Coloradans are known for loving their pups. We love to take them on our adventures with us and experience the world at our side. If you love to hike with your dog, chances are that you also love to camp but that can get a bit tricky with a furry companion. That’s why we created this guide to give you some pointers on how to make your camping experience with your canine a bit better. You can also take a look at these other guides for inspiration.
Keep Your Dog Within Your Campsite
Your dog needs to stay with you at all times and stay at your campsite. Even if the campsite allows for dogs to be off leash, your dog cannot be wondering into other campsites and into other people’s spaces. This is for everyone’s safety and makes sure that you can have your pup stay out of any trouble that may arise with having a dog out in the wild.
Bring Enough Food and Water For Your Trip
Not only do you have to pack enough food and water for yourself but you have to pack enough food and water for your doggo. Make sure you measure out the amount of food your dog will need for your trip and add a couple more scoops to it to make sure you will have enough to feed them. Now is not the time to feed your dog unusual food, stick with their normal diet to keep them healthy and safe. Also, make sure to have enough clean drinking water for your pup to drink. If you plan on hiking they will be thirsty as well and you do not want them drinking unsafe water filled with parasites and bacteria that will make them sick.
Leave No Trace
If you are picking up your trash, pick up theirs too. Be sure to pick up that dog poop and toss it in the trash. No one likes it when they come across dog poop anywhere. Leaving dog waste around is rude but it also leads to negative environmental impacts such as water contamination, killing off plants and introducing toxins to wildlife.
Sleeping with a Dog in Your Tent
Make sure your sleeping situation is planned beforehand. You do not want to get ready for the night to realize that you do not have enough room for you and your furry friend(s) in your tent. Don’t let your dog sleep outside where you are not able to keep an eye on its whereabouts. If you are not sleeping in a tent, then make sure your dog is secured next to you and cannot wander or leave your side.
Secure Unsafe Items
If you plan on bringing any types of chemicals or items that are not safe for your dog to get into then make sure to bring a container or containers that you can secure those items in. The last thing you want on a camping trip with your dog is for them to get into something that will make them sick and end up at an emergency vet clinic.
Plan, Plan, Plan
In the end, it is all about planning. Ensure that you have planned out your camping trip with all of the details you can possibly imagine. Plan out multiple walks and hikes to tire your animal out to ensure that everyone is happy and calm when you get to your campsite to camp for the evening. It is much better to camp with a tired pup than a dog who hasn’t had enough exercise during the day. If you haven’t gone on a trip with your dog before, plan on a shorter one to start to get a sense of how they will do. Remember, this is a new environment for your pup, which can be scary. It might not work out but it also can be awesome if you make a happy and calm experience.
Speaking of waste, bring poop bags to pick up that doggy poo up with. You can purchase them at any pet supply store and they are worth it. This item falls under the Leave No Trace rule, so pick it up and bring it back with you to camp and throw it away. If there are not any trash receptacles, you are bringing that crap with you.
If you have more than one dog, picket lines are a great way to keep your dog tethered to one place while still giving them a little bit of freedom. These lines make sure your dogs stay in one place so that they cannot roam around and leave your sight.
Common Sense Items
These are items such as a food and water bowl and other bits that you feel that you and your pup need to survive camping for however long you have planned. If your dog gets a bit nervous in new situations think about bringing a thunder vest or a calming aid. Make sure you have a leash, dog safe treats, poop bags and whatever items your dog depends on.
Thankfully Colorado is pretty great for dog-friendly accommodations so there are quite a few campgrounds that can host you and your canine. These include:
Bear Lake Campground
Bear Lake Campground is right within the San Isabel National Forest. The campground is nestled in the Culebra Range Mountains with an elevation of 10,480 feet giving you and your dog a gorgeous view of the peaks as you camp. Bear Lake is a quick eighth of a mile jaunt from the campground making for beautiful hiking. The rates are currently $21 per night here.
Rifle Falls Campground
Rifle Falls Campground is situated right in the heart of Rifle Falls State Park. The campground is open year-round making it accessible for whenever you want to take your pup on a wild adventure with you. Dogs must be kept on a six-foot or smaller leash at all times so no free roaming and you cannot leave them unattended at any time. Check for more information and rates here.
Glacier Basin Campground
Explore the magic of Estes Park and camp with your canine at Glacier Basin Campground. The campground features amazing views in the Rocky Mountain National Park with access to multiple trailheads for optimal hiking opportunities to tire you and your pup out. Check here for information on rates.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
If you don’t want to travel to far out of Denver to have a camping adventure, Cherry Creek Reservoir is the perfect happy medium. The campgrounds offer different tent sites, purchasable firewood, access to off-leash dog areas and more. You can explore the reservoir’s trails and even let your pup take a dip in some cool water while you are at it. Check here for more information.
Peak One and Pine Cove Campgrounds
At just over an hours drive from Denver, you can camp with your dog at the Peak One and Pine Cove Campgrounds. The campgrounds present beautiful mountain views right on the Frisco Peninsula overlooking the Lake Dillion Reservoir. You do have to keep your dog on a leash at all times as leash laws are enforced but the campgrounds are super close to the town of Frisco and the town of Breckenridge so there are tons of adventures in waiting. More information here.
Winding River Resort
Take a chance to explore the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho National Forest while camping at the Winding River Resort. The resort offers camper cabins, RV sites and tent sites available for rent. The resort is dog-friendly but you do have to keep your canine on a leash to keep them and the animals that are kept on the land safe and happy. For more information check here.
You can also search through Colorado Parks & Wildlife and check the dog-friendly tab to find more campgrounds.
Camping with your dog(s) can be an amazing bonding experience but remember if you are new to it, these are new environments with new smells, sounds and sights. Be patient with your dog and keep calm and really do keep your pet on a leash. Happy camping.