Dog friendly hikes can be found all over the state. So if you like to take your dog hiking, this is where you'll see what I scouted out for you.
Are you ready for a hike with a dog on a Colorado hiking trail? O.K. then, let's go!
Dog Friendly Hikes Near Boulder
Boulder is a pretty dog friendly hiking area, and almost all of the following places allow leashed dogs unless otherwise noted in the description:
One-way distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: yes, at Camp Dick Campground;
Elevation: 9,223 feet at the falls
Directions to Timberline Falls trailhead: from Boulder, follow Hwy. 119 west through Boulder Canyon to the small town of Nederland. In Nederland, continue on and into the traffic circle, at which point you want to turn right onto CO Hwy. 72, which is the Peak to Peak Highway. Continue on and drive through the small town of Ward.
Start watching the mile markers…and when you see mile marker 49, prepare to turn left into the Peaceful Valley Campground just before mile marker 50. (You will see a sign on your right that says: “National Forest, Peaceful Valley, Camp Dick, 300 feet”, and it has an arrow pointing to the left. The first left-hand road you see is your turn-off; but it wasn’t marked at that spot, at the time of this writing.)
Once you’re in the Peaceful Valley Campground, turn left to the Camp Dick Campground. Then go to the west end of the campground and park in the parking lot. (There are about 30 spots there.)
This dog friendly hike starts at the far end of the parking lot. So from that point, follow the dirt road to the sign that says Timberline Falls/Buchanan Pass trail. At that sign, go to the right and follow the trail to the bridge. Cross the bridge, then follow the main trail to the left.
The trail to Timberline Falls is mostly level, or an easy uphill all the way to the falls. The main reason for the “moderate” in my rating is because many parts of the trail are rocky. The trail goes through a pine forest most of the way to the falls, but there are a few open areas along the way with meadows containing wild flowers.
This dog friendly trail also follows the creek most of the way. You can always either see it or hear it. There are also a few areas along the trail where you’ll see aspen trees; but not many. It would probably be pretty during the fall, although I wouldn’t do this hike specifically as a fall color hike.
Eventually, you’ll come to a spot on the trail where there is a large flat rock in front of you, just beyond and off of the trail. From the rock, you can vaguely see the creek through the thick trees, but you can’t really see the falls.
Just a short ways up the trail from that point, and on your left, is another large flat rock, and this one sits on the edge of a cliff. From there, you can kind of see the top of the falls, but not the rest. Don’t go too close to the edge since there is no barrier. Also, there are more trees here, so you can’t really see the falls very well, other than the top part.
I did see some side trails going down to the creek, but they were pretty steep so I didn’t venture down them although I would have loved to have had a better view of the falls. Still, the trail was pretty and fairly easy, and I know that my dog thought it was a good dog friendly hike :-). One last thing: don’t do this hike specifically for the waterfall, since it’s hard to get a good view of it. That’s why I haven’t put it on one of my waterfall pages.
Dog Friendly Hikes Near Estes Park
1) Lily Mountain
One-way distance-2.0 miles
Difficulty level-moderate to difficult
Directions: from Estes Park, go south on Highway 7 for about 5.7 miles. Then start looking for a small parking pullout on your right, (there is no actual parking lot), as well as a small brown sign saying Lily Mountain. Another hint that you've arrived at the trailhead is a blue call box. (Also on your right.) If you see mile marker 6, you've gone too far.
Parking at this trailhead is very limited so it's best to get there early. (There might be room for about five or six cars at best, on both sides of the road.) You can also try going there on week days, which are less busy.
The trail climbs high above the highway, taking you through ponderosa and lodgepole pines, so you'll have plenty of shade on warm days. Along the way, there are several spots where you can see the Estes Valley below, as well as the surrounding mountains. The last part of the trail becomes more difficult and involves some rock scrambling. We didn't attempt it but we hear that the view is worth it.
2) Coulson Gulch Trail #916 (To North Saint Vrain Creek)
One-way distance-2.8 miles
Directions: from Lyons, follow Hwy. 36 west for about nine miles. Pass through the small town of Pinewood Springs, then start looking for a sign saying National Forest Access. Turn left at this sign and you will be on Elk Meadows Rd. Follow this to a fork in the road, and take the left fork. It now becomes a dirt road but can be driven with a regular passenger car. From here, it's just a short distance to the trailhead and you can park on the side of the road.
The trail itself is a little tricky to find so here are directions to it: after passing by the fence, follow the dirt road to your left. Then keep walking straight for a short distance. On your right, you will see three wooden posts. There is no actual sign here, (at the time of this writing), but the trail starts to the right of the posts and heads down the hill.
Dogs can be off leash on this dog friendly hike and as you will see, the trail meanders back and forth across a small stream. You will mostly be going downhill but at one point, you'll have a short but fairly steep climb. At the top of this climb, you'll have a nice view of the surrounding foothills as well as a huge meadow down below.
Then you'll be going downhill again through the pines. After a short while, you'll come to a clearing where you'll find the remains of a small cabin. Soon after this cabin, you will come to the huge meadow that is known as Higgins Park. Keep following the trail along the meadow until you come to a fork in the trail.
Turn right at this fork and you will also see a small sign here that says: hiking trail. This is an old dirt road and is an easy walk. Just keep following it until eventually, (maybe around 25 minutes, depending on your walking speed), you will reach the bridge crossing North Saint Vrain Creek.
This is your turn around point for this dog friendly hike and now you have to hike back uphill for most of the way back to your car. But it'll be worth it and you can admire all the wild flowers along the trail when you stop for a drink of water and a rest. Also, there are plenty of shady resting spots. Have fun!
Dog Friendly Hikes Near Frisco
1) North Tenmile Creek
One-way distance: 3.5 miles
Difficulty level: moderate to easy
Approximate one-way hiking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Elevation: 9,070 feet at the trailhead
Directions to North Tenmile Creek trailhead: from the Denver area, go west on I-70 and take the Frisco exit, 201. As you’re coming off this exit, make a right into the parking area/trailhead, which is right there as you exit the highway-you can’t miss it. There is room for about 15 cars at the trailhead, and the trail starts on the other side of the gate.
The approximate one-way hiking time on this dog friendly hike is to the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness boundary sign. You can go further up the trail if you want, but we made this our turn-around point for this hike. Anyway, after going around the gate at the trailhead, you’ll walk for a few minutes until you see the sign on your right for the North Tenmile Creek Trail. You want to follow that.
There are a couple of places along this hike where the trail forks. They probably go to the same place but we followed the right forks and that seemed to work since we ended up at the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness sign.
The first mile or so of this dog friendly hike is kind of steep and rocky. After that the trail levels out more and is much easier and much less rocky. It follows the creek and at one point, there’s a small waterfall. You’ll hear it first and there’s a side trail you can follow to go down and see it. There are also various types of wildflowers along the trail, and the best time to see them is between about mid July to early August. Enjoy your hike :-).
Dog Friendly Hikes to Colorado Waterfalls
Do you like waterfalls as much as I do? And you want to hike to them with your furry friend? If so, just visit my Colorado waterfalls page, and see what you can see. Many of the waterfall hikes on that page are dog friendly, (unless otherwise noted), so just pick one, and have fun. :-)
Dog Friendly Hikes to Colorado Lakes
Here are some doggie hikes on my Colorado lakes page. Although dogs are not allowed on the trails at Rocky Mountain National Park, or the trail to Hanging Lake, they are allowed at St. Mary's Glacier and the other lakes on the above page. So, pick one that you like and have a great hike. :-)
I will be adding more dog friendly hikes to this page from time to time, so keep checking back.