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Newly Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim Arizona

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim

“Just take the photo. Don’t take it in manual. Everyone tries to take photos in manual and they end up with a bunch of fuzzy photos”

This guy became my hero as I walked past him.  He was standing near the rim of the Grand Canyon chirping at his friend holding a fancy DSLR, who had obviously become offended. But lets also be honest, how many of those people toting around DSLRs actually know how to work them? Probably fewer then what you see. The chirpper had a point, no one wants fuzzy photos. And how often are you standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon? Unless you are a Grand Canyon park ranger, probably not often. So why risk a fuzzy photo?

The last time I was at the Grand Canyon, back in 2010, it was not dog friendly. Things recently changed and for the better. Dogs are now allowed on trails above the rim. Unfortunately this rule change had just happened and it was obvious that few knew about it. I received several side eyes from people as my dogs and I walked by them. There was even a comment from two young girls as they passed by my dogs; the first girl spouted off “I hate dogs” and her friend responded “me too”.

First of all, how the hell do you hate dogs? I can see maybe not liking them, but hating them? What the eff is wrong with you? How can you hate something that is probably the most good natured creature in the world? I won’t repeat what I whispered to Boomer and Jovi as we passed by the two girls, there may be children reading.  Boomer and Jovi didn’t let the comment get them down. They do not understand much English other than the word “treats”. Although Boomer does knows the term “heart to heart”, where I sit on the floor and I say “heart to heart” to him and he snuggles in, putting his heart to mine. Seriously, how could anyone hate a dog when they do things like that?

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
The far off vistas of the Grand Canyon

The dogs and I were visiting the south rim, as from both research online and from a friend who has been to both North and South Rims, the South was the best rim to visit. When I visited the Grand Canyon in 2010, I went to the West Rim. The West Rim is not actually part of the National Park, but the Hualapi Indian Reservation. Although not owned by the National Park Service there is not much of a difference. The Grand Canyon is still a large crevasse regardless of who owns the land.

The West Rim does have a leg up if you like all things daring. They have the Sky Walk, a glass U shaped bridge that allows you to stand out over the side of the rim. The bridge is to give you the feeling of floating over the canyon. I passed on doing the Sky Walk during my previous visit as I felt I could see everything I would standing on the glass. The additional fee, around $50 USD, for the experience also deterred me as well. You are also not allowed to bring your camera or any personal belongings with you out onto the sky walk. You are of course welcome to purchase professional photos taken by their staff for an additional fee.

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
Grand View Point

And while the West Rim has the sky walk, I will take a dog friendly spot over anything else. Our first stop inside Grand Canyon National Park was the Desert View Watchtower. This is where we received the most side eye from visitors. Although I knew dogs were allowed, people still felt the need to give us a double take. Or maybe they were just taking a second look because they had never seen such stunning dogs before. Boomer is quite the looker and Jovi is of course adorable.

We walked around the heavily populated lookout, however avoided the most populated area, the Watchtower itself. Dogs were not allowed inside and as one who travels alone with dogs sometimes I have to be a good pet parent and skip certain activities. Tying up the dogs outside while I popped into the Watchtower probably would not have sat well with the already suspicious park goers.

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
Jovi and Boomer waiting for their walk along the Rim Trail

Our next stop was the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. I left the dogs in the car, don’t worry it was only 50 degrees outside (10C). For some reason, and a bit of luck, our entire spring trip was really cold.  The low temperatures really helped out if the dogs did need to be left in the car.

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
The never camera ready duo: Boomer and Jovi

I walked through the village and found the Rim Trail. The visitor center was much more dog friendly and there was less side eye given here. I snapped a few photos of the canyon before I grabbed the dogs for their walk along the rim trail. I do this often when weather permits it, taking photos without the dogs and coming back for them later. If you have ever tried to take a sharp photo while holding on to two dogs who are excited about life you will know that it is difficult. Throw in the fact that you are standing on the rim of canyon, you don’t want to see that struggle. Back to my point, no one likes fuzzy photos.

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
Desert Viewpoint

The Rim Trail leads out to Hermits Rest. Hermits Rest is about 9.5 miles from the visitor center (15.2 km) with a trail that traces along the rim of the canyon. This was further than we had time for but we did make it to Yavapai Point, about 1 mile from the visitor center (1.6 km).

You can also take a bus out to Hermits Rest if you do not have canine companions with you. The red line bus ride takes about 80 minutes without getting off the bus during the summer months. There are 9 stops on the way out and 4 stops on the way back. The bus ride is included with your park entrance fee. Walking or taking the bus are your only options if you want to see Hermits Rest during the summer months. The road is open to private vehicles during the winter months (December – February).

Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim
The Colorado River weaving through the Grand Canyon

The Rim Trail is fairly flat and paved, which makes for an easy walk. Along the trail there are viewpoints, some of which have stairs that lead down to the point. While walking down the stairs I came to the realization that in addition to myself, Boomer and Jovi could benefit from some dog training. This dog training realization came from me almost being pulled down the stairs as we made our way out to the different viewpoints. It is even more embarrassing for me considering part of my actual job is to walk dogs for a living.

My dogs are excited about exploring and I can not blame them. However their excitement should not result in potential injury, which ironically did happen later in our spring trip. Boomer is my biggest offender when it comes to misbehaving so he and I have enrolled in a basic obedience class. He is the oldest dog in class, at almost 7 years old, but I am hoping he can prove to everyone that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Overall our visit to the dog friendly Grand Canyon South Rim was a success.  Boomer and Jovi were both able to stretch their legs along the top of the rim of the canyon and I could enjoy my visit with both of my dogs.  I am excited that the National Park Service is loosening up the restrictions on dogs in the parks that they feel they can.

Pet restrictions are understandable in parks such as Yellowstone and Glacier.  Bison, bears and moose are all good reasons to not allow dogs to roam.  Although the no dogs allowed rule is difficult for people like me who travel with their pets.  But for the safety of the wildlife, our pets and us, the pet owner, these rules have to be in place.  No one wants to read the heart breaking story about how Fluffy got skewered by a bison.  Am I right?

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Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim

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4 replies on “Newly Dog Friendly Grand Canyon South Rim Arizona”

You are my hero. my bf and I are planning a road trip around the US next year with our dog Rocko 🙂 Will be referring to all of your blog posts!
PS” hey, Boomer and Jovi, “I hate kids” 😉

Sounds like a great time! It is so rewarding to take your dog on trips and have them experience it with you! I hope to one day take Boomer and Jovi on a cross USA tour 🙂

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