Hiking in Colorado with Your Dog

As the weather starts to cool and the leaves begin to change, many Coloradans—and visitors to the state—will hit the hills with their four-legged friends to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. There are some simple things that can be done to ensure a successful and enjoyable excursion.

Picking a dog-friendly hiking spot

Unfortunately, not all trails in Colorado welcome our furry friends. For example, National Parks in Colorado, like Rocky Mountain National Park, do not allow dogs on trails or in the backcountry. Before you hit the road, use apps and websites like AllTrails to make sure pets are allowed. New to having your dog out in nature? Consider starting off by visiting an off-leash dog park like the one at Twin Lakes in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder to let Fido stretch his legs and get used to running around outdoors. 

Pet preparation is key

There are a few key things you can do to be sure to have a great time on your hike:

  • Keep pets on a leash when required (review leash law information before you go). Leashes can help keep dogs away from potential threats such as other animals, people, bikes, and vehicles. Remember, just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean other dogs will be if they are caught off guard. 
  • Know your pet’s limitations. Many breeds can be eager to please and can end up pushing themselves beyond their limits. If they aren’t accustomed to long walks or to mountain conditions, be sure to analyze their well-being frequently during your hike and take breaks as needed. 
  • Weather in Colorado can turn on a dime, and the dry heat can catch visitors off guard. If you get caught in the rain, you’ll be thankful if you have towels on hand (no one wants the smell of wet dog lingering in the car!). And your dog will thank you for having plenty of water for those days when the Mile-High City certainly feels that extra mile closer to the sun.

Happy hiking!