Barking Boulder

Seven Hikes for You and Your Pooch
By Cindy Hirschfeld
Page 1 of 4   |  
Map of Boulder region
Boulder County and surrounding region

The trail map put out by the Colorado Mountain Club (Boulder Group) includes many hiking options in addition to the ones suggested here. Look for it at the Chatauqua Park ranger's cottage as well as at local mountaineering stores.

Boulder Hiking Trails, by Ruth and Glenn Cushman, is another good resource.


The communities of Boulder County, including Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, Longmont, and the mountain town of Nederland, provide lots of great outdoor opportunities for dogs, even though development in the area increases at a rate faster than a wagging tail.

Boulder is in general a dog-friendly town, though environmental and shared-use concerns have recently made dogs on trails the subject of occasionally heated debate. A local group known as FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space) has become an advocate of canine rights, working to keep the majority of trails accessible to dogs.

Rules and Regulations

Boulder dogs are extremely lucky. Current regulations allow dogs to be off-leash on most City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trails (but not on Boulder County Open Space), though they must always be within their owner's sight and under voice control. (Voice control means a dog must come immediately when called, no matter what distractions of other dogs, wildlife, or people may tempt him to do otherwise.) Rangers will test your dog's obedience level on occasion (a pocketful of treats can be helpful in such situations—for your dog, not the ranger!). Plastic "pet pickup" baggies are considerately provided at many trailheads to encourage you to clean up after your dog's pit stops—use them!

Dogs are not allowed on Boulder's downtown, pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall, which limits their sightseeing and shopping options somewhat. A leash law is enforced within the city limits of all towns in Boulder County, though not in unincorporated Boulder County. And though there's no direct ordinance against public tethering, the City of Boulder leash law can be interpreted as prohibiting it. So you're better off leaving your dog in the car with the windows wide open when running that quick errand than tying him up outside the store.

© Article copyright Fulcrum Books. All rights reserved

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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