National Trails Day
One of the greatest perks of being a Puptender is the chance to explore the numerous open spaces and trails Colorado has to offer; and being able to share in the adventure with a smiling pup (or five) only enhances the experience more. So when we heard National Trails Day was today, we wanted to share our favorite dog-friendly trails and other tips to help owners celebrate with their four-legged companions.
The trail that tops my list for pack runs begins at Matthews/Winters Park near Morrison. Nestled between the foothills of the Rockies and the Hogbacks, hikers can opt to take the scenic route in a large loop or connect with Red Rocks Trail and find their way to Red Rocks Amphitheater. Although I-70 is close by, the area still manages to feel isolated with Dinosaur Ridge blocking views of the Denver metro area. The stream and plentiful shade at Matthews/Winters provide the perfect opportunity for dogs to cool off on warmer days as well.
Another place I frequent with my packs is South Table Mountain. The sprawling mesa offers a slightly different hiking experience at each of its trailheads, giving hikers the opportunity to scramble over rocky terrain, walk along the mountainside, or run through grassy plains. No matter what route is taken, there are always guaranteed views of either the Rockies or the Denver metro area (or both), and the wide trails are never crowded. It’s also conveniently located near many other dog-friendly hikes such as North Table Mountain or Apex Park.
For the intrepid hiker who would like to blaze a new path in celebration of National Trails Day, there are some great resources at hand. The AllTrails app has been helpful in the past, but I was thrilled to recently discover the Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX). Created by Colorado’s Parks & Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources, the app offers a comprehensive database for trails across the state. You can filter trails by your preferred activity, from hiking or biking to horseback or motorcycle riding and more. Similar to AllTrails, maps are available for download to have offline and a quick glance at each trail’s info says whether or not there is water, bathrooms, a fee, and – most importantly – if dogs are allowed.
National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society, and this year they are asking people to pledge to give back to their trails by leaving them better than when they found them. This can involve picking up trash along the way or volunteering for a trail work project. The pledge is just for the weekend, but maintaining our public lands should be an effort we strive for every time we find ourselves outdoors. Keeping trails clean not only helps to preserve them for future humans, but our furry friends as well.