Do you catch your dog drooling over HGTV? Swooning over the neighbors’ floral displays? Wishing he could get a green paw and plant his own verdant display? While pup may love all things flower and garden, unfortunately, most botanic gardens and flower farms in the Mile High aren’t dog-friendly. Luckily, we are blessed with plenty of vibrant, brightly colored blooms in our metro area parks. Plus, the Front Range features abundant flower hikes. Check out our very favorite Colorado wildflower hikes for the canine garden enthusiast in your life.
Best Parks and Gardens for Flower Lovers
Chautauqua Park is a Boulder gem. Beloved for its sweeping, picturesque views of the Flatirons, it also boasts colorful wildflowers such as lupines, mariposa lilies, and blue flax. This charming park is perfect for a leisurely stroll and plopping down for a picnic with senior woofs. If you’re in the mood to move and have a buff pup, Chautauqua also offers trails for all skill levels, including strenuous, all-day summit hikes.
Betty Ford Alpine Garden
Located at 8,200 feet above sea level in Vail, Betty Ford Alpine Garden features a stunning mountain backdrop. It’s also the highest botanical garden in the United States! And it’s the only dog-friendly botanical garden we found in Colorado (hint, hint, other botanical gardens). Pup’ll love the interpretive nature trail. Just make sure he’s on a short leash so he doesn’t water all of the gorgeous, tranquil flower displays and plants.
Want to capture some pics of your handsome city slicker dog for the ‘gram without leaving the city? I mean, he just got groomed for pup’s sake—why risk him messing up his adorbs coat on the trail? Check out Alamo Placita. This small but mighty park in historic central Denver features meticulously designed flower displays that burst to life in the spring.
Tucked behind the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, City Park boasts the perfect place for you and doggo to stop and smell the roses (sorry for the dad joke—we couldn’t resist). Their large rose garden is near the boat house pavilion, so it’s little wonder that it’s a popular spot for weddings and special events, too.
Wanna have a full-day glam dog photo shoot featuring views of the Rockies, lake, trees, trails, and spectacular flower display gardens? Washington Park offers all the above. Fun fact: the park’s stunning Martha Washington Garden was modeled after the First Lady’s garden in Mount Vernon.
Inspiration Point Park is often forgotten because it’s seven miles from downtown Denver, but it totes deserves a visit. Visitors and locals alike love the park’s mountain views, trees, and flowers. Four-legged frens will appreciate all the excellent sights and smells. The park’s horticulturalists often get creative with themed designs for their flower gardens, including details like hearts, butterflies, or our awesome state’s flag.
Best Wildflower Hikes
Bona fide flower pups will ruv Butler Gulch in the Arapaho National Forest near Idaho Springs. This moderately difficult 5.5-mile trail stands out as one of the best trails in the state to see breathtaking views of over 100 species of wildflowers like Rocky Mountain Columbine and Indian Paintbrushes. The trail peaks at 12,000 feet, so flower viewing is typically in peak season in June and July.
Pawnee National Grassland
At first blush, Pawnee National Grassland Northeast of Denver and Fort Collins looks like a vast, dry prairie. But stroll through one of the park’s many trails to check out an impressive and visually appealing assortment of flowers like prairie coneflower, prickly gilia, sand dock, and evening primrose. The grassland is at a low elevation, so head there from April to September for the prime flower viewing season. Pro tip: Pawnee Grasslands is a great option for senior dogs who prefer more leisurely hikes with no elevation gain.
Lake Isabelle Via Pawnee Pass
Lake Isabelle Via Pawnee Pass features jaw-dropping views of a waterfall, a colorful tapestry of wildflowers, and of course, our beloved Rockies. The moderately rated 5.5-mile trail is best from June to October, which is also peak flower-viewing season. Be sure to get there early—the trail tends to fill up fast!
Which of these Colorado wildflower hikes is your pup’s favorite? Spill the [floral] tea in the comments and share with anypawdy who loves a good garden stroll.
Featured photo: Melissa Keizer
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