How to hike with your dog in Durango, Colorado: The best places to hike with your furry friend

How to hike with your dog in Durango, Colorado: The best places to hike with your furry friend

Hiking with Dogs in Durango, Colorado

Are you planning a hiking trip with your furry friend in Durango, Colorado? Hiking with your dog can be a great way to explore the outdoors and bond with your pup. Durango is home to some of the most beautiful hikes in the state, and it's important to plan ahead to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your four-legged friend. In this blog post, we'll provide you with tips and tricks on how to hike with your dog, what to bring, and the best places to hike in Durango, Colorado.

Getting out and hiking with your dog is a great way to teach them valuable skills and make new friends (for you and for them!!) Hiking with your pet can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to take the right precautions and have the right items to make sure you are prepared. 

If you're planning on taking your furry friend with you for a hike in Durango, Colorado, there are some essential items you should bring to make the most of your adventure. One of the most important things to remember when going for a hike with your dog is to make sure you have a leash. Even if your pup is well-behaved and follows commands, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Also, most trails in town have signs that require dogs be on leash. Yes, you will see lots of people not using a leash with their pup, but to be considerate of others on the trail, make sure to leash your dog when other people and dogs are around. There are multiple trails that you can hike that are off-leash friendly too, and allow for your dog to run and play along the way. No matter what, just bring your leash to be ready to have it no matter where you go.  Bring along plenty of dog poop bags too so that you can be responsible and clean up after your pet (plus it is the law! Typically, there are dog poop trash cans at the beginning of a trail head and most of the time there are extra dog poop trash bags there too. Do not relay on bags being there, so make sure to bring your own. 
You'll also want to bring treats with you, as it's a great way to reward your pup during a long or difficult hike. A towel can come in handy if your pup gets muddy or wet along the way, and don't forget to pack enough water for both you and your pup. If you make sure to bring all of these essential items, your hiking trip with your pup will be much smoother and enjoyable!
Dog relaxing in the forest hiking in Colorado


Our list of essential gear that can make the experience safer and more enjoyable for both of you include:

  • Dog Leash and Collar (make sure your collar has important information on it including name, phone number and address)
  • Water bottle (enough for both of you!)
  • Treats
  • Dog Poop Bags.
  • A towel- we always bring a towel in the car and leave it in the car. This way, no matter what our dog gets into on the trail, I am able to clean her up before she brings lots of mud or other dirt into the car. It is helpful to dry her off to especially if the trail has lots of water along the way. 

 The best places to hike in Durango, Colorado with your dog

When looking for places to hike with your dog in Durango, Colorado, you’re sure to find plenty of amazing places to explore. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these trails are the perfect way to spend quality time with your furry friend. Here’s a look at some of the best places to hike in Durango, Colorado with a dog.

1. The Durango Dog Park in Town 

This may not be your typical 'hike' since it is a convenient spot located right in town and offers a great spot for pups to run around off-leash. It’s a great place to meet other dog owners and get some exercise in. This area is partially fenced in and also runs along the river, so it is perfect for those summer days when Fido can jump in and cool off. 

Dog off leash

2. Colorado Trail (Starting in Durango, Colorado)

This massive trail winds its way through 468 miles of mountains, forests, and rivers. You can take your pup for a short stroll or plan an entire day of hiking through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the state. This hike makes our top list for the best place to hike with your dog in Durango due to it closeness to town, its water features and beautiful scenery throughout. 
To get to this trail head follow these directions from the Colorado Trail Website: 

"The Junction Creek Trailhead is about three and a half miles along a paved road beginning at Main Avenue and West 25th Street in Durango. After about four blocks, West 25th becomes Junction Street and then Junction Creek Road (County Road 204), which leads to the trailhead. About a mile farther on County Road 204 is Junction Creek Campground, administered by the U.S. Forest Service."

You can park at the trailhead and there are bathroom facilities located here. Follow the signs to the trail and enjoy!

Colorado trail hiking

3. Animas Mountain Trail 

This moderate level 6 mile loop trail offers stunning views of Durango, as well as some easy access to a variety of mountain peaks. Along the trail, you’ll find rocky outcroppings and grassy meadows – perfect for those doggy exploration days.
Before heading out on any of these trails, be sure to check your pup’s comfort level with off-leash hiking and have them checked out by a vet to make sure they’re fit for the adventure. There are many areas of this trail that your dog can be off leash and there are signs that show the trail, etc at the beginning of the trail head. Check out the link above to get a good idea of the trail and what to expect. As with many other areas, there are lots of mountain bikers, climbers and other hikers that use this trail. 
Hiking with your pup in Durango, Colorado can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With the right precautions, it can also be incredibly safe. So get out there and explore!
dog on leash hiking

Tips for hiking with your dog:

Hiking with your dog can be a great way to explore the outdoors and spend quality time together. However, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind when hiking with your pup. Here are a few tips for what to do if you encounter another animal or another dog on the trail.
When You See or Pass Another Dog
When you see or pass another dog, it is important to give both dogs space. If you know that your dog is comfortable around other dogs, then you can allow them to socialize and interact at a safe distance from each other. However, if either dog appears uncomfortable, it is best to keep them separated and keep moving. Always ask the other owner for permission before allowing your pup to approach.
How to Keep Your Dog on Trail
When out on the trail, it is important to keep your dog focused and on-task. If they start to wander off the path, use verbal commands to redirect their attention. If necessary, use a long leash or retractable lead to ensure they stay on track. You should also be aware of any areas that may contain potential dangers like fast-moving rivers or sharp rocks.
What to Do if You Encounter Another Animal
If you come across another animal on the trail, the best thing to do is to stay calm and keep your pup away from the animal. If possible, try to move away quietly and slowly, making sure your dog remains at your side. If the animal is aggressive, put yourself between it and your dog, and don’t hesitate to call for help if needed if possible. 
By following these tips, you and your pup can safely enjoy the outdoors together and have a great time exploring the trails. With a little preparation and an awareness of potential risks, you can ensure that you both have an enjoyable and safe hiking experience.
Have a great time in Durango, Colorado and let us know how your hiking trips went!
Thank you for reading, 
Cheers, Mel
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