. There is also a fee to park. At the time of this writing, passenger vehicles (car, truck, SUV, RV, motorhome) are charged $10. There is a shuttle from Page, but I’m not sure if they allow dogs. We were lucky enough to visit before these changes were implemented.
Another dog-friendly stop is the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook. Make sure to check out our Instagram post about a little-known sweet but heartbreaking tribute to dogs named Chico and Sadie.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park isn’t especially dog friendly, but since we were so close, we went anyway.
The good news? The usual NPS rules apply: dogs are allowed on paved trails and where cars are allowed. There are many very quiet dirt roads that made for a pleasant walk, and we were always surrounded by the saguaros. If you’re traveling with pets, this may not be worth its own trip, but it’s definitely worth a quick detour.
Grand Canyon National Park
Dogs can’t go into the canyon, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting! We spent two weeks at the South Rim in 2017, and Lily & Mushy had plenty to do. You can walk for miles along the rim and the greenway that goes all the way to the town of Tusayan.
Where to stay: There’s plenty of boondocking outside of the park, but because we had family visiting we chose to stay at the Grand Canyon Trailer Village. The park was walking distance to the rim and Mule Deer visited every evening.
Honorable Mention: Oatman
A tiny desert town tucked away in the hills with wild burros roaming the streets? Sounds adorable, right?! (It is!)
However, we’re classifying it as honorable mention because while it is dog-friendly, it’s kind of a two person operation. You don’t want to let your dog get too close to the burros (they can kick and injure dogs), so one of us held the dogs a safe distance away while the other person interacted with the burros.
We hope you get to explore many of these Arizona RV adventures with your dogs! Have you been to some already? Which one was your favorite? Which one is next on your list to visit? Let us know below in the comments!
Meet the Family
Ane and Tommi, F462447, of The Dog Is Driving love how RV life allows them to go on adventures. And they bring along their rescue dogs: Mushy and Lily Goodgirl. Full-timers since 2016, they share their experiences and review campsites through a pet-friendly lens on Instagram and TheDogisDriving.com.