In our beloved Mile High City, sun-worshiping and snow-lovin’ pooches get the best of both worlds: 300 days of sunshine and mild winters. Count us in. Even the chilliest pupsicle can appreciate traipsing through Denver’s glimmering landscapes—just don’t furget the treatos and winter booties before you go! When doggo is ready to hit the trails, check out our picks for the 6 best winter hikes near Denver.
Note: We recommend checking trail conditions in advance, as they sometimes close due to poor conditions. Dogs must stay on their leashes at all times. Also, dress in layers, and pack traction devices and poles!
1. Dinosaur Ridge
Lookin’ for a stroller-friendly trail that’s pawfect for both your hooman and fur babies? Head to the paved 4 mile out-and-back trail at Dinosaur Ridge. Located near Morrison, it’s a short drive from Denver. Pup’ll love this historic hike that boasts fossilized dinosaur tracks and bones, and gorgeous views of the vibrant Red Rocks. No bones about it (couldn’t resist), this trail is easy, but it’s right next to the highway, so be puppared for lots of traffic noise.
2. Boulder Mesa Trail
The 13.2 mile Boulder Mesa Trail features views as iconic as your photogenic fluff. The highlights of this meandering, moderately difficult trail (it has a steep 2,631-foot elevation gain) include the picturesque, snow-capped Flatirons and foothill peaks. If doggo isn’t a people person, you can park closer to the quiet entrance at the El Dorado/South Mesa trailhead. And after you and pup are pooped, head to Boulder to unwind at Beyond the Mountain Brewing or explore their charming downtown.
3. Castlewood Canyon
Weekend traffic to the mountains is a big yikes during ski season, so dodge it by heading an hour south to the Inner Canyon Loop at underrated Castlewood Canyon State Park. This 6.2-mile loop dazzles with a waterfall, sweeping views of the plains and canyon, interesting geological formations, and Cherry Creek. Rated as a moderately difficult trail, it can tip the scales to challenging in the winter. A daily vehicle pass is $10 and woofers are allowed on all trails, except East Canyon.
4. Sisters, Ponderosa, Silver Fox, and Evergreen Mountain Loop
Sisters, Ponderosa, Silver Fox, and Evergreen Mountain Loop will transport you to a magical dreamland where pup’ll feel like she’s in the North Pole. Just 30 miles west of Denver, this moderately rated 6.7-mile loop weaves through ponderosa and lodgepole pines and meadows. The hike gradually gains 1,200 feet of elevation, leading you and your BFF to stunning views of Mount Evans and Bald Mountain. Terrain can be icy and challenging, so it’s best for young, athletic puppers who want to show off their climbing skills!
5. Turkey Trot Trail at Mount Falcon Park
This writer’s elderly yellow lab ruvs Turkey Trot Trail at Mount Falcon Park because it offers fresh mountain air and a bit of climbing, but isn’t strenuous on his joints. The trail enchants with sweeping views of the Denver skyline, Red Rocks amphitheater, ruins of an old castle, and the Indian Peaks. However, because of its proximity to Morrison, the parking lot fills up heckin’ quick, so plan ahead!
6. Coyote Song Trail at South Valley Park
Does your furry fashionista wanna sniff out some pretty views without busting a sweat and ruining his freshly groomed coat? Head to Littleton for the 3-mile Coyote Song Trail loop. Nestled in Jefferson Co’s stunning South Valley Park, this hike captivates with towering red rock formations and green foothills. And if you and rover want to treat yourselves to some fresh fits after you get in your steps, pup over to dog-friendly Aspen Grove mall in Littleton.
What are your fave winter hikes near Denver? Give us a wag in the comments and tag us in all your adventure snaps @sidewalkdog!
Featured photo: Photo Nic
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Denver Facebook Group.