Your Pet-Friendly Guide to Exploring the Rocky Mountain Region
Pick of the litter
If you picture the Rocky Mountains as a big playground full of amazing hikes, gorgeous natural scenery, and great restaurants for refueling—just imagine what they’re like for a dog. On your next trip, there’s no need to leave your canine companion behind. Grab a leash and start adventuring with these activities fit for four paws.
While dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, that doesn’t mean they have to wait in the car. Hiking trails exist just outside the park in Estes Park, and many nearby areas provide tail-wagging options.
Lily Mountain | Estes Park
Get panoramic views of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and mountains along the Continental Divide on a short 3.7 mile hike up Lily Mountain—all with your pup in tow. For more scenic and pet-friendly hikes in Estes Park, try Kruger Rock, Allenspark, or Lake Estes. Plus, the Estes Valley Dog Park is always a safe bet, with a bench for you and a swimming area for your buddy.
Blue Lake | Brainard Lake Recreation Area
No paved-path-restrictions here! A short 45 minutes from Estes Park, Brainard Lake Recreation Area is perfect for an alpine lake day with your pup. The trail to Blue Lake from Mitchell Lake offers a moderate, 6.2-mile trek through towering trees and fields of wildflowers.
Arapahoe Pass | Indian Peaks Wilderness
About 50 miles from Estes Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness features jaw-dropping views and some of the best dog-friendly hiking in the Rockies. Arapahoe Pass is our personal favorite, with 360° mountain views, waterfalls, and wildflowers. You’ll need 4-wheel drive and an early start to get to the parking lot—the road up to the trailhead is rough gravel, and it tends to fill up early.
If you’ve brought your furry friend with you to the Rockies, you’ll need somewhere to stay that allows pets. Fortunately, The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park offers style, food, fun, and a comfortable place to curl up after a long day of trail-sniffing. The Ridgeline has its own pet wing of the hotel, and welcomes pups next to their outdoor fire pits.
Pet friends are so popular in Estes Park, local restaurants and bars make concessions for them. For kibbles, bites, and brews, opt for these dog-friendly spots: The Barrel, Rock Cut Brewing Company, Avant Garde Aleworks, Lumpy Ridge Brewing, La Cabana Mexican Bar and Grill, and The Slab.
Complete Your Pawcation
Candy shops, galleries, jewelry stores — plenty of retailers around Estes Park allow canine visitors. Check out this map from Estes Chamber of Commerce showcasing pet-friendly businesses in the area:
With The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park as your homebase and this list, you and your sidekick are ready to take on the Rockies!