by Genevieve Mellott
Summer is always a good time for get-aways. But every “animal family” knows boarding pets can be expensive, and you need to have someone you trust to look after them. Some trips may be worth the effort (and fun) to take your dogs, cats, or other animals with you. Try these ideas for Colorado fun with the non-human members of your family. (Remember to confirm pet policies with individual companies and sites before taking your trip!)
Celebrate our National Barks
Rocky Mountain National Park may be the closest, but there are at least nine national parks and national monuments in Colorado that welcome pets. You can even become a Bark Ranger. (No, I did not make that up.) Head over to nps.gov/subjects/pets/visit.htm for an interactive map and information on their individual pet policies. Colorado State Parks are also pet-friendly. Two even have off-leash areas for dogs. Check out cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Dog-Friendly.aspx for activities you can do with your furballs in our state parks.
Do “People Stuff” with Your Pet
For those of us who appreciate A/C on our trips, there are about 1,200 Colorado hotels on Google that accommodate pets. Naturally, they have varying policies and fees, but a couple of unexpected names on the list are the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and Marriott’s super swanky W Aspen. Don’t forget to let your pet come with you to dine! According to bringfido.com, establishments such as Rock Inn Mountain Tavern in Estes Park, Cyprus Cafe in Durango, and Maggie’s Kitchen in Ouray are but a few of many dog-friendly Colorado eateries.
Make the Most of Good Weather
Lots of outdoor activities are pet-friendly. Take a hike around Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cave Dwellings, Royal Gorge Bridge, or Colorado Mines Peak. Other activities include riding the Leadville Railroad, taking a Colorado Jeep Tour, enjoying a Crested Butte Historic Walking Tour and many, many more. There are “Experiences” listed on AirBNB for travelers. Some are pet-friendly. (Ask before booking.) Another great resource is bringfido.com.
BYOH – Bring Your Own Horse
If you’re a rider, chances are you are looking to the great outdoors for a vacation with your horse. For the guest ranch and trail riding full experience, check out Lost Valley Dude Ranch in Sedalia or Colorado Cattle Company Guest Ranch near New Raymer. There are also plenty of places to camp with your horse, like Winding River Resort in Grand Lake or the Soap Creek Corral near Gunnison, both offering plenty of nearby trail time.