Here's a Great Dane-sized brag: Colorado is one of the most dog-friendly states in the country. And with all of our prime-for-playing-in, big-skied outdoor spaces, we’re pretty much a puppy paradise.
So next time you hit the road, don’t leave those good girls and boys back home. Take a look at some of the many ways you can splurge and save on your canine companions.
EXCITING OUTDOOR TREATS
Cross-country skiing meets dog sledding with this sport, where you’ll undoubtedly strengthen your bond with barking BFFs. High Country Dogs in Glenwood Springs will show you the ropes with indoor training sessions followed by fun in the winter sun.
Nordic skiing (Splurge)
Traverse trails groomed as neatly as a well-trimmed Westie at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash. The location boasts nearly 75 miles of award-winning corduroy, with plenty of on-leash options for furry friends. (Tip: At nearby Winter Park Resort, make a donation to Grand County Pet Pals and get a souvenir ski pass for your pup.)
There are numerous trails to sniff out at Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs, including two off-leash dog loops just south of the main entrance. Bound up erosion-sculpted ridges and wander winding paths hugging ruddy sandstone formations.
Earn some turns with your pup at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin to locals) by skinning up the slopes — for those not in the know, that’s uphill skiing with specialized equipment — during designated hours after the lifts stop running. We guarantee both you and your pup will have a blast frolicking in that fresh pow pow on the way up and down.
TOP BARK PARKS
Rita Valentine Park, Steamboat Springs (Save)
Gorgeous Park Range backdrops and 15-plus acres of off-leash play space make this the perfect place for romping in that sweet, local Champagne Powder® with your four-pawed pals.
Durango Off-Leash Dog Area (Save)
The city of Durango absolutely adores doggos, as evidenced by its 5 acres for fun frolics at the base of Smelter Mountain. While in town, you can also stroll the 7-mile Animas River Trail.
The Watering Bowl, Denver (Splurge)
It’s playtime for everyone at this tavern/dog-park hybrid that features ample outdoor space for pupcakes and weekday yappy hour specials for humans. Hungry? Fill up on pizza or calzones, and order special desserts for pooches.
Loyal Duke's Dog Park, Salida (Save)
Named after the legendarily loyal companion of an 1800s rail worker, this cozy fenced park brings the fun with tunnels and is a quick drive to the dog-friendly downtown area.
Bighorn Park, Vail (Save)
An abundance of walking trails and open off-leash areas in this neighborhood park mean your pups can make friends with the local labs and lhasa apsos.
Pub Dog Colorado, Colorado Springs (Splurge)
This club isn’t your standard breed: Here you can wine and dine indoors with your doggo. Sip a Bloodhound Bloody Mary with a Cuban or Reuben while your canine pals lap up Bowser Beers and chow down on puppy patties, bacon and bark bowls loaded with sweet potato and brown rice.
Some Helpful Hints: At most off-leash parks in Colorado, dogs will need to be within your line of sight and under voice control. That means if you give a command, they answer the first time. If your pup is a wild child, read park signs to make sure they’re allowed to roam untethered. Also, make sure your pup leaves nothing but adorable pawprints behind. Pack out their poop — even in wilderness areas — and toss it in the nearest trash can.
The Little Nell, Aspen (Splurge)
There’s no ruffing it here, where pup-friendly fancy feasts star local beef or grilled salmon with carrots, brown rice and scrambled eggs. Dog beds, bowls and grooming are all available, and you can even pick up a Puppy Jet Lag Kit. Want a night off leash? Ask about dog-walking and pet-sitting services. Or, take your furry friends on the Aspen Gondola for a one-of-a-kind adventure.
The Ruby of Crested Butte (Splurge)
The puppy perks are off the chain at this luxury bed-and-breakfast. Expect to see the ruby-red carpet rolled out with dog beds, bowls and homemade treats — biscuits for dogs and fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon buns for people. Bonus: Half the $20 pet fee is donated to an animal shelter.
Hotel Teatro, Denver (Save)
Lavish canine cohorts in fetching upscale accommodations (for free!) in the heart of dog-loving Denver. The staff is happy to arrange pawdicures so dashing dachshunds can strut their stuff in style, and certified canine massage therapists will give your No. 1 buddies more than belly rubs.
O-Bar-O Cabins, Durango (Save)
With five dedicated dog cabins and the fenced O-Bark-O Corral Dog Park, your pups will be living the luxe life. Pooches will enjoy plush beds, drool-worthy snacks and a toy while you revel in river views and vacation packages that include massages followed by cookies and cocoa.
Hotel Columbia, Telluride (Splurge)
This boutique luxury hotel nestled between soaring mountain peaks welcomes your doggos like family. Your pedigree pals will thump their tails for gourmet elk-jerky treats, their own special bowls and comfy beds.
TIPS FOR SMART & SAFE WINTER TRAVEL WITH PUPS
- A pawful of our cities and towns have breed restrictions, as do many lodgings. Do some digging on local laws and hotel policies to make sure your best four-legged friends are allowed.
- Likewise, look up area leash laws and trail guidelines before planning your route.
- Big floofy dogs will love our winter weather, but less cold-hardy breeds may want to tuck tail and run. Keep pups warm by knowing their ideal outdoor temps and with styling accessories like coats and snow booties. Stock up on doggy gear with Denver-based OutwardHound.com.
- Pack snacks and lots of extra H2O for Fido before going on hikes or outside excursions.
- Our awesome altitudes affect pooches just like they do people; though they can be so eager to please, they might not let on. Take it easy on ’em when you’re playing outdoors. (After all, it’s their vacation, too!)
- Bring along vaccination records. You’ll need them on hand at many hotels and for some activities.
Photo Credit: Getty Images