Dog-friendly hiking trails in four high elevation towns
Looking to beat the heat this summer? One of the best ways to do it is by heading up to higher ground. But there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend behind! We’ve scouted the top hiking trails for people and pets, along with a few other canine-friendly activities that will bring out the best in both of you. So grab that leash and head out the door!
Steamboat | 6900’
Tucked in the heart of the Colorado west, Steamboat is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
(e) Mosquito Lake | 4 miles RT
Despite the unfortunate name, Mosquito Lake doesn’t have any more mosquitos than any other lake nearby. On the trail, you’ll travel through open meadows and come across three creek crossings with logs laid down to help you make your way.
(e to m) Spring Creek | 10.5 miles RT
This multi-use trail is popular for hiking and biking because of its wide, well-maintained paths. Families and athletes alike enjoy Spring Creek Park, where you’ll find educational pavilions and two beautiful ponds.
(h) Rabbit Ears Peak | 6 miles RT
View the Rabbit Ears — layers of extruded rock and ash — during this excursion. Note: This trail gets pretty steep a little ways in. Take your time to rest when needed, and enjoy the view!
Other: Chill with Fido at Cugino’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant on the patio, or head over to Storm Peak Brewing where pets are welcomed with treats and water bowls.
Crested Butte | 8909’
Recognized as the wildflower capital of Colorado, this former coal-mining town offers plenty of pet-friendly places to stay.
(e) Tony’s Trail (Out-and-back Viewpoint) | 2.8 miles RT
This path connects to breathtaking Aspen-Filled trails that run along the mountainside. Bonus: A great hike for people who aren’t traveling by car.
(m) Tony’s Trail (Whetstone-Deli Loop) | 7.1 miles RT
Intermediate trails to advanced-intermediate — known for being more bumpy than technical. Tip: Keep an eye out for mountain bikers who frequent this circuit.
(h) Crested Butte to Aspen | 10.2 miles RT
Best traveled at the peak of summer or early fall when wildflowers flourish. With more than 2000 feet of gain, hiking time will vary depending on fitness level, but you can expect to spend a full day on the beautiful journey.
Other: Both Elk Creek and Lake Fork Marinas allow dogs. You can also enjoy a ride with your pooch on the Monarch Crest Tram and play together at the top.
Telluride | 8750’
A former Victorian mining town nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, this popular ski and golf resort town rests inside a box canyon.
(e) River Trail | 8.5 miles RT
Stroll through Telluride and alongside the San Miguel River. If you get overheated, you can both cool off with a quick swim.
(m) Jud Wiebe | 3-mile loop
Relish this two-hour, well-marked trail that offers extraordinary views of Telluride and the box canyon! One of the most popular hiking trails in the area.
(h) Liberty Trail | 2.3-mile loop
For those who aren’t afraid of steep terrain, this trail offers abundant wildflowers and wildlife, plus a few historic mining structures along the way.
Other: Many local stores serve treats for four-legged shoppers.
Leadville | 10151’
Another Victorian-era mining town, Leadville is located in a high valley, near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Surrounded on three sides by the San Isabel National Forest’s jagged peaks, it’s no wonder Runner’s World nicknamed it “Trailway to Heaven.”
(e) The Mineral Belt Trail | 11.6-mile loop
One of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Its route is also completely ADA accessible.
(m) Missouri Lake Pass | 7.1 miles RT
Reach a beautiful lake basin and scenic pass at 3.5 miles. Rumor has it the trail gets better as it goes on, passing small waterfalls and interesting cliffs alongside Missouri Creek.
(h) Windsor Lake | 2.2 miles RT
Steep, steep, steep. It’s a quick hike to Windsor Lake, but not for first-time hikers with its gain of 800 feet in the first mile. Rewarding views make it a destination for fishermen and hikers alike.
Other: Dine at Tennessee Pass Café out on the dog-friendly deck, where you can listen to live music as you sip on a wide selection of Colorado beers on tap.