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Best dog-friendly hikes in Colorado

The Dumb Friends League’s first ever virtual hiking challenge, Peaks for Pets, is underway! Get outside with friends, family and four-legged companions to enjoy the great outdoors. Hike throughout the month of September while earning incentives for the elevation you gain, and feel good knowing that your registration fee goes toward helping homeless pets.

While hiking with your pup during Peaks for Pets is certainly not mandatory, it is absolutely encouraged when conditions allow! If you’re wondering what the best dog-friendly hikes are in Colorado, you’re in luck! We have put together a list of our favorite hikes for both you and your furry companion to enjoy while hiking for pets in need. Whether you and your pup are looking for a beginner, intermediate or advanced hike, this list has something for everyone.

To make sure that you and your dog are safe while hiking, it’s helpful to look up the hike beforehand so that you can read reviews to help you prepare. View our tips for keeping your pup safe while hitting the trails here.

Beginner Hikes:

Flatirons Vista North Trail – Boulder, CO

Length: 2.3 miles

Elevation gain: 200 ft.

The Flatirons Vista North Trail is perfect for anyone who is looking to take an easier hike with their pup. This trail is an out and back that gives you amazing views of the majestic Flatiron Mountains in Boulder. The hike is fairly flat, which is great for dogs (or humans!) who may not be as advanced at hiking. Be sure to keep your pup on a leash, as wildlife is often spotted on this trail!

Turquoise Lake – Leadville, CO

Length: 11 miles

Elevation gain: 433 ft.

Turquoise lake is an absolutely beautiful hiking trail near Leadville, This area is fantastic for dogs, but please keep in mind that they do need to be kept on a leash at all times. Because this 11-mile trail is an out and back, you can make it however long you’d like! If your dog loves water, they will love this hike, as it stays along the lakeside for most of the trail. If you’re looking for a beautiful hike that is not too challenging, this is the one for you!

Castlewood Canyon Falls Trail – Franktown, CO

Length: 1.1 miles

Elevation gain: 134 ft.

Although the Castlewood Canyon Falls Trail does not have a ton of elevation gain, it is a great loop close to Denver that you and your pup will both enjoy! The hike is wonderful as it caters to all skill levels, so don’t feel like you need to be an expert hiker for this one. Be on the lookout for views of a beautiful waterfall as you make your trek.

Coyote Song Trail – South Valley Park, CO

Length: 2.6 miles

Elevation gain: 344 ft.

The Coyote Song Trail is a fantastic hike to take along your less experienced or older dogs to enjoy. This 2.6-mile trail offers beautiful views and astounding rock formations. You’ll likely see wildlife, so make sure to keep your dog safe and have them on a leash at all times. There are several other hikes and trails in the same area, so it’s a great location to get multiple hikes in!

Intermediate Hikes:

Maxwell Falls Lower Trail – Evergreen, CO

Length: 4.2 miles

Elevation gain: 875 ft.

Get ready for a scenic hike as you and your canine companion complete this beautiful loop! This trail is located in Arapahoe National Forest, and it has everything — waterfalls, wildflowers, plenty of elevation gain and lots of forested shade. For the safety of you and your dog, please make sure to keep them on a leash, as you will pass by lots of other dogs on this hike.

Herman Gulch Trail – Idaho Springs, CO

Length: 7 miles

Elevation gain: 1,781

The Herman Gulch Trail is very well maintained and is perfect for those that want to gain some elevation while enjoying all that nature has to offer with their dog. This trail provides beautiful scenery throughout and greets you with a gorgeous lake at the top.

Idaho Springs Reservoir – Idaho Springs, CO

Length: 4.3 miles

Elevation gain: 761 ft.

This hike has a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for a hike that has beautiful views, wildflowers, and a fantastic reservoir, this is the trail for you. This trail begins going down (which means you will have some uphill on the way back!), and the initial descent can be quite rocky, so make sure that you and your pup are prepared for a little bit of a scramble. On your way to the reservoir you will encounter wildlife, a creek and plenty amazing views. The last bit to the top may seem daunting, but once you get there, it will all be worth it!

Advanced Hikes:

Huron Peak – Buena Vista, CO

Length: 7 miles

Elevation gain: 3,405 ft.

If you’re looking to earn those incentive items, Huron Peak is the hike for you! This trail is a dog-friendly 14er, and with more than 3,000 feet of elevation gain, you’ll definitely be feeling the burn when you’re finished. As with all hiking trails on this list, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. This trail is best for both dogs and humans that are experienced hikers. Be ready for the last scramble to the top of the peak, it’s not for the faint of heart! Be prepared and pack plenty of water, snacks and layers.

Mt. Bierstadt – Silver Plume, CO

Length: 7.5 miles

Elevation gain: 2,782 ft.

Mt. Bierstadt is a fantastic hike for those looking to complete a Colorado 14er! This is the most difficult hike for dogs our on list, as you will encounter quite a bit of rocks and scrambling as you make your way to the top of the peak. For this reason, make sure that both you and your pup are fully prepared and experienced to take on this trail. On your way to the top you can expect to see mountain goats, wildflowers and breathtaking views! This hike, as with most 14ers, is best to begin early in the morning to avoid those classic Colorado afternoon rain showers and thunderstorms.

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