Dog(credit: CBS)
One of the best things about living in Colorado is the huge variety of places to hike with your dog. With so much open space, beautiful trails and dog-friendly parks, there are tons of places to enjoy with your best friend. Why not forget your usual neighborhood park loop this weekend and explore one of these great nearby hikes instead? You’ll get a chance to check out the amazingly beautiful Colorado scenery while you and your best pal get plenty of exercise and enjoy the outdoors together. Here are five fun hikes to take with your pooch.
Beaver Brook Trail
1933 Lariat Loop Road
Golden, CO 80203
(303) 271-5925
www.jeffco.us

Beaver Brook Trail is a little hard to find. You’ll find the trail head located near garbage cans next to a few parking spaces. But you’ll also find a fairly easy, but totally secluded, hike that both you and your pooch will love. The hike down is on the easy side, with tons of shade and lots of places for your pup to explore. The trail does cross over the river several times, so make sure you are wearing the right shoes. The hike back up can be a little tough, but it’s shaded nearly the entire hike and it’s truly a beautiful place to explore. Beaver Brook can get a little busy on weekends, but it’s nothing compared to some of the busier hiking trails. Plus, it’s close enough to Denver that it makes for a fun weekend activity for two.

Flatirons Vista And Doudy Draw Trail
3663 CO-93
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 441-3440
www.bouldercolorado.gov

If you’re in search of a medium-length hike to enjoy with your pup, head up to Boulder for this three-hour hike filled with stunning panoramic scenery and one of the most beautiful sunsets in the state. There isn’t a lot of shade along this trail, so be sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your pooch. There is, however, a great little pond that your pup will want to explore as well. The best time to explore this trail is during the early spring, when all the flowers are in full bloom, though the late summer hikes here are equally beautiful, and usually on the quieter side, so you won’t have a lot of other hikes or bikers to deal with. The entire trail is about 3.7 miles, so strap on those hiking shoes, grab your leash and get ready to explore.

Related: Top Dog Walking Trails In Denver

Crags Trail
CO Road 62 and Four Mile Creek
Colorado Springs, CO 80814
www.visitcos.com

Don’t forget that there are lots of amazing trails south of Denver as well. Take the drive to Colorado Springs then check out the Crags Trail in Pike National Forest. This four-mile hike should take you and Fido about two and a half hours to complete, and it’s a special hike that you and your pup are really going to love. One of the best things about this trail is that it’s designed exclusively for hikers and people on horseback. The padded ground here is filled with evergreen needles, so you won’t have a lot of hot pavement to worry about under your pup’s paws. Keep in mind that there is a leash requirement here, so make sure not to leave it behind. Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll love the views, which make this moderate hike totally worth every effort. Make sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your pup and you’ll have a fantastic day out on the trails of Colorado.

The Colorado Trail
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 384-3729
www.coloradotrail.org

This massive trail stretches from Denver to Durango, so you probably won’t be able to complete the whole thing. However, there are several places near Denver where you can get out and enjoy part of the trail with your pup. There are both off-leash and on-leash areas of the trail, so make sure to check the signs to be sure of which part of the trail you are visiting. This massive trail is filled with lots of areas to hike, explore and enjoy the outdoors together. Be sure to check the website to find areas that are best suited to your skill level, as the different parts vary in terms of difficulty. One of the better areas to hike with your pup is the Indian Creek Trailhead, which connects with the Equestrian Loop Trail. Explore this area, or check the online maps for all the different dog-friendly areas of the Colorado Trail.

Related: Top Places To Take A Doggy Day Trip Near Denver

Meadowlark Trail Loop
13896 Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80127
(720) 856-0900
www.jeffco.us

In search of an easier hike, one that is perfect for a beginning hiker or an older dog? The Meadowlark Trail Loop is just over two miles and should take about two hours to complete. You’ll enjoy a beautiful sandy meadow, which then connects down to Plymouth Creek. There is a great picnic shelter near the trailhead, so bring along a lunch for both you and your pup and make a day out of this fun adventure together. No bikes are permitted along this part of the trail, so you two should only have other hikers and dogs to enjoy while you walk. For those looking for a bigger challenge, there is a second, more difficult trail here called the Plymouth Mountain Trail, which is a little steeper and rockier than the Meadowlark Trail.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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