I-15 Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

This is the story of a dog. A dog with wanderlust. A dog with big dreams to travel the world, starting with Interstate 15—from the prairies of Montana, the salt flats of Utah, the bright lights of the Vegas strip, and the sandy beaches of San Diego.

This is the story of a traveler. A traveler who wants to give their pup the world. A traveler who wants to journey Interstate 15 with their furry friend but doesn’t know how. This is the story of a traveler who has come to the right place. 

This guide will help you discover all the best dog-friendly hotels and attractions for your special trip across I-15. North to south or south to north, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re traveling the whole interstate or going from one town to the next—we’ve got you covered. You can follow our suggested itinerary, take what you like, and leave the rest. It’s your vacation, so focus on making memories and leave the hard work to us.

And if you’re looking for more to see, DogFriendly.com has information on thousands more hotels, parks, tourist attractions, and restaurants.

An Overview

I-15 is a north-south highway that runs from the US-Canada border in Montana through Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and California, ending in San Diego. The total length of the interstate is 1433 miles, which would take about 20 hours to drive without stops. The north end of Interstate 15connects with the Alberta Highway 4, and the south end of Interstate 15 joins with I-5 in San Diego and heads south toward the US-Mexico border. The most notable cities along the interstate are Helena, Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Buckle up, and let’s go!

Montana

The long journey across I-15 begins in the prairies of northern Montana. The highway runs for 396 miles through Montana and crosses through the towns of Great Falls, Helena, and Butte. 

The town of Sweet Grass is on the other side of the US-Canada border. This small community boasts only one inn: the Glocca Morra. This locally-run inn doubles as a bar and is happy to have your dog join you. The following 116 miles to Great Falls are relatively sparse, passing through other small towns such as Sunburst and Shelby, which has a dog-friendly Comfort Inn.

Great Falls is nestled on the banks of the Missouri River and is named after a series of five nearby waterfalls. There are parks all along the riverbank. The River’s Edge Trail connects these parks and leads to the best attractions, such as the Pacific Steel & Recycling Trailside Dog Park and the Black Eagle Falls. And the scenic town is perfect for an overnight stay. Dog-friendly hotels include the SpringHill Suites on the river and the Midtown Motel, which is close to downtown but does not cost a premium.

After Great Falls, I-15 veers westward and heads toward the state capital of Helena. Helena is host to a number of city and state parks. In town, there is Paws Park dog park or the Spring Meadow Lake State Park, which only admits dogs during the winter season (December 15–April 15). Farther afield, the trails on Mt. Helena are perfect for beginner hikers or dog walkers. Dogs are also welcome to visit the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds. If you’re lucky, you might catch a rodeo! And there are lots of dog-friendly hotels in Helena. Delta Hotel is luxurious and modern, and the Quality Inn is just off I-15.

Butte is another hour south of Helena. Butte started as a 19th-century mining boomtown, and today the Berkeley Pit, an open surface mine turned lake, stands as a reminder of this history. Skyline Dog Park is a great place for Fido to run free, and there’s a stocked fishing pond for young anglers. Muddy Creek Brewery, a local microbrewery, accepts well-behaved dogs for a night on the town. If you’re spending the night in Butte, the Hampton Inn and the Ramada are dog-friendly.

From Butte, there are another 124 miles of I-15 until the Idaho state line.

Idaho

The (unofficial) Potato State is the second on the trip down I-15. Often overlooked in favor of its neighbors, Idaho is a hidden gem of mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers. The 196 miles of I-15 in Idaho travel through Idaho Falls and Pocatello.

Idaho Falls is the first major town on I-15 in Idaho. It is 77 miles south of the Montana state line. 

Idaho Falls Dog Park is just off the interstate coming into town, making it perfect whether you’re staying in town or just making a pitstop. This park is next to the scenic Snake River. Across the river, Russ Freeman Park is another great spot for a walk for river views. And for the cinephiles, Motor Vu Drive-In permits canine moviegoers. Dog-friendly hotels include a Fairfield Inn & Suites and Residence Inn by the river. Motel West is another great option to spend the night.

Pocatello is the next stop along I-15. The town gets its name from Chief Pocatello, who was a leader of the Shoshone tribe in the 19th century. It also became a destination for settlers along the Oregon Trail, long before the luxury of interstate travel. Today, the city is Idaho’s fifth largest. The City Creek Trail System services over 50 miles of hiking and riding trails. Katie’s Dog Park is close to the trailhead if Fido wants to run around unleashed. The Quality Inn and anfHome2 Suites are great dog-friendly options if you’re staying the night.

After Pocatello, there are 65 more miles of I-15 in Idaho. 

Utah

Utah marks the halfway point along I-15. If you started at the Canadian border, it would take just over 8 hours to reach the mountains of Utah. 

Salt Lake City is the largest city along I-15 in Utah and is about an hour south of Idaho. The city is named after the neighboring Great Salt Lake. Unfortunately, the lake has been in the news recently as water levels continue to drop. With its stunning vistas, it’s easy to forget that Utah is mostly desert, and therefore it’s essential to be respectful during your stay and conserve water as much as possible.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, the state capitol grounds are a perfect spot to visit. Memory Grove Park, which has an off-leash area for dogs, and the City Creek Canyon, which is a hiking trail through the hills, are both adjacent to the capitol building. For a trip to the lake, head on over to Antelope Island. The trails offer views of the lake and surrounding mountains, and if you’re lucky enough, you might even spot a herd of bison.

Salt Lake City also has lots of dog-friendly hotels. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco is a great choice for staying in style. The hotel does not have a pet fee, and it’s only a few blocks from Capitol Hill, putting you close to some of the city’s greatest attractions. The Radisson Hotel is also close to Capitol Hill, and the Hampton Inn at exit 301 is comfortable and doesn’t charge those downtown prices. 

The remaining 250 miles of I-15 in Utah are relatively sparse, mostly passing through small towns. The town of Fillmore stands about an hour and a half from the Great Salt Lake and is a good pitstop.  It may be hard to believe, but long ago when Utah was just a territory, Fillmore was selected as the capital. The old statehouse still stands today and has been converted into a museum. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed inside, but you can walk around and admire the history or visit the adjacent Old Capital Arts and Living History Festival to learn more about Utah’s past. The Best Western Paradise Inn is happy to house you and your pup for the night.

Before Arizona, the town of St. George makes a great final stop in Utah. The incomparable Zion National Park is a short detour off I-15 north of town. Hop off on exit 27 the park is 45 minutes away. If you don’t want to go out of your way, St. George is home to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. In town is Firehouse Dog Park and for francophile foodie pups, the patio dining at Tifiny’s Creperie is perfect. For an overnight stay, Hampton Inn or St. George Inn & Suites are dog-friendly.

Arizona

At 29 miles, the trip through Arizona is a short one. This corridor of I-15 is sparse but scenic. The route runs through the Virgin River Gorge, a canyon with many spots to stop alongside the road and get some stunning photos. 

Beaver Dam is the only town along the way. Just a few miles north of town is a spot dedicated to the 1991 film Thelma and Louise. Though not the actual location from the movie, this attraction pays homage to the movie’s end where (spoiler!) Thelma and Louise drive off a cliff together. There’s little in the way of hotels, so you’ll probably want to head on to Nevada when you are finished sightseeing.

Nevada

After a short stint in Arizona, I-15 ventures to Nevada. At 123 miles, the trip through Nevada is also relatively short, with Las Vegas being the primary city that the route passes through. I-15 comes into the city from the northeast and leaves Vegas, heading south toward California.

Just across the border from Arizona, the town of Mesquite has some dog-friendly lodging at the Holiday Inn Express. Next stop: Vegas.

Las Vegas is probably not a city that’s ever going to top a Most Dog-Friendly Cities List, but that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of things to do. Barkin’ Basin Dog Park is a great place for your pup to run around unleashed, but on the days that it’s just too hot for dogs, Barx Park is an indoor, climate-controlled dog park. If you’re looking for some dog-friendly shopping, Town Square is an open-air mall.

Along I-15 south of Vegas, the art exhibit Seven Magic Mountains is a popular dog-friendly attraction. The “mountains” are totems made of painted boulders. It’s a great place to take a photo or meet some other four-legged friends.

If you’re staying in Vegas with Fido, odds are you’re not interested in the bright lights of the Vegas strip. Home2 Suites or Hampton Inn are still on the boulevard, but farther south. And if downtown suits your fancy, NoMad Las Vegas is dog-friendly and doesn’t have a pet fee.

After Vegas, it’s 30 miles to California.

California

I-15 makes its final trip through the hills of Southern California. The 295 miles of I-15 in California begin in the barren Mojave Desert, heading toward Los Angeles. The highway reaches San Bernadino and then veers south toward San Diego, where it ends when it merges with the I-5. 

Barstow is an hour and a half past the state line. The town is very close to the Mojave National Preserve which encompasses a mind-boggling 1.6 million acres. Go on a hike, camp, or craft your own adventure. And if your pup needs a movie night, take them to the Skylight Drive-In and enjoy the silver screen from the comfort of your car. The Ayers Hotel and Hampton Inn & Suites are both pet-friendly.

The San Bernardino Valley is another hour from Barstow. Though not quite the City of Angels, there are dog-friendly things to do close to the interstate. Pat Merritt Dog Park is a favorite of locals, and the Sycamore Canyon Park provides views of the city over rolling hills. If you want to venture out and see more of Los Angeles, the Mount Hollywood Trail allows you to venture close to the Hollywood sign. The Griffith Park and Observatory, which you probably recognize from film or television, is dog-friendly as well. Or catch a wave at Long Beach, which includes a 3-acre off-leash area.

If you’re looking to spend the night, there are lots of dog-friendly hotels just off of I-15. Hyatt Place off exit 109 is pet-friendly, well-rated, and centrally located with food and shopping nearby. If you’re working on a tight budget, the Quality Inn further south in Temecula is also a great choice. After Temecula, there are only 60 miles to I-15’s end.

San Diego is not just the end of I-15—it’s a city to remember. The city is known for its perfect weather.  As such, you should take advantage and visit The Original Dog Beach, which is the go-to spot for native San Diegans and tourists alike. Dogs can enjoy the glory of the Pacific without any leashes bogging them down. For parkland, check out Balboa Park which is over 1000 acres in the heart of San Diego. The park has the Spanish Village Art Center where well-behaved dogs can check out artists and even converse with them about their craft. And if you’re looking for a mountain adventure, you can travel to the town of Julian and visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

In need of a dog-friendly hotel? San Diego has you covered. Hotel Solamar and Hotel Indigo are both downtown and do not have pet fees. Otherwise, the La Quinta Inn Mission Bay and Extended Stay America at Hotel Circle are convenient lodging choices.

Whether you traveled all 1433 miles of I-15 or only 10, give yourself a pat on the back. You braved the interstate, all with the company of your pooch. But the vacation doesn’t have to be over. You might hit I-5 and travel along the Pacific coast, or turn around and conquer I-15 all over again. 

In Short

Traveling across I-15 can be a long and sometimes isolating journey, but it doesn’t have to be! This is a trip fit for Fido! Whether it’s Montana, Utah, or California, dog-friendly attractions and accommodations are everywhere. So get into that car and hit the interstate—the memories of a lifetime await!

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at DogFriendly.com

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