Top 10 Pet-Friendly Destinations in the Southwest
Known for its arid climate, breathtaking views and unique landscapes, the Southwest is a must-visit region of the country. It also happens to be incredibly dog friendly. From Phoenix to Lake Tahoe, here are the Southwest’s best places to visit with your pet:
Phoenix is a sprawling desert metropolis that is home to plenty of pet-friendly attractions. Jodie Snyder, author of “Happy Dog Phoenix,” knows this well.
“For seven months of the year (October through April), we have very pleasant weather so you can walk, hike or run with your dog,” says Snyder. “You are never more than 30 minutes away from getting out into nature with your dog.”
Consider taking your dog to South Mountain, the largest municipal park in the country, and hike up to Dobbins Outlook to get one of the best views of the whole city.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar is one of the most stylish and dog-friendly hotels around. Guests can enjoy plush pet beds, food, water bowls and mats.
Then, grab a bite at Short Leash Hot Dogs, which has a dog-friendly patio where you can sample this spot’s signature gourmet hot dogs served on naan.
The Phoenix area is also home to one of the most notable dog parks in the country. The 17-acre Gilbert’s Cosmo Dog Park features a lake, four fenced areas, pet drinking fountains, two dog washing stations, and a play area.
With its famed red rocks and lush green trees, the city of Sedona’s dog park is an ideal spot to take your dog for a walk. Visitors can enjoy time under a shaded patio and sit on benches as they take in views of the city.
When it’s time to venture indoors, L’Auberge de Sedona is one of Sedona’s most luxurious properties that is also pet-friendly. Each guests stays in their own private cabin with a patio. When you arrive, you’ll get dog food, a dog bed and water bowls, and a goodie bag featuring toys, treats, and dog poop bags.
The Sky Ranch Lodge is another pet-friendly property that offers one of the best views in town. It’s also right by the popular Airport Loop Hike. After your hike, consider heading over to Creekside Sedona, a restaurant that serves modern American cuisine and where dogs are welcome on the patio.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Art-centric Santa Fe features iconic New Mexican scenes, like adobe buildings and lavender, and is very welcoming to dogs. The heart of Santa Fe is the Plaza, and mere steps from the Plaza is the boutique and pet-friendly Hotel Chimayo. The rooms feature Southwestern designs and earth tones, and the hotel has inner courtyard where you can walk your dog. The hotel is also surrounded by parks where dogs can sniff around.
For a unique souvenir, head to downtown’s Back at the Ranch where you can purchase custom-made cowboy boots featuring images of your dog. When it comes time to eat, bring your dog to the patio of The Shed, an iconic restaurant on Santa Fe’s Plaza that claims to make the city’s best and signature red chilies.
If you’re looking to exercise, hike to the Cross of the Martyrs to see the Santa Fe skyline and watch the sunset or sunrise with your pet in tow. The Santa Fe Humane Society also has a variety of dog parks that are all open from dawn until dusk to meet the needs of most dogs. The Community Dog Park is open to the public and provides dogs with seven acres to roam. Across the entrance drive is Samantha’s Park of Small Dogs, which is intended for dogs that weigh 30 pounds or less. If you dog isn’t the social type, the park also offers three other large dog parks that are reserved for single use. The Humane Society does ask that you limit your use to 30 minutes in the private areas if others are waiting.
Other pet friendly attractions include the art-gallery laden Canyon Road. Stroll down this crooked street lined with art and consider heading inside the Alexandra Stevens Gallery of Fine Art, a spot that offers custom dog portraits.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The largest city in New Mexico is home to 94 dog-friendly hotels on BringFido.com, according to its social media manager Lauren Greer.
“Our favorite is Hotel Andaluz, which includes a pet-friendly rooftop bar,” says Greer. A posh hotel with Spanish flair, the Andaluz is located downtown and welcomes dogs of all sizes.
Albuquerque is also packed with dog parks and some of the most notable ones include the fenced-in Skyline Dog Park, which offers sweeping vistas of the city’s mountains, and the off-leash North Domingo Baca Dog Park, which features a small and large dog areas, shaded areas and lighting for when it gets dark.
Additional pet-friendly attractions include the open-air ABQ Trolley tour and parts of Petroglyph National Monument—one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America that features symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers.
When you get hungry, visit Gecko’s Bar & Tapas, which has pet-friendly patios that supply dogs with water and a special treat. Owners can nosh on small plates and classic bar fare with a classic New Mexican twist, like the green chili cheese fries.
Park City, Utah
Nicknamed “Bark City” for its pet friendliness, the most incredible pet amenities can be found at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. This luxurious hotel supplies in-room bowls and beds and homemade doggie treats engraved with your pet’s name. Guests also can book a 25-minute in-room canine massage with the hotel’s on-property canine massage therapist.
Once you’re settled in, walk down Main Street—a quaint street at the heart of the city—and relax with your pooch on the patio at Atticus Coffee, Books & Teahouse. If you’re looking for a stronger beverage, head outside the city to the country’s only ski-in distillery, High West. Drink some whiskey and chow down on hearty fare like burgers while your dog sits outside with you on the patio.
For some exercise, the Willow Creek Dog Park features a dog-friendly pond, trails, and an agility course, while Trailside Park offers stunning mountain views, areas for small and large dogs and a one-mile off-leash portion of trail where dogs can roam.
Located 60 miles from Denver, the Rocky Mountains provide the city with a scenic backdrop. Pet guests at city’s most iconic hotel, The Broadmoor, receive bedding, food bowls, a complimentary treat, and a dog menu. They can also walk around certain areas of the hotel’s lush, green grounds with great mountain views and a pond complete with white swans.
One of the most impressive features of the city? Many of its top attractions allow dogs. Leashed dogs can visit the Garden of the Gods, which has stunning red sandstone formations that you can get close enough to touch. You can also go to the most-visited mountain in North America, Pikes Peak. Consider driving up the peak and enjoying sweeping views of Colorado Springs from 14,000 feet. Once you’ve come back down the mountain, dig into hearty fare, like a burger and fries, at The Public House’s dog-friendly patio.
Aspen is a ritzy mountain town, and one of the city’s most outstanding pet-friendly gems is the five-star, five-diamond hotel The Little Nell. Here, dogs receive an impressive list of amenities including a leash, silver bowls, bed, a specialty pet menu and dog bones from the pastry kitchen. The hotel’s valets can give walks and dogs are welcome at the hotel’s on-site lounge, The Living Room, where furry friends can enjoy the dog menu while their human companions enjoy gourmet cuisine from the on-site restaurant. Dog-friendly Wagner Park is within walking distance of the Little Nell.
Aspen is known for its mountains and dogs can ride the gondola on Aspen Mountain in the summer to hike with their human companions. For a strenuous 800-vertical foot ascent, head up to Smuggler Mountain Road, where dogs can be off leash. For an easier jaunt, the Rio Grande Trail offers 42 miles of dog-friendly trails.
Kanab, Utah’s most famous pet-friendly attraction? Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest animal sanctuary in the nation with 1,600 homeless animals in residence. The list of amenities for pets here is long.
Guests can stay overnight in one of the sancturary’s cottages or cabins with their own pets or they can “check out” one of the pets residing at Best Friends for an animal sleepover (provided they have volunteered with the animal they plan to take care of). The pets can also be taken out during the day for walks, hikes or a trip to one of the restaurants or cafes in town. Best Friends also offers tours through Angel Canyon, which features red cliffs and stunning landscapes.
If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, Quail Park Lodge allows one dog per room.
“While there are only six pet-friendly hotels in Kanab, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of pet-friendly accommodations,” says Greer. “Quail Park Lodge is the most highly rated in the area. They have a special area for dogs to play, and the owners love dogs.”
Kanab is also famous for its red-rocked landscape. Dogs are welcome at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and as the name suggests, you and your dog can admire pink sand dunes on your hike. And Kanab-based Dreamland Safari Tours allows one pet per tour during their guided tours of Paria Canyon Wilderness/Vermillion Cliffs Area, both of which feature dramatic, wave-like sandstone formations.
About 16 miles outside of Las Vegas, Henderson offers pet parents a quieter city to play, rest and mingle with locals. The Bark Park is a five-acre dog park that features dog runs, an agility course, a walking trail, dog-bone shaped benches and pet drinking stations. There’s a separate enclosure for small and large dogs and a splash pad for dogs (open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May 1 to Sept. 30).
When it’s time to rest, guests of The Westin Lake Las Vegas can enjoy views of Lake Las Vegas from the pool that’s surrounded by palm trees. The hotel provides pet guests with a bed, food bowl and mat. Guests’ rooms are located on the lower floor near the pet-friendly area. Dogs are allowed by the on-site lake on leash and on the patios of the two on-site restaurants.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is a nearly 200-mile deep blue lake that lies in both California and Nevada. The area is known for its outdoor splendor, and many establishments in town welcome dogs. The expansive Bijou Dog Park features grassy areas, shade, benches, water, and dedicated off-leash areas for small and large dogs.
It’s important to note that only certain beaches surrounding Lake Tahoe are pet friendly. Nevada Beach has a small dog-friendly area that is open from May until October and Fallen Leaf Lake is another dog-friendly destination where you can see the lake with your dog from Memorial Day through October.
For lodging, Hotel Azure is a high-end resort that’s within walking distance to the lake. Guests booking pet-friendly rooms will get dog bed, dog bowl, a welcome dog treat and doggie bags. For food, the lakefront Artemis Lakefront Café features stellar views from its dog-friendly patio and Mediterranean food, like Greek salads and chicken gyros.
Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix-based writer, editor, traveler and dog mom to Chihuahuas Autumn and Rocket.