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Boulder Dog Dates

Local businesses and attractions to take your four-legged friend

Article by Cassidy Ritter

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Our four-legged pals are some of our best friends and closest companions. We take them on walks and hikes and occasionally let them join us for coffee, drinks, or a weekend of camping. But not everywhere we go is deemed dog friendly. 

As the warm weather soon turns to fall, we put together a list of fun places in and around Boulder to take our furry friends before winter snow rolls into town. Don’t forget to pack extra water and bags to pick up pet waste. 


One of the best places to take our dogs is on a hike, and with 89 percent of the 155 miles of trails in Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) open to dogs on a leash, there are plenty of options to pick from. Before hitting the gravel pavement, make sure to check leash requirements at the trailhead. Some trails also allow dogs to be off-leash if they are under voice and sight control by their owner and have a voice and sight tag.

An easy, 2.6-mile, dog-friendly loop along the foothills is the Dakota Ridge Trail. This trail features a creek, wildflowers, a shaded picnic area, and views overlooking Boulder. Another short hike for you and Fido is Ethel Harrold Trailhead and Walker Ranch Loop. Only 3.5 miles, these trails also showcase a creek and plenty of room to explore.

Eldora Canyon Trail is another great option for our four-legged friends. The 6.6-mile hike just south of Boulder is a bit more challenging than Dakota Ridge, but the views and nearly 2,000-foot elevation gain will leave you breathless.

If you’re looking for more hikes with a water feature, explore the trails at Gross Reservoir, but keep in mind that pets must remain on a leash and are not allowed in the water.

Reservoir activities

If being on a reservoir or lake is more your scene, why not take your pup kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding? Although dogs are not allowed at the Boulder Reservoir between May 15 and Labor Day, there are plenty of other places to participate in water sports. Rocky Mountain Paddleboard also offers rentals for both sports and is dog friendly.

On hot fall days, visiting Coot Lake is another option. A 1.2-mile trail circles the lake and dogs can swim on the east and south shores.

Dog parks

While only some trails allow for dogs to be off-leash, there are several off-leash dog parks in the region.

On the north end of Boulder sits Foothills Off-Leash Dog Park, a large, fully fenced dog park. If your pup needs to release some energy, this is a great location. If your best pal still has energy after running in circles and sniffing their way through the park, there are several nearby trails you can access.

An easily accessible dog park equipped with a spigot for water and a parking lot is Valmont Dog Park. Located at Valmont City Park on the northeast side of Boulder, this dog park spans roughly three acres for large dogs and a quarter-acre for small dogs.

Further along Highway 119 is Twin Lakes Off-Leash Dog Swim, one of our favorite spots because every good boy and girl deserves to cool off in a lake, fetch nearby sticks and make new friends. When visiting this park, we recommend bringing an extra towel or two to wipe off those muddy paws.

Dog-friendly patios

When it comes to patio-sitting with our furry friends, you can never go wrong with a shaded area that caters to both humans and dogs. 

One such place is Romero’s K9 Club & Tap House. It has an on-leash enclosed pavilion, an outdoor beer garden where dogs registered with the company can roam, and a bar with rotating food trucks to enjoy. Located in Old Town Lafayette, Romero’s started because its founders didn’t think K9s should have to stay home while their owners socialize. (And we have to agree).

Another place for you and your dog to be social butterflies is Avery Brewing Company, which is sure to have several pups on the lawn. You can both make new friends here as you sip on a cold, freshly poured craft brew.

Other dog-friendly eateries in the area include Rayback Collective’s outdoor area, Bohemian Biergarten’s patio and Roadhouse Boulder Depot’s patio.