Escapes

10 Hotels in the West for Big Dogs

Because your four-legged friends want to travel, too.

Traveling with large dogs has never been easier—if you know where to stay.     Photo: Shutterstock.com

Big dogs need space. Space to run, eat, and sleep, of course, but also space to drool, shed, and poop. Because canines are not always the most hygenic house guests, they're often not allowed in hotels, which can make traveling tough—for owners and pets alike. But thankfully, some lodges are making exceptions, by not only allowing furry visitors, but also by offering amenities such as dog beds, food bowls, and special treats. 

These ten hotels not only welcome labs, St. Bernards, and dogs of all sizes with open arms, they're also perched in places that are primed for adventure. From Moab's red arches to boundless miles of Washington coastline, here are our favorite places to bring our four-legged pals—to let them (and us) unleash.

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  1. 1

    Sorrel River Ranch

    Photo: Sorrel River Resort

    Moab, Utah

    Your number-one reason for hitting Moab probably doesn’t involve doggie adventuring: the world-class climbing and mountain biking there might be great for humans, but it’s dangerous for pooches.

    Stay at Sorrel River Ranch, though, and you'll likely change your mind. Situated 19 miles from downtown, on the banks of the Colorado River, the 160-acre resort has an organic vegetable garden, great views of Moab’s salmon-colored spires, and a barn that houses four kennels, so you can easily leave your pup and hit the trails. Or, head to Negro Bill Canyon Trail, one of the town’s best dog-friendly hikes, just down the road. A three-mile hike along the trail’s shady streambed brings you to a 243-foot-long arch known as Morning Glory, the sixth-largest natural rock span in America.

    Back at the ranch, a dog-washing station makes it a cinch to clean up at day’s end. Although Sorrel’s 55-room property might remind you of an old Western (its wooden cabins have cozy front porches), the interiors are contemporary and well-appointed. Rooms start at $329, plus a $100 pet fee per stay (includes dog beds, bowls, treats, and more).

    If you want to get on the water, Moab Rafting & Canoe Company, located on the edge of town, will set you and your four-legged friend up for a day on the Colorado River. The 15-mile float from the Moab Bridge to the Potash take-out includes a self-guided canoe trip down the sandy-bottomed Class II river, complete with views of striped canyon walls and famed climbing spot Wall Street. You’ll even spy a few sandstone arches along the way. $75, plus a $7 van-cleaning fee (bring your own canine life jackets)

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  2. 2

    Iron Springs Resort

    Photo: Iron Springs Resort

    Copalis Beach, Washington

    Located two and a half hours from Seattle’s airport, Iron Spring’s 28 rustic-yet-modern cabins nestle high on a cliff overlooking the misty shores of piney coastline. Its relaxed, summer-camp feel makes for ideal reading and couch-lolling as waves churn below. Equally ideal are the miles of wide-open sand, where your dogs can sprint, dig, roll, and swim off-leash. This all-but-empty stretch, with its sea stacks and sandpipers, is home to the state’s only beach-based airstrip (don’t worry, though: it’s rarely used). Should you ever need a brief break from the beach, you can hike through old-growth evergreens on the resort’s six miles of trails. When you and your furry posse have had enough clam-digging and shell-hunting for the day, each cabin at Iron Springs has a water spigot to rinse sandy paws.

    This resort is relatively remote and lacks a restaurant, so plan on bringing your own meals. (The cabins have nice kitchens.) Rooms start at $149, plus $20 a night for each pet (includes bowls and towels)

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    Devil's Thumb Ranch

    Photo: Devil's Thumb Ranch

    Tabernash, Colorado

    Six thousand acres of former ranch land, now turned recreational playground, is where Devil’s Thumb Ranch calls home. Running along the Continental Divide, between Winter Park and the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Devil’s Thumb’s 65 miles of nordic trails make it a cross-country ski hub for Front Range residents. Five of those miles are designated for skijoring (cross-country skiing with your canine). Not sure how to skijor? The ranch offers clinics, including gear rentals (from $30). After the sporty fun, grab a burger and a beer at Heck’s, sit by its hexagonal fireplace, and look out over the ranch’s pond and trails.

    In summer months, the ranch offers dog-friendly hiking through its grassy meadows and aspen-filled hills. Cabins start at $315, plus $50 a night for each pet (includes dog beds, treats, and leashes)

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  4. 4

    Healdsburg Modern Cottages

    Photo: Modern Cottages

    Healdsburg, California

    An hour and 15 minutes north of San Francisco, by way of Sonoma, Healdsburg is the little wine town that could. This off-the-beaten path farm-to-table-style weekend getaway is full of artisanal, chef-helmed restaurants, tasting rooms at local vintners, and a farmers’ market bursting with local goods. It’s flanked by grassy, rolling hills, vineyards, and some of the best road cycling in California. Bring your bike and head west from town, under Highway 101, to get on the backroads that wind through this pastoral wine country.

    When you’re not cycling, walk to the town square, located less than a quarter mile from the dog-friendly cottages, and sign up for a paddling trip with Russian River Adventures. A nine-mile run from Memorial Beach to Wohler Bridge in inflatable kayaks lets pups romp, swim, or boat along. $50, plus $10 per dog

    Hungry? Grab a smoked beer brat at Wurst, near downtown, or go upscale at Scopa, and order a sausage-arugula pizza. The low-key quartet of abodes at Healdsburg Modern Cottages makes a perfect base camp for roughing it in comfort: minimal furnishings, gas fireplaces, a swimming pool, and a shared, fenced-in, yard let you and your pup hang inside or out with few hassles. Rooms start at $250, plus $50 a night for each pet

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  5. 5

    Hotel Madeline

    Photo: Hotel Madeline

    Telluride, Colorado

    There’s no question that Telluride—tucked in a box canyon along the craggy San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado—is dog-friendly: you’ll often find pups waiting for their owners outside shops and restaurants along Main Street, or hanging out by the ski lift, sans leash. The town’s mellow vibe seems to have rubbed off on its pooches, who are unusually well behaved and happy to follow any rules. Maybe it’s all the exercise—dozens of hiking trails thread the mountains straight from town in all directions, including along the valley floor.

    The 123-room Hotel Madeline, located above town in Mountain Village, is only a dog-welcoming gondola ride away from Telluride proper, but it offers more space than some of the options in town. Also, because Mountain Village is propped about 750 feet above the valley, you’ll get a head start if you want to walk your dogs up Telluride Ski Resort, just around the corner from the hotel. Trails wind through the trees between ski runs until you reach the ridgeline, where you can turn around to take in views of fourteeners and other toothy mountains. In winter, chill out with your dog under the stars by the one of the cozy fire pits in Mountain Village. Rooms start at $279, plus $25 a night for each pet (includes dog beds, bowls, and toys, if desired)

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  6. 6

    The Allison Inn & Spa

    The Allison, in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Photo: Andrea Johnson Photography

    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    One of the newest hotels in Oregon’s pastoral wine country, the Allison Inn isn’t about rugged adventure. But it’s the perfect weekend escape from urban Portland (a 45-minute drive away) that gives visitors access to some of the state’s best road cycling. Seven miles from the hotel, Champoeg State Park acts as the northern hub for the 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, which culminates in Eugene. The ride through the valley is as quaint as the inn, passing hop farms, vineyards, coffee shops, and brewpubs.

    After your ride (and maybe a couple of drinks), it’s time for some pampering. The Allison’s 15,000-square-foot spa is just the thing (at the end of your service, they’ll tell you how to massage Fido). A pet-specific meal from the hotel’s restaurant—fresh steak and steamed vegetables, perhaps, or a homemade, bacon-laced treat—will win your pet over as well.

    The 35-acre, 85-room inn has trails connecting its seven acres of vineyards with the rest of the forested property. Rooms start at $330, plus $50 a night for each pet (includes bowls, filtered water, and home-baked dog treats)

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  7. 7

    Pronghorn

    Photo: Pronghorn

    Bend, Oregon

    Recently crowned Dogtown USA by Dog Fancy magazine, Bend, Oregon, is littered with dog-friendly restaurants, businesses, trails, and off-leash areas. Among its 17 microbreweries (that’s in a town with a population of fewer than 80,000), it even has its own canine beer: Dawg Grog. A stay at the local Auberge Resort at Pronghorn will introduce your canine to Boneyard Brewery’s magic elixir, made of malted barley, water, liquid glucosamine (for joint health), and organic vegetable broth.

    The resort—known mainly for its Jack Nicklaus golf course—is a pooch-centric place to post up for your adventures in Bend. Just 16 miles north of the town, the resort is perfectly situated for hikes at Smith Rock State Park, 20 minutes away. When you’re not getting vertical in this iconic climbing playground, where more than 1,000 bolted routes look over the meandering Crooked River, hike the 3.8-mile Misery Ridge loop. It ascends more than 1,000 feet to the summit of the eponymously named ridge—with views of the Monkey Face self-standing rock pillar and Oregon’s Cascades—which cuts through Smith Rock State Park. Another option: walk your dogs to the resort’s two 1,000-foot-long lava tubes. Rooms start at $195, plus a $75 pet fee (includes dog beds, bowls, dog bags, and a walking map of the property) 

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  8. 8

    Loews Coronado Bay Resort

    Photo: Loews

    San Diego, California

    It might not be every canine’s cup of, well, bones, but how about a day in the waves with a board—for your pooch? Yup, thanks to a partnership between the Coronado Surfing Academy and the Coronado Dog Beach, Loews Coronado Bay has been offering dog surfing lessons for the last eight years. No need to bring a life jacket—they’ll be provided for you and your dog. Just drive five miles down the road to Coronado Dog Beach and for $60, your pup will get a one-hour lesson in the waves. According to the Surf Academy, dogs who dig water—like labs and English bull dogs—are always wagging away. The instructors take the dogs and owners out into waist-deep water and push them into gentle three-foot waves.

    After hanging ten together, head to the hotel’s Bay Terrace restaurant for surf and turf—your canine companion’s dinner includes salmon or beef, rice, and veggies. Or order room service from the hotel’s pet menu.

    Rooms start at $219, plus $25 a night for each pet (includes dog beds, bowls, and treats)

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  9. 9

    El Portal Sedona Hotel

    Photo: Portal Sedona

    Sedona, Arizona

    Steve and Connie Segner’s property, El Portal Sedona Hotel, is so pet-friendly, your dogs will stay for free. The Segners, with a background in pet shops and pet-food development, have four basset hounds of their own—two of which are the “hotel” dogs.

    Located on Oak Creek, in the Southwest’s red-rock central, many of the resort’s 1,000-square-foot rooms have their own enclosed yards for easy doggie-bathroom breaks. Though the resort itself has more than 16 miles of walking paths, the Segners are happy to shuttle you and your dogs to a trailhead nearby. Their recommendation? Marg’s Draw, just two miles from the hotel. The 2.5-mile trail traces crimson rock formations before ending as giant slabs of red rock in a bowl surrounded by mountains.

    Have your own car? Try the West Fork Oak Creek trail, nine miles out of Sedona in the Coconino National Forest. The 14-mile trail winds you through the canyon via boulder-hopping, wading, and swimming. Or sign up for the Arizona Safari Jeep Tours ($79) through the hotel grounds—pets are welcome to come along. This can get as rugged as you want, but its main goal is putting you in the backcountry to see such area claims to fame as vortexes, petroglyphs, stunning spires, and hundred-year-old wagon trails.

    Rooms start at $179 (includes dog blankets, dog bags, and treats)

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  10. 10

    The Resort at Paws Up

    Photo: PawsUp

    Greenough, Montana

    If nearly 40,000 acres aren’t enough to wear out your four-legged companion, nothing will. The luxury Resort at Paws Up property is all that—a working cattle ranch in Lewis and Clark territory, 35 miles east of Missoula. Meadows, streams, rivers, and mountains trace through the property, making it the ideal place to explore on foot. As a matter of fact, the Resort at Paws Up hosts the Canine Classic dog run in September to benefit the Humane Society of Western Montana with two-mile, five-mile, and half-marathon-length routes on its own land. The Wine & Bitch dinner, held the night before the run, welcomes owners and dogs alike.

    The vast acreage contains luxury homes that are run by the resort, as well as thick-canvas, off-white tents (for when you feel like glamping, not just camping). Although dogs aren’t permitted in the tents around the property, they can stay either in the houses or at the resort’s “last best doggie bed”—an outdoor dog kennel under the stars. They can order, say, a peanut butter, yogurt, and banana refreshment from the in-room menu, then receive a canine-specific spa treatment (an ear, head, and snout massage, for instance, or a paw massage with organic, edible foot salve). Houses start at $760, plus $50 a night for each pet (includes bowls, treats, toys, collars, and dog bags)

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    Rover.com

    Photo: Rover.com

    Can’t bring your dogs along? You can always either board them or book your favorite petsitter. If you don’t know any sitters in your area, check out Rover.com—an online hub for connecting dog owners with sitters across the U.S. In the world of smart online startups, this one tops our list of favorites. Sift through sitters’ profiles, rankings, and reviews, then check out their certifications: they receive “badges” for volunteering at humane societies, responding quickly, willingness to do last-minute stays, and subscribing to the site’s protection package (which includes a 24-hour ask-a-vet service), among other things. All arrangements set up through Rover.com are covered by the site’s pet insurance for emergency vet bills up to $25,000. In addition, if a sitter backs out at the last minute, Rover.com guarantees a backup.

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