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Summertime in Colorado — time to get out and enjoy the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities of our national parks. As it turns out, it’s also a good time for man’s best friend — our dogs — to get out and enjoy nature too. But preparing properly can make it a better experience.

Hiking with your dog can be a good experience with adaptive gear that can allow them to carry their own food or water. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

While you can hike anywhere with your dog that dogs are allowed, it is possible to hike with your dog in some national parks. has listed the top national parks that allow dogs in designated areas, perfect for a pet owner’s next walking adventure.

Top Colorado National Parks for pet owners:

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Rocky Mountain National Park

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

On average, Colorado residents walk their dogs 9.08 times a week (really… they’ve done studies on this). So with dogs getting this much exercise, it may be an easy adjustment from walking in the local park to mountain hiking.

In addition to adaptive gear that may allow larger dogs to carry their own food and water, be conscious of terrain, so the dog’s paws aren’t impacted. If you start them early, they may accept wearing dog boots, which can protect their foot pads from cuts and bruises (Carrying a large dog up or, or even down a mountain is not for the faint of heart.)

For hiking safety tips and additional dog-friendly national parks, read the entire article here.

Editor’s Note: we received a reader tip from the BLM that dogs are not allowed on any trails in Colorado National Monument, so we have corrected that information. The message from the BLM came with a suggestion for a very dog-friendly alternative:

“McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area would be a good park to list in the article, though.  They’re located in Fruita Colorado, right next to the monument, and dogs are allowed on the trails there.  It’s very dog and horse friendly​.” McInnis Canyons NCA | Bureau of Land Management (

Thank you, BLM!