There are tons of canine-friendly trails all across the Grand Valley and beyond, making it easy for you and your dog to get some exercise and quality time together. If you need some hiking inspiration for you and your four-legged best friend, this list of four dog-friendly hikes on the Western Slope is bound to have you lacing up your hiking shoes.
Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in most national parks, but Great Sand Dunes is a welcome exception. You can hike up, down, and all around the dunes with your dog. The dunes are tall and hiking through sand increases the difficulty, so it’s a great workout.
Be sure to avoid the dunes during the hottest parts of the day, since the sand can burn your dog’s sensitive paw pads. Instead, head over to Medano Creek. When the water levels are low enough, you can easily walk up and down the creek while both you and your dog enjoy the cool water.
There’s a lot to do in this park, so check out our Insider’s Guide to Great Sand Dunes National Park to start planning your trip.
If you’re looking for some scenic and seriously impressive views of the entire Grand Valley, it’s hard to beat the summit of Mt. Garfield. When the skies are clear you can even see Mt. Sneffels, which is over 100 miles south of Palisade.
The summit is a mere two miles away from the trailhead, but you’ll gain approximately 2,000 feet of elevation as you hike. If you want to tire out your dog and yourself, this trail is hard to beat. Just remember to bring plenty of water.
The Fruita Dugway is a combination of trail and old road. This section of the Western Slope is known for its excellent mountain biking terrain, but this is one dog-friendly option that’s worth checking out.
You’ll hike up from Kodels Canyon via the north side of the Colorado National Monument. Note that the Monument is off-limits to dogs, so pay attention to trail signage to avoid entering a non-dog-friendly area.
This loop on the Grand Mesa is aptly named — it’s perfect for water-loving dogs and their humans. This easy 2.8-mile loop starts at Jumbo Reservoir and meanders through the forest. It’s a great place to escape the Grand Valley’s summer heat.
The area is also popular with fishermen, ATVers, and even moose. Always keep a close eye on your dog, and be particularly aware of any moose in the area.