This winter and spring, I’ve made it a goal of mine to go on more dog-friendly hikes. My room mate has the most amazing standard poodle named Cash. And since said room mate has been overwhelmed with her crazy job trying to make it in the restaurant business, I’ve made it my personal mission to take Cash with me on as many hikes and outdoor places as I can. Now, Utah is a great place to own a pup, but there are a ton of places dogs are not allowed to visit. For example, dogs are not allowed any outdoor area that is close to a watershed—for obvious reasons, in any state or national parks, or if the land is privately owned and has decided that they don’t want dogs on their trail. These regulations, surprisingly, limit the places dogs are allowed.
In my quest for the perfect dog-friendly hike, I came across a lesser known trail called Killyon Canyon. It’s a relatively new trail (designated in 2011) and is located up Emigration Canyon. Getting there is pretty easy: you take Emigration towards Pinecrest (about 5 miles). The road will fork after about 1/2 of a mile, take the right fork. They recently changed the parking restrictions—you are no longer allowed to park in the cul de sac at the trailhead. Instead, there is a small parking area located on the right side of the road immediately after the fork. From there you will walk up the road for about 3/4 of a mile to the trailhead. Dogs need to be leashed up until they get on the trail.
After about 1.5 miles, you will come to a fork which lists all the places you can access from here. Unfortunately, this is the boundary for Birch Springs watershed areas, so no dogs are allowed. Take the left fork to continue and go north.
Keep going as far as you’d like. The hike follows Killyon Canyon drainage (it looks like a creek) up the ridge line to Lookout Peak. The total hike roundtrip is probably close to 9 miles with the original hike from the parking area. It has an elevation gain of roughly 2,300 feet from the fork.
Overall, this is a gem in Emigration Canyon and although accessibility has been limited, it’s still a beautiful trail that is beautiful year-round. In the summer, you can find flowers and greenery all around. In autumn, the foliage is stunning as the leaves change. An added bonus is you can bring your pup to explore this beauty with you!