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We Coloradans love our hikes, and not even the winter can stop us. Why would it? There’s so much to do and experience here, and more importantly, our pups love the outdoors.
So, to celebrate National Hiking Day today, we’ve made a list of our top 4 dog-friendly hiking spots around Colorado, in no specific order (they're all great!):
Bretag & Palmer Trail Loop - Garden of The Gods
Photo by Steven Smith on My Life Outdoors
We’re starting off relatively easy. If you (or your dog) aren’t intense hikers, this one’s for you. It’s open year round, and the views are absolutely incredible. Roughly 2.5 miles long, the loop takes a little over an hour to do. We love it because it’s not super crowded while still giving you some of the classic Garden of the Gods views.
Dogs need to be on leash at all times here, though.
Mayflower Gulch - White River National Forest
Photo by @foxintheforest
Stepping it up a notch, this one’s a moderate hike with a 6.1 mile out-and-back trail. And while that might sound long, it’s absolutely worth it for the views. It takes an average of 3.5 hours to complete where you’ll get to an elevation of approximately 1,600 ft. Dogs tend to love this one because it’s fairly wide and open, and you can have them off leash in certain parts.
Idaho Springs Reservoir - Arapaho National Forest
Photo by Calvin Weibel
Very popular for fishing and snowshoeing as well, this hike’s easy to moderate, we’d say. While it’s open all-year round, the road leading up can sometimes experience snow closures, so make sure you check the Forest Service website before you head out. You will have to navigate a few boulders along the hike, so make sure your pup is in the mood for some exercise (Pro tip: carry some extra treats).
Overall, it’s a 4.3 mile out-and-back trail that should roughly take you a couple hours to complete. Dogs must be on leashes throughout.
Buck Gulch Loop - Pine Valley Ranch
Photo by Kathy at HikingToHealthy
And lastly, this one’s a tucked away gem. While it’s less than an hour from Denver, it’s still a long hike, clocking in at a little over 5 hours to complete its 12.4 mile loop. Make sure your pup is well-rested, hydrated and up to that amount of exercise. We love that it’s not very crowded but offers beautiful views.
Dogs must be on leashes throughout.
A word of caution about winter hikes
Please make sure that your dog is equipped for the hike. Right from proper clothing, all the way to hydration and diet. Carry plenty of treats for your pups so that they have the motivation to keep up with you. Bear in mind that not all of the hikes we’ve mentioned are easy, so make sure it’s something your dog will enjoy too.
About Smart Cookie Barkery
Smart Cookie makes small-batch handcrafted treats for dogs with ingredients handpicked from the best farms and ranches. Our treats are especially good for families looking for hypoallergenic treats, or for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
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