As the weather gets warmer and more trails open for hiking, you will probably want to know the best trails to hike on with your dog. Even though Coloradans love their dogs, not every trail is dog-friendly. For the best trick and tips about hiking with your dog make sure to read our guide here. Before setting out, be aware that some of these hikes and parks are not free. Some require payment for parking and others require you to pay an entrance fee. However, these small fees are in place to help keep the land safe and clean so that they are available to you and your pup to enjoy.
So, did someone say “walk?” Grab those leashes, fill up on water, pack some treats and get your dog into open space this summer, with our list of dog-friendly trails that you and your furry friend can have access to.
Glendale Farm Trail at Douglas County Open Space
This 1.6-mile loop can be accessed at a trailhead located at 12300 S Havana Street. The easy trail is open to dogs on a leash and after you finish the loop you can let your dog off leash in a 17-acre dog park. The trail is open during all seasons and is only about 40 minutes away from Denver. It’s the perfect spot for dogs who like to run and for humans who prefer a moderate workout.
Platte River Greenway Trail in Denver
If you don’t want to leave the city this trail is your best bet. The trail is right along the Platte River and brings you on a five-hour hike that leads to a beach by the water. The Adams County area used to be full of agricultural businesses so you can still catch a glimpse of some farms and sweet views.
Mary Carter Greenway Trail in Littleton
This trail is also a good match if you aren’t looking to drive too far. It’s only about 15 minutes outside of Denver, making it a fast trip for great views. The 8-mile stretch follows a section of the South Platte River, which might bring some cooler temperatures in the summer heat, but the path is mostly paved. While you’re down there, you can take a stroll through Littleton’s downtown area too.
Barr Lake State Park
This park features one trail that is dog-friendly. You can hike on the 8.9-mile Lake Perimeter Trail and keep your dog on a leash for a “ruff” adventure. The park is near Brighton and serves as a wildlife preserve, so be warned that dogs are not allowed in any area considered a refuge for those animals. If you’re wanting to take a gander beyond the Lake Perimeter Trail, you’ll have to leave the pup at home.
Apex Park Trials
Apex Park Trails offer a 6.7-mile loop comprised of the Enchanted Forest Trail and the Pick N’ Sledge Trail. The loop is right outside of Golden and is very popular. Dogs are allowed on the trail, however, they must be leashed and not afraid of bicycles zooming past.
Take a 45-minute drive out of Denver to Mount Sanitas for a moderate to easy hike. You can pick between a 2-mile hike or a 3.1-mile hike and take your time to look at the views. Dogs are allowed on a leash on the loop and the trail is open all year round.
North Cheyenne Cañon Park
You can wander around 56 miles of trails at North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The park is in Colorado Springs near Helen Hunt Falls. You can pick how difficult you want your hike to be as there are trails ranging from easy to hard. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times due to wildlife activity.
Elk Range Trail
This dog-friendly trail is an easy 6.6-mile hike that you can wear out your dog on. The trail is located in Centennial Cone Park close to Golden. Make sure to plan on hiking on odd-numbered weekend days as the trail is closed on even-numbered weekend days for bikers.
Greenland Open Space Trail Near Larkspur
This trail loop is dog-friendly if you keep your pup on a leash. You can hike the easy trail for up to 10 miles if you please and view the gorgeous grasslands of Colorado. The trail is about an hour outside of Denver located just on the outskirts of Larkspur.
Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail
Take a Drive near Loveland and hike on the 4.3-mile Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail. The trail is extremely popular and an easy hike, so be aware of other hikers with dogs on your journey. Dogs must be kept on leashes but are welcome to join your adventures.
Forsythe Canyon to Waterfall and Gross Reservoir
This 2.2-mile trail is located close to the friendly and old-school hippie town of Nederland and features gorgeous views and a lake to cool you and your pup down when you reach it. The trail ranges from easy to moderate and is very popular, especially with families. There’s even an updated trailhead with a restroom, which you might need after driving from Denver.
For another hike near Nederland, and a short drive on the scenic Peak to Peak highway, head to Rainbow Lakes for an easy 2.6-mile hike. The trail features a journey to a lake where you can take a dip to wash off your sweat. The trail is heavily trafficked so make sure your dog is comfortable around people and other animals.
This trailhead features more than 10 different trails to follow, from the easy to hard skill levels. Each of the trails is dog-friendly but make sure to keep your canine on a leash. The trailhead is located near Nederland and right by another hiking location, Mineral Mountain trailhead, which also allows dogs. Expect to park up to a few miles away from the trailhead on busy summer weekends, making even the shortest hike more than four miles.
Frazer Meadow Trail in Golden
This gorgeous hike is right inside of the Golden Gate Canyon State Park. You can try four different trails at different difficulties to burn off your dog’s energy and get your miles in. The trail is right near Golden, which is an easy trek from Denver, so no worries about complicated drives.
Hermit Park Open Space
This open space located in Estes Park features a myriad of trails. You can choose from 13 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate skill level. You should make it a weekend trip as the park features a campground, a picnic area and more.
North Table Mountain Park Trailhead
This trailhead features two trails for you and your pup to travel on. You can choose from the North Table – Tilting Mesa – Mesa Top Loop, which is a 3.2-mile loop or you can take a longer hike on the North Table loop, which is 5.9-miles long. The trailhead is right outside of Golden.
White Ranch Park in Golden
This is the largest open space park in Jefferson County and has six different dog-friendly trails for you to choose from, covering over 20 miles. You can take the easiest route, the 2.95-mile Sawmill Trail or one of the hardest, the 9-mile Belcher Hill Trail. Make sure you pick up after pup and keep them on a leash. Bicyclists on this route must yield to all other users, but still stay aware while on the trail — you don’t want your dog getting scared or jumping on anyone.
Eldorado Canyon State Park – Walker Ranch
Eldorado Canyon State Park has six trails that are available to dog owners. You can hike the easiest Fowler Trail that is 1.4-miles long or you and your pup can challenge yourselves and take the longest trail, the Walker Ranch Lollipop Loop, which is 14-miles long. This park is about one hour outside of Denver.