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Although national surveys show that about two-thirds of pet owners take their pets along on their travels, the National Park Service still doesn't get it. Practically all national parks, including Zion and Bryce Canyon, are not pet-friendly; therefore, those planning to visit the parks should consider leaving their pets at home. Pets are prohibited on hiking trails, in the backcountry, and in all buildings, and must always be on a leash no more than 6 feet long. One happy exception is at Zion, where leashed pets are permitted on the Pa'rus Trail. Pets should not be left unattended in campgrounds at either park. Essentially, this means that if you take your pet into the parks they can be with you in the campgrounds and inside your vehicle, and you can walk them in parking areas, but that's about it.

Pets should never be left in closed vehicles, where temperatures can soar to over 120°F (49°C) in minutes, resulting in brain damage or death, and there is no punishment too severe for the human who subjects a dog or cat to that torture. Outside Bryce Canyon National Park, Doggy Day Camp (tel. 435/690-9616) operates a boarding kennel; and pet boarding is available near Zion, in the community of Rockville, at Doggy Dude Ranch (tel. 435/772-3105; www.doggyduderanch.com).

Those who do decide to take pets with them into these parks, despite the fact that they are not permitted in most places, should take their pets' leashes (of course); carry plenty of water (pet shops sell clever little travel water bowls that won't spill too much in a moving vehicle); and bring proof that their dogs or cats have been vaccinated against rabies. Flea and tick spray or powder is also important, especially if you will be taking your pet to Bryce Canyon, where bubonic plague is transmitted by the fleas that prey on prairie dogs and other rodents. A good online source of information for pet owners is www.petswelcome.com.

Special Tip for Pet Owners -- Although pets are not permitted on practically any of the trails or in the backcountry in Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks, those traveling with their dogs can hike with them over miles of trails administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, adjacent to both national parks. Pets are also welcome, even on trails, in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (administered by the BLM) and in Utah's state parks.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.