Are you looking to hike with your furry friend this weekend near Denver, Colorado?
If so, then you are on the right page!
There are lots of hiking trails that welcome dogs, and many of them are within an hour’s drive from Denver.
- Tips for Hiking with Your Dog
- The Complete Dog Hiking Gear List
- 10 Best Hiking Dogs
- 9 Best Small Dogs for Hiking
To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the best dog-friendly hikes near Denver, Colorado.
1. Plymouth Mountain Loop
The Plymouth Mountain Loop in the gorgeous Deer Creek Canyon Park is only about 40 minutes drive from Denver. This trail is approximately 6 miles, starting from the Plymouth Creek Trail, which is also shared by mountain bikers, so watch out.
After passing the first junction, you will encounter the steepest and rockiest part of the entire trail, also known as “The Wall”. And at the second junction of the Plymouth Mountain Trail, there’s a short out-and-back trail on your left that will take you to the summit, where you will have great views of Denver.
2. Red Rocks Trail
The Red Rocks Trail is a 6-mile out-and-back trail in Matthews Winters Park, located near Morrison. Offering lots of amazing views and the red rocks are incredibly gorgeous at the golden hour. Note that there isn’t much shade on this trail, so it’s probably best to go early in the morning or evening.
3. Herman Gulch Trail
Being one of the best wildflower hikes near Idaho Springs, this trail can get very busy, especially on the weekends. So, try to go there early with your furry friend to beat the crowd. It is approximately 3.25 miles long with a beautiful lake at the end of the trail. Be ready for the first mile and the last mile as they are the steepest and can get a little bit strenuous, but it is definitely worth the effort.
4. Royal Arch Trail
Want to have a more challenging hike with your dog? Sure, check out the Royal Arch Trail near Boulder. Though this trail is not too long, it is quite steep with lots of rocky stairs. And that’s what makes it difficult, but it is well worth the views at the top! Also, note that this trail is very rocky, so you would probably want to get your dog a pair of high-quality hiking boots to protect their paws.
5. Mount Sanitas Loop
The Mount Sanitas Loop is another popular dog-friendly trail near Boulder. It is roughly 3.2 miles and is pretty much uphill the entire time with a few sections that you have to scramble.
Also, this trail is not shaded, for the most part, so you would probably want to avoid going there the hottest time of the day. Overall, it is a short and challenging trail, but you will be rewarded with gorgeous views, particularly at the summit.
6. Shadow Canyon Trail
The Shadow Canyon Trail is also a challenging trail near Boulder, climbing 2,995 feet in just 4 miles, it can surely give you and your pup a strenuous workout, so make sure to bring plenty of water. While it is difficult, you will have panoramic 360-degree views from the Great Plains to the Continental Divide at the summit.
7. Green Mountain West Ridge Trail
The Green Mountain West Ridge Trail is heavily trafficked, located in Boulder Open Space. It is 4 miles round trip, rocky, and not too hard until the last quarter or so, which is very steep and can be difficult for those who are out of shape.
At the summit, you will have breathtaking 360-degree views. Also, there’s a unique bronze disk that identifies the mountains in the distance.
8. Mount Galbraith Loop via Cedar Gulch Trail
Another place that you can hike with your four-legged friend is the Mount Galbraith Loop via Cedar Gulch Trail. It is a popular spot near Golden, 4.2 miles with great views of Golden and Denver. The only downside is that it is a bit narrow, which can be hard to step aside and let other hikers pass if you have two or more dogs with you.
9. Raccoon Loop
The Raccoon Loop in Golden Gate Canyon Park near Black Hawk is also a great hiking spot. This trail begins from the Reverends Ridge Campground, and soon you will come to the first junction.
The easier way to hike this is to take it counterclockwise, and there are a couple of switchbacks before reaching the famous Panorama Point, which offers expansive views of the Continental Divide.
10. Horseshoe Trail to Frazer Meadow
This dog-friendly hike is in Golden Gate Canyon Park near Golden. Not a long trail, only about 3.8 miles round trip, with a steady incline almost the entire time. It is well shaded and offers scenic views all along the trail.
Also, there are a few backcountry campsites that are accessible from this trail. If you plan to camp there with your dog, you can certainly do that, but make sure your camping tent is big enough to accommodate both you and your furry friend.
11. Apex and Enchanted Forest Trail
The Apex and Enchanted Forest Trail near Golden is also a popular spot. It is a 3.5-mile loop trail, begins from the Apex Trail with a few steep sections, and the uphill at the end can be a little bit tough. Then, you will make your way back via the Enchanted Forest Trail.
This dog-friendly hike is incredibly beautiful, but there will be zooming mountain bikers on the trail. And if you want to avoid them, go on the odd-numbered days as those days are for hikers and equestrians only.
12. Bear Creek Trail to Panorama Point
Another popular hiking spot for Denverites is the Bear Creek Trail in Lair O’ the Bear Park near Idledale. This trail is approximately 6.4 miles, lots of shade, and follows the Bear Creek for the first half.
You will see the Dunafon Castle at about a mile in, which is also one of this trail’s highlights. And at Panorama Point, you will have a unique view of the entire area. Make sure to spend some time there, take in the views before heading back to the parking lot.
13. Alderfer Three Sisters Trail
The Alderfer Three Sisters Trail is a 7-mile loop trail located near Evergreen. It can get quite busy, especially on the weekends, so it’s best to get there as early as possible to avoid the crowd. The trail itself is not too hard and offers incredible views of the surrounding areas at the top. However, there are many mountain bikers, so be careful and keep your pooch close to you.
14. Elk Meadow Park
Prefer a short and easier trail so that you can relax and enjoy the views with your pup? Look no further than the Elk Meadow Park Trail, located near Evergreen. It is about 4 miles, well shaded, and if you are taking it anticlockwise, you will find it less of an incline, making it more beginner-friendly.
15. Eagle’s View Trail
The Eagle’s View Trail in Reynolds Park is also a dog-friendly trail, located near Conifer. The first mile is pretty steep, and downhill can be a little bit rough, but nothing too crazy.
At the top, you will have expansive views of the Rampart Range and Pikes Peak. Also, there are plenty of spots to sit, relax, and have a snack before making your way back to the parking area.
On a Final Note
Ensure you have all the hiking necessities packed for your four-legged friend before you head out, such as dog harness, leash, food, and portable water bottle. If you are unsure what else to bring, you can always check out our dog hiking gear list, and it would be a good idea to take a look at our tips for hiking with dogs before you hit the trail.
Lastly, we have also got some safety tips for driving with dogs to keep your pup safe and comfortable in the car, make sure to check that out too. We hope you enjoy the fun times and stay safe!