Most of us have seen the spectacular scenery around Moab without realizing it; the landscape has often been used as a setting for Hollywood westerns. Before that, popular Western novelist Zane Gray sparked readers’ imaginations with actions set in Moab. Real people began arriving in the city from the Colorado River in the 1950s when uranium was discovered nearby. Despite the fact that the mines have since been depleted, the city has never returned to its sleepy agricultural days.
Today Moab is an open-air mecca at the foot of the La Salle Mountains. Moab
is the gateway to the canyon of southeastern Utah and the national parks in
Canyonlands and Arches. Dogs are not allowed on the field in these parks,
on trails or rivers within the park. Still, there are many other opportunities
here that make Moab a dog friendly destination for people who love to hike with
Legend has it that once cowboys herded wild mustangs to the top of this
mesa – 2000 feet above the Colorado River – and blocked their escape through a
narrow neck of earth with branches and bushes, thus creating a natural corral. Ounce
the horses in the corral were forgotten and died of thirst as they watched
inaccessible Colorado river below. In 1959 more than 5,000 acres, most of which
are at the top of the table, they were designated as Dead Horse Point State Park (nine miles
north of Moab on US 191; turn west on SR 313, then go 22 miles to Visitor
While your dog will never trot the trails of Canyonlands National Park and search
down 1000 feet at the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers, she can
get the same kind of experience next door at Dead Horse Point State Park. Two
loops, connected by the Visitor Center, line the edges of the rock edge
peninsula. Many short trails overlook headlands overlooking the
canyonlands (most are unfenced and provide no protection from over-curiosity
This is a scarce desert land on top of the table and during a hot summer day
there is little shade and no natural drinking water on thirsty dog trails. All
said there are ten miles of primitive, paved trails at Dead Horse Point, most in
hard rocky trails.
A half-mile spur on the western side of the Dead Horse Point mesa leads to a
overlook Shafer canyon. Across the canyon you can see an open plain that was
used to film the famous ending scene of the movie Thelma & Louise when Susan
Sarandon drives a Thunderbird convertible off a cliff. Even though I was shipwrecked
cars in Shafer Canyon, were placed there by the Land Office
Driving to shore up the river bank. The remains of the film were transported by air.
out of the canyon by helicopter.
East of Moab on Scenic Route 128 is the Colorado Riverway Recreation
Area with clearly different dog adventures in the store. Director John Ford started
filming Hollywood westerns on location here in 1949, he went looking for a new
desert location for your next Wagon Master starring Ben Johnson and Ward Bond.
He reached Moab, where he was shown the Professor Valley and the Fisher Towers.
on the Colorado River. Ford actually made Wagon Master here and over 50
Feature films would be shot on location around Moab for the next 50 years. To Juan
Wayne, this area always defined the West.
Your dog will not be able to draw a complete conclusion to agree or disagree with the
Duke: The dog walk at Fisher Towers ends when a ladder climbs a
Uncomfortable rock before the end of the trail. Upstream, the black Bill of rammed sand
Canyon Trail gently climbs up a scenic canyon, crossing and tracing a clear flow
creek for two miles to reach the Morning Glory Natural Bridge. Your dog won’t be
able to hike under the magnificent natural arches in Arches National Park, but can
play under the sixth longest stretch of natural rock in the United States. The pool below
the bridge is a great pool for dogs but watch out for blooming
poison ivy growing nearby.
Moab is located in northeastern Utah at the intersection of US 191 and Scenic Route 128.