15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Colorado

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husking is having fun at the cedaredge in a dog friendly vacation in colorado

Located in the Southern Rocky Mountain area on the Colorado Plateau, Colorado is a large state with almost 5.9 million residents and an estimated 983,000 dogs. It is surrounded by Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming and filled with all sorts of terrains like deserts, plateaus, canyons, mesas, plains, forests, and mountains as well as rivers, lakes, and streams. 

About 70% of the population lives in the foothills at the eastern end of the Rocky Mountains but everywhere you go in the state, there is always a stunning view of the mountains. The climate is more complex as well because of all the different terrain. For example, unlike most states, the southern section of the state is not warmer than the northern section because they are affected by the mountains. But it is generally cold in the winter and warm in the summer. 

The wildlife in Colorado varies depending on the area as well with pronghorn, mountain goats, and moose in the mountains and deer, coyotes, and foxes in the plateaus and valleys. In the prairies, you will see prairie dogs, badgers, and jackrabbits as well. With 42 state parks, 10 national parks, and hundreds of community parks, there are plenty of places to play outdoors. Here are our top 15 vacation spots in Colorado for dog parents. 


Denver is the capital and the most populated city in Colorado, with 715,000 people and about 110,000 fur babies. They call it the mile-high city because its elevation is exactly one mile, which is 5,280 feet. Even though it is known for its snow-capped mountains, Denver is the perfect place for a summer vacation with the family because of the Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park. However, no dogs are allowed so you will have to get a sitter for your pup.

The park has 65 acres of fun space with 40 rides including six roller coasters, two water rides, and tons of games and entertainment. They even have a summer concert series with big names like Lee Ann Womack and Sara Evans. You will not go hungry there, with 25+ eating cuisines from hotdogs and burgers to turkey legs. 

Finally, let your fur baby get out and play, too. Take him to one of the 13 dog parks in the city. Lowry Dog Park is one of the best with agility equipment and a separate small dog section. 

Colorado Springs 

Couples with dogs enjoy Colorado Springs because of its quaint bed and breakfast, Old Town Guest House. The lovely Victorian home has some incredibly decorated rooms, each one unique, with private balconies, hot tubs, and fireplaces. While you are in town, don’t miss the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. The 40-room buildings were built 1,000 years ago by the Anasazi people. Then, take your two best friends to D’Vine Wine, where you can sample homemade wine and see it being made. 

If you would rather have a beer, go to Red Leg Brewing Company in Garden of the Gods. They have lots of outdoor seating for everyone. If you have a small pooch, head over to Miramont Castle Museum next. They can join you inside the castle as well as on the grounds of the Victorian garden. 

Then, let Fido run out all that excess energy at Fox Run Dog Park. There are five fenced acres with seating, shade, water, bags, and a small dog area too. 

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests 

With 3,000 miles of trails, 3,600 miles of streamers, 10 wilderness areas, and six mountain peaks. The GMUG National Forest is so huge and full of activities that you would have to stay for months to do it all. And they have enough campgrounds for you to do just that if you have the time. There are 56 campgrounds in this forest, with more than 1,000 campsites, from rugged basic sites with portapotties to RV sites with full utilities, showers, and even dog parks. 

If you plan to hike with your fur baby, you have plenty of trails to choose from. There are literally over 1,000 trails to enjoy. Even in the winter, you can do some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many of the trails lead to lakes, rivers, and streams so be sure to get a Colorado fishing license and bring your gear. 

Gunnison also has an off-leash dog park so your cuddle buddy can play without the restraints of his leash. It has a bunch of tunnels, jumps, and other agility fun too. 


If you are on a tight budget, Aurora has over a dozen pet-friendly hotels with rooms under $100. Seven of them have pools to swim in as well. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott has an indoor pool, free breakfast and Wi-Fi, and a fitness center for just $85. Sylo Hotel by Ramada has all that plus a shuttle service and family rooms for $89! Towneplace Suites by Marriott has all that and a barbecue area for $98.

After all the traveling, Fido will need to do some running around too. Take him to Grandview Dog Park where they have a special small dog area and two ponds on five acres. And Chatfield Dog Park has a whopping 70 acres of off-leash play area. However, make sure he is voice-controlled or you may be chasing him around the place. 

If you need to do some shopping, don’t leave your fur baby behind. Denver Premium Outlets has 82 shops and eateries, many of them dog-friendly.  

Fort Collins 

With almost 170,000 residents, Fort Collins is not a small town, and it has a lot to do for pup parents because there are also about 27,000 dogs living there. Spring Canyon Dog Park is the first place your pooch will want to go. There are fun concrete tunnels and a large pond here with a space for small and shy dogs as well as seating, water, baggies, and shade. Then, stop off at Snowbank Brewing, where you can get a beer while your pup hangs out. 

Take the time to stop by Riverbend Ponds Natural Area along the Poudre River. There are some excellent fishing spots here, as well as 200 species of birds and several miles of trails to explore. Just keep your pup on a leash and bring doggie bags to pick up after him. Take him on the 12.3-mile Poudre Trail, which goes from the Bellevue Watson Fish Hatchery to the CSU Environmental Learning Center. 

When it starts getting dark, pack up your pup and some snacks and go watch a movie at Holiday Twin Drive-In. They are allowed to be out of the car, too but they have to be leashed. It is the perfect summer getaway.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park 

The Black Canyon has over 30,000 acres of varied terrain from the canyon to the river, with many streams and lakes in between. It is a great place to take your fur baby camping because there are two campgrounds with more than 90 sites to choose from. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance because they go fast. They all have picnic tables and fire rings and some have bear boxes too. There are also some RV sites with utilities. 

There are lots of bears in the park so keep your pup nearby and on a leash.  You will see some of the fastest-moving water and steepest cliffs with the Gunnison River dropping 34 feet per mile on average. The canyon got its name because it is so steep, you cannot see inside of it so it always looks black. 

Let Fido run around free of his leash at Montrose Dog Park in town before heading to the campground so he can get rid of the zoomies. It has 4.25 acres in Cerise Park along the Uncompahgre River Recreational Trail.


Plan your weekend getaway with your pup at Lakewood, where they have several fantastic parks, such as Bear Creek Lake Park, with 2,600 acres for swimming, hiking, camping, and fishing. And with a population of 155,000 people with 25,000 dogs, you will probably see some of them running around. You can have a barbecue at one of the picnic areas, take a walk on one of the trails, or just enjoy the beauty of Colorado. 

For something different, take Fido to the Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park and Museum. They have several indoor and outdoor tours, and some are dog-friendly. Just keep him on a leash and bring lots of doggie bags. Then, you can go to Forsberg Off-Leash Dog Park at Forsberg Iron Spring Park. It has a special small dog section and lots of running space. 

Afterward, Piggin’ Out Smokehouse is where to go for some smoked meats like ribs, sausages, and turkey. There is lots of outdoor seating at this outdoor restaurant. 

Crested Butte 

When you think of a romantic weekend, you probably think of a cozy bed and breakfast, a picnic in the park, and a walk in the woods. Crested Butte has all that and then some! First, there are two dog-friendly bed and breakfasts, the Cristiana Guesehaus and Old Town Inn. They both have excellent gourmet breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, cozy, intimate rooms, and adorable decor. They are also both surrounded by forests, mountains, and parks full of wildflowers. Perfect for that wooded walk and picnic.

But if you come during the winter, you are close to the Nordic Center, which has an ice skating rink and cross-country skiing. Just up the road, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is also pet-friendly and has a gym, spa, restaurant, indoor pool, and hot tub. It also has 121 skiable trails on over 1,500 acres with 15 lifts and a high elevation of 12,162 feet. 

Then, grab a bite to eat at Pine Creek Cookhouse, which has the best lunch and dinner experience in the state, according to locals. 

Mesa Verde National Park 

Colorado is full of stunning mountains, dramatic canyons, and beautiful waters. But Mesa Verde National Park is special because of its many national monuments, including Aztec Ruins, Cila Cliff Dwellings, Casa Grande Ruins, Bears Ears, and a dozen others. The 52,485-acre park is also full of rock art, ancient shelters, and rock formations. And your fur baby is welcome to join you here as long as he is leashed. 

Although much of the wilderness and archaeological areas are off-limits to visitors, there is plenty to see and do in this World Heritage Site. It is also an International Dark Sky Park, making it a perfect place for stargazing. If you want to stay for a while, be sure to book a spot early because the Morefield Campground only has 267 campsites.

Nearby, you can let Fido off the leash at Cortez Dog Park which has a large fenced area for all dogs to play together. For something bigger, take him to Cottonwood Park where he will have a river to play in too.  


The city of Boulder is located in north central Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains and has a population of just over 108,000 residents and approximately 18,000 dogs. You have more than 100 dog-friendly vacation rentals to pick from, including the luxurious Kimpton Hotel Monaco, which has a gym, restaurant, bar, room service, and premium bath amenities. Brookfield Harvest has an indoor pool, two restaurants, a gym, and family rooms.

For something fun to do with your dog on your getaway, try a scavenger hunt. The dog-friendly Boulder Scavenger Hunt Along the Foothills is about 1.7 miles long and lasts for 1.5 fun hours. If you like thrills and chills, take the Denver Terrors Tour. They take you on a one-mile walk along Millionaire’s Row. 

Then, take Fido to play unleashed at one of the four off-leash dog parks. Valmont has 3.25 acres, Howard Heuston Dog Park has 1.25 acres but is only partially fenced, Foothills Dog Park has two acres, and East Boulder Dog Park has almost two acres and a lake. 

Glenwood Springs 

Pack up the family, including your fur baby, and head to Glenwood Springs for a family fun adventure at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Although dogs are not allowed in the park, you can leave him with a pet sitter, which they have several in the area. Then, you and the kiddos can go check out the exciting fun at the park. It has 13 adventure rides including three roller coasters, lots of games, and other entertainment. They also have tours you can take.  

There is also a zip line and a 4D theater with seats that move so you feel like you are really there. In the winter, the adventure park turns into a winter wonderland with an alpine coaster, gondola, trails, cave tours, laser tag, and more.

But Glenwood Springs is also known for its hot springs with natural springs that get up to 100 degrees F. Yampa Hot Springs has underground steam baths, and Iron Mountain Hot Springs has soaking pools. Then, stop at River Trail Dog Park at O’Leary Park to let your pup play in the tunnels and other fun doggie playground equipment. 

Rocky Mountain National Park 

You cannot visit Colorado without seeing the Rocky Mountain National Park, and since dogs are welcome, you have no reason not to. There are more than 265,460 acres to explore, and it would take weeks to do everything there is to do. Luckily, they have five campgrounds with over 600 campsites, so you can stay for a while if you book in advance. You can camp for seven nights in a row, so if you book seven days at each campground, you can stay for over a month!

The park has everything you could want to do in the summer, from boating, swimming, and fishing to hiking, biking, and picnicking. Beginning hikers love this place because it has more than 350 miles of hiking and biking trails.  Bear Lake is one of the most pup popular because it is easy, only a half-mile, and leads to a lake. For more of a challenge, try the 2.3-mile Cub Lake Trail or the 2.8-mile Mills Lake Trail. 

With so many lakes in the park, make sure you remember your fishing license, gear, and sunscreen. Also, bring plenty of doggie bags and water. 


This small town in the middle of Colorado is a winter haven for skiers. In fact, Monarch Mountain is not just famous because of its slopes, it is also pup popular as one of the most dog-friendly ski areas in Colorado. Although there are only about 5,600 people with around 900 dogs living there, you will probably see some of them at the ski lodge. The lodge also has a restaurant, bar, hot tub, indoor pool, and golf course. 

With a top elevation of almost 12,000 feet, 800 skiable acres, 63 trails, five lifts, and two terrain parks, you will stay busy for the whole time you are here. They also have special trails for snowboarding and snowmobiling. Although your pup cannot join you on the lifts, he is welcome on the cross-country and snowshoeing trails. 

Salida also has a dog park. Loyal Duke’s Dog Park is fully fenced and has a separate area for small dogs as well as seating, water, and waste stations for pup parents. 


Golden has a variety of dog-friendly places to stay, including the budget-friendly La Quinta Inn by Wyndham for $84 with a pool and free breakfast and the luxurious and unique Origin Hotel Red Rocks, which boasts a fitness center, several restaurants, bar, free breakfast, and room service. They are both near attractions like the Buffalo Bill Museum, Flagstaff Mountain, and Apex Park. They are also close to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, where you can hike, camp, and fish. 

If you want to take a hike, the easiest and shortest is the 1.1-mile Genesee Summit Trail through the woods and wildflowers. For something a bit longer, Lookout Mountain Trail is about three miles with some incredible views. If you are an experienced hiker, you can try the 5.4-mile Dakota Ridge Trail, with lots of ups and downs. 

Don’t forget to let Fido run around off the leash for a while. If the trails do not have any off-leash areas, take him to Tony Grampsas Dog Park. It has 2.5 acres with a creek and a safety fence.

State Forest State Park 

Those who want to sleep under the stars will enjoy camping at State Forest State Park. There are five different campgrounds with 150 campsites. The Crags has 25 sites with water and vault toilets, Ranger Lakes has 31 sites with electricity, North Michigan has 13 sites with water, restrooms, and boat ramps, Bockman has 52 sites with a horse corral, and North Park has 29 sites with electric and water. There are also 40 primitive sites around the park. 

Water activities here are fun, too with boating, fishing, swimming, and floating on North Michigan Reservoir, and fishing at Ranger Lakes. There are many other lakes, streams, and ponds to enjoy as well. Fishing for trout is popular at Big Creek, Lake John, and several others.

The park also has hiking trails, from short and easy walks under a mile to rugged hikes over 20 miles long. During the winter, these trails turn into cross-country trails if you like to do that. Just remember the doggie bags to pick up after your pupster.

The Final Woof

With more than 6,600 rental properties that allow dogs in Colorado, you will not have any problem finding a place to stay, whether you are searching for a hotel, motel, resort, bed and breakfast, or campground. There are also more than 2,000 pet popular restaurants, 250 dog-friendly trails, 120+ dog parks, and several dog beaches in Colorado. If you are bringing the kids, both Denver and Glenwood Springs have amusement parks. For those who want to hike or camp, there are several places like Rocky Mountain National Park, State Forest State Park, and Mesa Verde National Park, to name a few. And for those on a budget, Aurora has hotel rooms under $100 and free dog parks. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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