Fact checked

Are Dogs Allowed in Arches National Park?

Certain national parks may be pet friendly, but others may have their own rules when it comes to having animals in the parameters of the park. If you have a service or support animal, rules cna vary even more.
Expert reviewed by:  
Written by:
Susana Bradford
Published on:  
February 15, 2023

Arches National Park is a stunning trip for you and your dog, with incredible natural land bridges you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

There are certain restrictions in place when it comes to pets, and they're a little more stringent than you'll find in other national parks around the country. We'll cover those in more detail below, but the good news is that you should be able to take your service dog or emotional support animal with you.

We'll also cover how to get an ESA letter so that you shouldn't face any questioning when trying to take your psychiatric support dog into the park.

Can I Take a Dog into Arches National Park?

Your main concern when taking a dog to Arches National Park is whether you're allowed on the trails with your pup. The National Parks Service provides advice for dog owners on their website, highlighting where you can and cannot take your pup for a walk.

Unfortunately, the website states that "activities with pets are very limited." You aren't allowed to take your dog on any of the hiking trails; you can only have your dog with you at campgrounds, on roads, and in parking lots. Also, your dog must remain on their leash at all times, and they may not enter the visitors' center or any other buildings.

It's worth checking out the park's website, as there are additional regulations to bear in mind regarding allowable leash lengths, other rules, and advice on managing the temperatures, which can rise significantly.

According to the park's website, service animals may enter the park as normal. However, "Therapy, companion, or comfort animals are not service animals," according to the park.

Below you'll find more information on service animal classification, as well as some advice that means you should be able to get around this statement and enjoy the park with your emotional support dog.

What is a Service Animal?

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) references service animals as being dogs that have undergone training to assist their owners, who have disabilities, in a range of tasks. For example, seeing-eye dogs that help the visually impaired, and diabetes detection dogs that can detect dangerous blood sugar levels.

The problem is, at present, the ADA doesn't recognize psychiatric support dogs, emotional support animals, as service dogs. This means that the protections offered by the ADA in terms of taking your dog with you everywhere, do not apply to emotional support dogs.

That's why the ESA letter was created. An ESA letter provides legitimacy for your emotional support animal, meaning that you have some genuine proof that your dog needs to accompany you in pet-unfriendly places.

Why Take My Dog to Arches National Park?

Arches National Park comprises over 73,000 acres of natural land, giving your pup plenty of room to stretch their legs. Given the intensive daily role that your emotional support dog fulfills, this can be a real treat for them.

What's more, some studies have linked dog ownership to a much greater likelihood of meeting yours and your dog's exercise targets. If you're finding it hard to leave the house due to mental health challenges, this can be a real motivator to get outside and keep active.

Not to mention, getting just 30 minutes of fresh air has been linked to a reduction in anxiety and stress, which are often common challenges associated with mental health.

How to Get an ESA Letter

With an ESA letter, you'll have a document that justifies the presence of your dog in places that are otherwise normally off limits to animals. For example, on planes and other public transport, in accommodation with restrictions, and in establishments and other public spaces.

While service dogs are allowed into such places under the ADA, remember that emotional support animals are unfortunately not yet classed as service dogs. Without an ESA letter, your dog could be turned away.

If you're wondering how to get an ESA letter, as well as how to qualify for emotional support animal assistance, Pettable can help. Simply complete a three-minute consultation, and we'll link you with a licensed therapist who can provide the sign-off you need to get your ESA letter.

Meet the author:
Susana Bradford

Susana is an avid animal lover and has been around animals her entire life, and has volunteered at several different animal shelters in Southern California. She has a loving family at home that consists of her husband, son, two dogs, and one cat. She enjoys trying new Italian recipes, playing piano, making pottery, and outdoor hiking with her family and dogs in her spare time.