7 Dog-Friendly Hikes in Boulder County
If you’re like me, you like getting outside with your furry best friend. But sometimes it’s hard to know what trails allow four-legged adventuring companions and which frown on it. Here at AboutBoulder we’ve compiled a list of the best dog-friendly hikes in the area so you’ll never have to leave your pup behind again!
- Royal Arch Trail
This challenging 3.4-mile loop will gain 1,358 feet and provide you and your pooch with a killer workout. The trailhead begins in Chautauqua and splits off at the flagstone staircase—just follow the signs. Ascend through pine forests and wildflower meadows to views of the Flatirons, Boulder below, and the Rockies behind. Make sure to bring spikes if you’re braving this trail in the winter, as it gets steep and slippery!
2. First and Second Flatiron Trail
Take this difficult 2.7-mile loop trail through grassy fields and up dozens of switchbacks to the iconic flatirons. You’ll gain 1,263 feet and have panoramic views to the horizon to the East. At the summit there are excellent spots for rock climbing and bouldering, and your fuzzy friends will have wildflowers and ponderosa pine trees to sniff along the way!
3. Green Mountain West
This moderate 2.7-mile out-and-back trail makes for a lovely jaunt through the woods with pups, canine and human alike. Gain 623 feet in elevation as well as sweeping views of the snowy peaks to the West, all conveniently mapped out by the CU Hiking Club’s diagram. For more information on this trail, check out AboutBoulder’s Green Mountain West Trail Review.
4. Mesa Trail
This beautiful trail is a moderate 7.5-mile out-and-back trail with an elevation gain of 1,650 feet. Climb through pine forests to catch glimpses of the Devil’s Thumb, Shanahan Ridge, and Bear Peak.
5. Flagstaff Road Trail
Gain 1,213 feet on this moderate 3.9-mile loop. At the summit you’ll find a park and amphitheater, as well as views of the mountains on all sides. Be careful when crossing Flagstaff Road and always look for vehicles!
6. Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge
Undertake this challenging 4.9-mile out-and-back hike with a climb of 2,513 feet and you won’t be disappointed.Craggy peaks and horizon-to-horizon views await those who brave the steep climb to the top.
7. Shadow Canyon to South Boulder Peak
Avoid the crowds at this difficult 8.1-mile loop. Ascend 2,939 feet along the way to stunning views and a calf-burning stair-stepping workout.
Don’t forget to be courteous to other hikers! If your dogs are off-leash, make sure they stay close by and don’t get underfoot of others. Always check the weather ahead of time and be prepared for conditions. Never forget water, and most importantly, have fun!