photo by YMCA of the Rockies
Calling all dog lovers! Estes Park is one of the most pet friendly places you will ever visit! While it is true that pets are only allowed in the parking lots of Rocky Mountain National Park, and not on the trails, Estes offers an abundance of pet lovin’ fun and activities.
Set in a gorgeous mountain setting by Lake Estes, (off Hwy 36), the outstanding Murphy’s Mountain Dog Park is now open. Featuring agility stations, water fountains for dogs (as well as humans), and a shade shelter.
A few of our favorite hiking paths and trails in and around Estes where you can take your dog include –
- The Estes Park Riverwalk An easy stroll (under two miles), following the Big Thompson River from Performance Park all the way down to Lake Estes. There are plenty of exciting smells, sights and adventures awaiting Fido, (who really names their dog Fido?), on this happy path behind the shops along Elkhorn Avenue, (Main Street), in Estes.
- The Lake Estes Trail Enjoy 4 miles of reflected mountain majesty around beautiful Lake Estes. Need we say more?
- Lily Mountain (just before mile marker 6 off Hwy 7 heading south out of Estes). This hike will leave you and your furry companion with tongues hanging out and tails wagging, but the spectacular views of Longs Peak and the Estes Valley make the 1,000’ elevation/4 mile round trip a must do.
- Kruger Rock Trail in Hermit Park, (just south of Estes on Hwy. 36). This is a moderate two mile trek that winds through ponderosa pines and ends at a 9,335’ summit, offering spectacular 360° views of the surrounding mountains. It is well worth the $6 entrance fee to Hermit Park.
- Crosier Mountain in Glen Haven just north of Estes Park. Looking for a longer hike and a good workout for you and your pup? Try the Crosier Mountain Trail where you have three different trailhead options all leading to the peak just under 10,000’. On a clear day you will get great views of the Estes Valley and the Front Range of Northern Colorado. Watch for mule deer and elk.
Also, there are miles of pet-friendly trails for you to explore for free at the YMCA of the Rockies property off Hwy 36 just west of Estes Park.
Remember to be safe, responsible and alert to wildlife and hazards (like lightning and falling rocks and trees), in your mountain adventures.
Happy hiking with your dog and enjoy your stay in Estes Park!