9 Best Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver

A pet parent and dog enjoying a dog-friendly hike near Denver

Hiking is a healthy activity for both people and pups. By taking your dog with you on a hike, they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. 

Luckily, numerous dog-friendly hikes near Denver offer everything from stunning waterfalls to fossils! In this article, we cover a variety of dog-friendly hikes near Denver that are easy, scenic, and enjoyable for you and your four-legged companion. 

Note: Hiking trails can change depending on the season, especially during winter when landscapes can change drastically. In case you’re looking for a hike during the winter season, check out our other article - Top 7 Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver During Winter.

Featured Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver

Which Denver Hiking Trails are Dog-Friendly?

So, what does it take for a Denver hiking trail to be dog-friendly? In addition to having dog-friendly policies, a dog-friendly hiking trail needs to be suited for your canine companion’s needs, especially in terms of ease and distance. 

A majority of dogs would be more comfortable with an easy to moderate trail. In addition, Dr. Sylvia Berns, Sploot’s veterinarian, stated that 5 miles is the average distance a dog can hike. (Safety Tips for Hiking With a Dog). 

Considering all of the above factors, we’ve curated this list of awesome Denver dog-friendly trails that are easy to moderate, less than 5 miles long, and have something extraordinary to offer!

1. Washington Park Loop 

  • Location: Washington Park — 701 S Franklin St, Denver, CO 
  • Distance from Denver: In Denver
  • Highlights: dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest-like park trail, partially paved, has 2 lakes, flower gardens, easy, 2.3 miles, loop trail

The Washington Park Loop is a dog-friendly hike near Denver that offers a serene city escape with a forest-like trail circling Smith Lake and Grasmere Lake. Visitors can also enjoy two beautiful flower gardens, including a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon gardens, adding historical charm to the urban oasis.

 Flowers in the Washington Park Loop, a dog-friendly hike near Denver
Source: www.denver.org

2.  George Wallace Park Loop

  • Location: George M. Wallace Park — 4505 S Yosemite St, Denver, CO
  • Distance from Denver: In Denver
  • Highlights: dog-friendly hike in Denver, forest-like park trail, has a calisthenics course, easy, 4.9 miles, out-and-back trail

The George Wallace Park loop is a dog-friendly hike near Denver that offers a scenic city hike through a forest-like setting along Goldsmith Gulch. This trail is situated in a park that spans 24 acres, offering a stunning variety of trees and captivating scenery. The trail winds around the park, providing visitors with a peaceful escape amidst nature's beauty. 

A highlight is the calisthenics course available for fitness enthusiasts, adding an active element to the serene surroundings. 

3. Lee Lateral Ditch Trail

  • Location: York Street Pavilion — 12945 Columbine Cir, Thornton, CO 
  • Distance from Denver: ~46 min from Denver
  • Highlights: dog-friendly hike near Denver, stunning flowers, paved, shaded in some areas, easy, 4.9 miles, out-and-back trail

The Lee Lateral Ditch Trail in Denver offers a delightful city walk and dog-friendly hike that's perfect for beginners. This paved trail is adorned with vibrant flowers and intriguing sculptures along the way. It's an ideal introduction to hiking, providing gentle slopes and well-maintained paths that cater to various fitness levels. 

The Lee Lateral Ditch Trail, a dog-friendly hike and city walk in Denver
Source: www.traillink.com

4. Eagle’s View Trail Loop

  • Location: Reynolds Ranch County Park — 13649 S Foxton Rd, Littleton, CO (Reynolds Park Trailhead)
  • Distance from Denver: ~46 min from Denver
  • Highlights: dog-friendly hike near Denver, a stunning variety of wildflowers, forests, mountain views, shaded in some areas, moderate, 4.2 miles, loop trail

The Eagle's View Trail Loop is a dog-friendly hike near Denver that offers a picturesque journey through diverse landscapes. This moderately challenging hike winds through lush pine forests and expansive meadows adorned with a variety of wildflowers. 

Along the way, hikers are treated to shaded sections and scenic viewpoints that showcase stunning vistas of Pike's Peak and the majestic Cathedral Spires.

5. Lost Lake via Hessie Trail 

  • Location: Roosevelt National Forest — 1120 Hessie Rd #1104, Nederland, CO (Hessie Trail Trailhead)
  • Distance from Denver: ~1 hour from Denver
  • Highlights:dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest, lake, waterfalls, wildflowers, moderate, 4 miles, out & back trail 

Lost Lake via Hessie Trail is a dog-friendly hike situated just an hour from Denver. This dog-friendly trail is known for its scenic beauty, lush forests, and colorful wildflowers, including vibrant yellow and deep purple blooms. 

The highlight of the hike is Lost Lake itself, a serene oasis nestled amidst towering trees and rugged terrain. Along the way, hikers can also marvel at large waterfalls cascading along moss-covered rocks. With everything this trail has to offer, it’s bound to be among your favorite dog-friendly hikes near Denver.

The Lost Lake, a highlight in a dog-friendly hiking trail near Denver
Source: www.dayhikesneardenver.com

6. Gross Reservoir via Forsythe Canyon Trail

  • Location: Roosevelt National Forest — Forest Service Rd 359, Nederland, CO  (Forsythe Canyon Trailhead)
  • Distance from Denver: ~1 hour from Denver
  • Highlights:dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest, river, waterfalls, wildflowers, 3 miles, easy,  out & back trail

Gross Reservoir via Forsythe Canyon Trail is a well-loved dog-friendly hike near Denver that offers stunning natural beauty. This easy and picturesque trail meanders alongside a babbling creek, enveloped in lush greenery and seasonally adorned with vibrant wildflowers. Along the way, you will also encounter a wading pool and stunning waterfalls.

The tranquil ambiance of this dog-friendly hike makes it a delightful trail for nature lovers and their canine companions. As you approach the Gross Reservoir, you're rewarded with breathtaking views of the expansive water surrounded by mountains and open skies.

7.  Saint Mary's Glacier 

  • Location: Arapaho National Forest — St Marys Dr, Idaho Springs, CO (St. Mary’s Glacier Trailhead)
  • Distance from Denver: ~1 hour from Denver
  • Highlights: dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest, lake, wildflowers, perennial snowfield, 1.6 miles, moderate, out & back trail

St. Mary's Glacier is a beloved destination offering a mix of natural beauty and adventure. This popular trail starts with a scenic journey through lush forests dotted with vibrant wildflowers.

Upon reaching the lake, take a moment to soak in the stunning vista—it's truly breathtaking. Beyond the lake, the trail ascends towards the “glacier” itself. This glacier is not a true glacier but rather a perennial snowfield that is great to visit, especially during summer! Hikers are advised to bring the right gear to be able to ascend the snowfield.

With all of its unique features, St. Mary's Glacier is definitely a must-visit dog-friendly hike near Denver for outdoor enthusiasts and their canine hiking companions.

St. Mary’s Glacier, a dog-friendly hike near Denver with a snowfield
Source: www.tripadvisor.com

8. Castlewood Canyon Falls Trail 

  • Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park — 2989 CO-83, Franktown, CO
  • Distance from Denver: ~45 minutes away
  • Highlights:dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest, river, wildflowers, waterfalls, 1.1 miles, easy, loop trail

The Castlewood Canyon Falls Trail is a charming and easy hike that offers stunning forests and scenic overlooks. As you follow the trail along Cherry Creek, you'll be greeted by a variety of wildflowers that enhance the natural beauty of the path. 

The highlight of the trail is the famous Cherry Creek Falls, two beautiful cascading waterfalls that are a feast for the eyes. Whatever season you visit, Castlewood Canyon Falls Trail promises a memorable outdoor experience. 

Even in the winter season, this easy, short dog-friendly hike is a wonderful destination for you and your canine companion.→ Learn more - Best Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver During Winter

9.  Dinosaur Ridge

  • Location: Matthews Winters Open Space Park — 1103 County Rd 93, Golden, CO
  • Distance from Denver: 20 - 30 minutes away
  • Highlights:dog-friendly hike near Denver, forest, fossils, wildflowers, historic site, partially paved, 1.1 miles, moderate, out & back trail

Dinosaur Ridge isn't just a hike; it's a journey through time. This intriguing, dog-friendly hike near Denver is a must-visit historic site. As you wander through forests and patches of wildflowers here and there, you'll encounter breathtaking views of the iconic Red Rocks. 

The trail’s highlight feature is the fascinating dinosaur tracks and their respective informative displays. Another highlight of the visit worth checking out is The Exhibit Hall, which offers additional fossils and extensive information on dinosaurs. 

Even in winter, Dinosaur Ridge remains a charming and accessible dog-friendly hike, blending natural beauty with prehistoric wonder. → Learn more - Best Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver During Winter

Photos of the Dinosaur Ridge trail and fossils or dinosaur tracks. This is a dog-friendly hike near Denver
Source: www.alltrails.com

Quick Reminders Before Hiking with Your Dog

Before going on a hike with your canine companion in Denver, here is a quick list of safety reminders for hiking with a dog

  1. Make sure to bring food and water for your pup. Even the easiest hikes can make a pup hungry and thirsty. Pack enough to ensure that your canine hiking buddy is well-hydrated and energized.
  2. Schedule a quick visit to the vet. This will help ensure that your dog is physically fit for a hike or if they need to be conditioned first.
  3. Bring a dog first aid kit. Carry a portable dog first aid kit in case of emergencies. Not sure what to include? Get some ideas here - Dog First Aid KIt: Must-Have Items [Vet-Approved]
  4. Dog shoes may be helpful on some trails. Dog shoes can protect your pet's paws from rough terrain, extreme temperatures, and sharp objects. 
  5. Make sure your pup has the needed preventives. They would need to be up-to-date on their preventive against heartworm as well as preventives for ticks and fleas.
Note: Heartworm, flea, and tick preventives are available on SplootRX, your convenient online pet pharmacy and pet supply store. Learn more about SplootRX today!

Have Your Pup Assessed Before Hiking

As mentioned earlier, a quick visit to the vet will help ensure that your pup is physically fit and in the best condition to hike. Sploot Vets is here to help!

Sploot Veterinary Care is a trusted provider of primary care, urgent care, and emergency vet care services for dogs and cats. A quick vet check-up before a hike will allow  our veterinarians to give personalized tips on hiking with your pup on Denver's dog-friendly hiking trails. They can provide guidance on conditioning, supplies to bring, and necessary preventatives.

We have numerous vet clinics in Denver located in Highlands, RiNo, Platt Park, 9+CO, LoDo, Central Park, and Highlands Ranch. Schedule an appointment online or through the Sploot Vets app! Our veterinary clinics in Denver are open 365 days a year, for extended hours

Till next time, we’re with you every pounce of the way!