Estes Park is a wonderful family vacation destination – and we mean everyone in the family! Find dog-friendly things to do, places to dine, and hikes near Estes Park for your next family getaway to the mountains.
A walk around Estes Park is a great way to burn some energy (for your dog) and get to know the area (for you). Window shop along the Riverwalk – many stores are dog-friendly, or at least provide a bowl of water for a hydration break. There are lots of great places to stop for a romp in the grass (Baldwin Park, for example) or for a rest next to the river (check out the benches near KIND Coffee!). The Riverwalk connects to the Lake Estes trail near the Visitor Center so you can access the 3.75 mile loop around the beautiful lake. Just a few steps off of that trail is the Estes Park Dog Park in case Fido needs to zoom around and play with some new pals. Park at the new parking garage for easy access to all of these activities!
If you need some refreshment during your day in Estes, head to dog-friendly spots like Rock Cut Brewing Company, Lumpy Ridge Brewing Company, and The Barrel (outdoor beer garden). All three spots have dog-friendly patios so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Estes while having a beer or two. Rock Cut and Lumpy Ridge both have food trucks onsite as well, so grabbing a bite to eat is easy and convenient.
Other dog-friendly spots include Bob & Tony’s Pizza, Poppy’s Pizza & Grill (ask for a patio table and your dog can rest on the other side of the gate from you), or Mama Rose’s (ask for a similar setup as Poppy’s). Another favorite option? Grab take-out from your favorite restaurant and have a picnic near the lake or in one of the downtown parks. Best of both worlds!
Unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed on the hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, though they are welcome in cars, picnic areas, and established roads and parking lots while leashed. Luckily, there are other hiking trails nearby where you can take your pooch!
Homer Rouse Trail: A short drive from town, yet far enough to escape the hustle and bustle, is the Homer Rouse Trail. This out-and-back trail is maintained by the Estes Valley Recreation & Park District and protected by the Estes Valley Land Trust. Crossing through land owned by Cheley Camp, the trail follows a small creek before crossing into the forest. After a short section of mild switchbacks, the trail opens onto a wide gravel road (free of any vehicle traffic) that climbs to a finish just below the Baldpate Inn. Views of Longs Peak and Lily Mountain make this just-shy-of-four-miles stroll through the aspen groves wonderful for people and their pups alike!
Lily Mountain Trail: Just a few miles south of Estes along Highway 7 is the trailhead for Lily Mountain, a National Forest trail that borders Rocky Mountain National Park. Roadside parking is limited so arrive early to secure a spot (and get your hike done before it gets too hot!).
The trail climbs steadily over two miles to a rocky and exposed summit with 360-degree views of the Continental Divide, Estes Valley, and Longs Peak. Careful if your dog is not too surefooted, as climbing the rocks could be dangerous, but don’t worry about missing the views – there are several spots along the way up to pull off and enjoy a scenic break. There is no water available on this trail so make sure you bring plenty of your own!
Don’t plan your Estes Park vacation without your pup! Check out our dog-friendly cabins and suites that you’ll all enjoy!