Dog Friendly Travel

Tour of America Day 6 – Northern Arizona & Grand Canyon

Road Trip Day 6 - Grand Canyon
Written by Rachael Sando
  • We are recapping each day of our Dog Friendly Tour of America! Stop back daily to see where we have been and what we were up to. Hopefully you will be inspired to plan your own dog friendly vacation!

Day 6 marked the end of our BlogPaws stay in Pheonix, and the beginning of the sightseeing portion of our road trip across America. On the docket for the day was Grand Canyon National Park which is roughly a 4 hour drive from the Phoenix area.

We had hoped to start the day early but blackout curtains and general exhaustion from the trip put a wrench in our plan. We ended up waking up close to 9am -panicking about the day that we had planned and how unprepared we felt! After a few deep breaths we decided to just let the day roll out naturally, saying goodbye to friends, packing up, and making any stops that we wanted along the way to the Grand Canyon. We have read that it is not particularly dog friendly so we did not anticipate spending too much time there anyway!

Golden Photo Shoot

Photo-shoot with Sugar the Golden Retriever from GoldenWoofs!

First things first, we needed to say goodbye to our friend Sugar, of Golden Woofs. We were so excited to have finally met her and her Mom (Rosalyn) in person (after years of knowing them online) and wanted and send Sugar some extra barkday love! We met up in the morning before getting on the road for one totally adorable photo shoot! We love Sugar!

Packing up – So much Swag!

After our visit with Sugar it was time to pack up. Oh my…we had a lot more stuff than what we came with! Every BlogPaws attendee gets a huge swag bag (X2 for Kev and I), plus we were handed out extra goodies at the exhibit hall!

Thankfully as conference alumni we came prepared for the level of loot we would be heading home with. Like Kev mentioned before, we packed all of our supplies for the trip in clear plastic totes. We purposely left plenty of room in these bins and even brought along an extra tote! We had plenty of space and this system made loading up our swag a breeze!

We were also able to pass along some duplicate goodies to members of the staff who had been so welcoming and helpful during our stay!

Grand Canyon – With some stops along the way

Confession: I am a bit of a Type A, planner.

I like to have plans and feel prepared for things. I guess I just like to know what to expect! Kevin, who is my opposite in this sense, planned this whole trip and wanted it to be more of a play it by ear sort of thing. There was a basic outline of what we would explore and how far we would travel each day, but he wanted to have the flexibility to change plans as needed.

Exploring some dog friendly hikes in Northern Arizona

As the trip has progressed, I’ve started to realize it was going to make me stretch in some uncomfortable, but exciting ways -starting with our drive to the Grand Canyon.

Wanting to avoid getting to the Grand Canyon while it was still scorching hot (105 Degrees), we decided to take our time and make stops that spoke to us. Yes, you read that right; no plan!

LaMar’s Donuts

We made a breakfast stop at LaMars Donut's in Phoenix, Arizona and boy are we glad we did!We hadn’t found the time to eat (or get coffee!!) before heading out, so finding something along the way was a priority. We came across a place called Lamar’s Donuts in a Google search and figured we’d give it a try. Boy are we glad we did! Check out the size of these donuts – and don’t judge – we are on vacation!
Yes they were delicious!

Coconino National Forest

In prior trips to Flagstaff and Sedona we have driven through the gorgeous Coconino National Forest. Since we were passing through again, in less of a hurry,  we decided to finally take the time to explore it a bit.

Plus, the oppressive heat of Phoenix had left the boys a little stir crazy. We really wanted to get them out for a bit of exercise – and let’s face it – after those donuts we could spare a few calories as well!

Charlie picking out our hike at Campbell Mesa in Coconino National ForestUsing TripAdvisor and, we found a trail system just south of Flagstaff that would offer some shaded hiking for the whole crew. A quick detour off our route and we were there.

Campbell Mesa

Heading down the Walnut Meadows loop with our dogs at Campbell Mesa

Located just outside of Flagstaff, Campbell Mesa in Coconino National Forest offered several different trails of varying length. We chose the 4 mile Walnut Meadow Loop, because from what we could tell, it would be partially shaded by Ponderosa Pine Trees and provide a much needed refuge from the sun.

Hiking with dogs at Campbell Mesa near Flagstaff, Arizona

The location was beautiful and, as expected, partially shaded by trees. We hiked for about 2 hours, stopping frequently for water breaks, and enjoyed the solitude. In fact, we only ran into a few other hikers during the entire trek!

Keeping our dogs paws protected from the heat with Pawz dog boots!

We will write more about this hike at Campbell Mesa in a future post, but suffice it to say it was just the sort of hike we were looking for.


After our hike at Campbell Mesa, we had worked up quite an appetite. We checked the map and realized we were only a few miles outside of Flagstaff and one of our favorite restaurants, MartAnne’s.  MartAnne’s specializes in Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish smothered in cheese and red, green or both (Christmas style) salsa. Kev and I had the AMAZING fortune to eat breakfast/lunch here a couple of years in a row and knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Although we didn’t have much time to get up to the Grand Canyon, we knew we had to stop!

Chilaquiles from MartAnne's in Flagstaff, Arizona

We ordered to go and ate quickly in the car before heading the last hour North.

Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim Trail

Charlie taking in the sights of the Grand Canyon

We made it to Grand Canyon just before dusk, paid the $30 entrance fee and headed in. It was still relatively crowded and we only had time to take in a few overlooks before the sun set. Pets are only allowed on the South rim trail and honestly there was less to explore in the main area than I expected.

Visiting the Grand Canyon with Dogs

We left out of the west side of the park. Though we were driving in the dark, I got the impression that it would have been a bit more seclude and provided more overlooks on this side. If you are planning on traveling to the Grand Canyon with your dog, the North Rim Trail is also dog friendly.

Hotel in Kanab, Utah

We left the park around 9 and the goal was to make it up to Kanab, Utah. While Kanab is only 70-80 miles due north of the canyon, that pesky canyon is in the way and extends this trip to a long 200 miles and a 3 hour drive! Kev decided he could power through and I got to work finding a good deal on a pet friendly hotel. Priceline Express deals to the rescue! We landed a Pet Friendly Best Western in Kanab for only $78 ($94 after taxes)!

What We Learned

  • Go with the flow, take your time – Stopping at MarteAnnes was so much fun. Most places will create a to-go container for you if you ask. Don’t let having your dogs with you prevent you from eating some great food on your trip!
  • Never too much water – Collapsible dog bowls and a backpack with water bladder are amazing. You can never have too much water – Especially when you have your dogs along since they can easily become overheated. We actually brought enough water along to splash onto their bodies as needed to cool down without running out of drinking water.
  • Grand Canyon with Dogs – If you are going with a pet, you won’t need as much time as you would anticipate. Only the rim trails are pet friendly, so as a result the experience is limited. We did learn that the only thing that can distract people from the Grand Canyon is two beautiful golden retrievers visiting the Grand Canyon!

Quick Stats

  • Miles traveled: 460
  • States passed through:  2 – Arizona and part of Utah
  • Gas fill ups: 1 (We had filled up right before getting to Phoenix)

Stay Tuned Tomorrow – Trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary!

Visit our Road Trip Home Page

About the author

Rachael Sando

Rachael is a School Psychologist with degrees from the University of Rochester and RIT. Though a lifelong dog lover, this passion has taken on a new direction through the utilization of therapy animals in her day job. Charlie, our Golden Retriever, works with Rachael as a school therapy dog in a local primary school where he brings comfort and support to students and staff on a daily basis.


  • Love your Grand Canyon shots and Mom wants a donut! We had decided to skip the Grand Canyon because it wasn’t real dog friendly, but then we skipped the entire trip. We are looking forward to Myrtle Beach.

    • We are going to be writing a whole Grand Canyon post and have a few more really great photos – love how they turned out!

      We all really missed you at the conference and hope that you are doing better each day.

  • It’s been a lot of fun following your road trip, I just booked a dog friendly vacation to Vancouver Island for the middle of July and I need to check out the Chillspot cooling station. I think it would be great to do a dog and donut friendly tour of America.

  • I can’t wait to hear about all the swag. I get excited by free pens at events, I can just imagine all the cool pet stuff you got!

  • oh my doggie what a fun and packed day! What was it like seeing that big hole in the ground? And I hopes you guys got some yummy treats or gots to sample your hoomans cause it sure does look yummylicious! <3 Milk

    Ps you guys look like you're being great pawnavigators with those map pawing skills?

  • I will admit it……you had me at donuts. It’s good to know that there are decent dog-friendly places to stay when you’re travelling.

  • I would be nervous about not having hotel reservations in advance, but I can see how it is mugh more flexible.

  • We are planning a road trip from Washington down the Oregon and California coast then over to Arizona in January with the dog, we will have to check out the hike at Campbell Mesa and I love Chilaquiles.

  • that is a lot of swag, Sugar is just a doll baby. hope she had a wonderful bday. i have always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. my mother went many yrs ago and road a donkey down. she was terrified. she had not ridden since she was in her late teens. i think she was in her 60’s when she went. the donuts look so good, but i am thinking abt the number of calories it will take to work them off…days. so they guys had plenty of pets and hellos from others visiting the Grand Canyon. wonderful pictures. thank you.

  • I absolutely love the Grand Canyon and would love to go back one day with my dog. She’s never been there. Love all the photos you took!

  • I see on the Facebook page you were in Minnesota, my LaMancha is from Minnesota he’s a Pacific Northwest dog now but has been back for a visit.

  • i am probably doing these backwards, however. i would love to go to the grand canyon. i wonder if they would have let the dogs ride the mules down to the bottom. my mom did this many, many yrs ago. she said it was scary but beautiful. she said the ledges were very small. i have always wanted to go there. i love the picture of one of the boys looking over the rim.

  • What a fun hike! They look like they had a great time. We’re starting up with hiking again now that spring is here and the weather is nice and warm.