Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Denver, Colorado
For dogs and their owners, the great outdoors are exactly what the doctor (aka the vet) ordered, and there’s no better place to explore than Denver, Colorado. With dozens of parks in and around the city, a hike doesn’t have to be a whole vacation to a national park. In fact, many of the state’s parks offer scenic views and hiking trails that are on par with big-name parks. The best part: A lot of these parks are dog-friendly, and some even offer off-leash areas. Just be sure to bring plenty of treats and take plenty of pictures for Instagram − otherwise there’s no proof you completed the hike.
Cherry Creek State Park – Cherry Creek Trail
Cherry Creek State Park is home to camping, swimming, boating and … hiking. This park, wildly popular with locals and tourists alike, has it all (read in your best SNL Stefon voice) and is home to several hiking trails of varying difficulties. A majority of them welcome pets as long as they remain on a leash – which is great because the last thing you want is to recreate a Homeward Bound situation. The titular Cherry Creek Trail is perfect for getting a view of the park, the nearby city and the creek. When it gets a little too hot outside, your fur baby can take a quick dip in the creek before continuing your trot.
Elk Meadow Park – South Loop Trail
You and your pup can take in the vast majesty of Colorado from the beautiful Elk Meadow Park. The entire area has over 13 miles of hiking trails to explore. The South Loop Trail is one of the easier ones, perfect for a casual jaunt. The 1.5-hour hike is 2.6 miles long and features beautiful meadows, an old barn and plenty of pine trees. Your dog will love all the new smells and will be perplexed by the small dogs (aka squirrels) and big dogs with antlers (aka elk) along the path.
Glendale Farm Open Space and Trail
The quick Glendale Farm Open Space and Trail is perfect for you and your pup after a busy day of being separated – you leave for work every day and your dog thinks you are gone forever, so can you blame him? The Glendale Farm Trail is an easy 1.6-mile hike that takes approximately 45 minutes. With plenty of grassland and views of Cherry Creek, this trail allows you to enjoy the serenity of nature. The best part is that after the hike, you can let your pup off the leash at the 13-acre dog park adjacent to the trail.
Red Rocks Park – Red Rocks Trail
Do you wish to gander at beautifully imposing red monoliths as you cross through clear meadows with your four-legged companion? Red Rocks Park is the place to experience majesty and challenge your hiking skills. As you go down Red Rocks Trail, you and your dog will share Doge-like thoughts − Wow. Such majesty. This trail is perfect for the daring duo that is looking for a more moderate hiking challenge. Your awe and wonderment will pair well with your dog’s inner monologue of wanting to pee on the big rock. The hike is about three hours round trip, totaling 6 miles, so make sure to be prepared and pack plenty of water and snacks for you and your adventurous pup.
Hiking in Denver is a year-round activity, and our list has only touched the tip of the hiking iceberg. Each of these parks has multiple trails with varying levels of difficulty, so take in the great outdoors and do some exploration. Be sure to snap plenty of snaps of your dogs looking majestic and free – it’ll totally kill on your newsfeeds.
Just a friendly reminder: Not all parks and trails are the same, so review the rules before entering. Also, be sure that your dog is properly leash- and voice-trained. It’s important that hiking trails be left the way you found them, so pick up any waste your dog leaves behind. Hiking is a great activity that you and your dog can share, so get out there and find out what’s so great about the great outdoors.