April 11  |  Our Communities


11 Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Fort Collins

It’s not breaking news that the Fort Collins area has a ridiculous amount of hiking trails. It’s also not surprising that there are a ton of dog owners in this town — perhaps for the very purpose of being able to explore these hiking trails and nearby parks with a fellow adventure-seeking companion.

It would be quite disappointing for us dog owners to embark on a hike with our dog in tow only to find it isn’t very dog-friendly after all. Maybe the incline is too intense, the terrain is rocky or unsafe, the park doesn’t allow dogs, or the hike’s length is just too long for your dog to endure. So to help with this, we found the best dog-friendly hikes near Fort Collins so you can focus your time on taking in the beautiful scenery on your hike.

Top dog-friendly hikes in Fort Collins include:

Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Location
Hiking Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Arapaho Bend Hike

Copyright © 1996-2016, City of Fort Collins

The Arapaho Bend Natural Area is a popular destination for dog walkers because of its close proximity to I-25 and for its ability to make you feel like you’re completely immersed in nature. The loop around the ponds in the natural area is about 2 miles of natural surface trail that follows the perimeter. This makes for the perfect dog-inclusive hike due to its terrain, proximity and level of difficulty.

Arthur’s Rock Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Arthur’s Rock Trail

Copyright © 2016 AllTrails, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Head to the trailhead of Arthur’s Rock Trail at Lory State Park for one of the best hikes in Fort Collins — especially for dogs! Thankfully, this hike does not include any extreme changes in elevation, difficult terrain, or a strenuous length. Your leashed dogs are welcome to accompany you on your hike along Arthur’s Rock Trail, but you should consider bringing a collapsible bowl and some fresh water as there is no source of running water near the trail.

Blue Sky Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 15 miles
Difficulty: Moderate–Difficult

Blue Sky Trail

Copyright © 2016 Adventure Projects Inc. | Photos Uploaded by Matt Miller and Carlos Guerrero

Because of the long length of this premiere regional trail, we recommend packing an abundance of water and snacks (for both you and your dog!) during your hike on Blue Sky Trail. While this is a longer hike, you’ll be motivated to endure the extra miles once you see the beautiful surroundings in this area. Keep in mind there is a $6 use fee, dogs must be on a leash less than 6 feet long, and dogs are not permitted in the Rim Rock and Coyote Ridge Natural Area (as indicated on this trail map).

Fossil Creek Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 5.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Fossil Creek Trail

Copyright © 2016 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)

Fossil Creek Trail is a popular 5-mile paved trail running through Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area along Fossil Creek. With no usage fees, free parking, and a close distance from the heart of Fort Collins, this makes for the perfect place to take your dog for a walk!

Horsetooth Falls Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 2.35 miles
Difficulty: Easy–Moderate

Horsetooth Falls Trail

Photos Courtesy of ProTrails.com.

It’s no secret that Horsetooth Mountain Open Space has miles and miles of outdoor adventure space, perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding. This particular trail only allows hiking though so you won’t have to be on the lookout for bikers or horseback riders during your leisurely 2.35-mile hike. At the end of your journey, you’ll be rewarded with views of the breathtaking Horsetooth Falls! Pay the daily entrance permit for Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, fill your water bottle up at the trailhead, and embark on a rewarding journey through nature with your pup.

Maxwell Natural Area Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Maxwell Natural Area

Copyright © 1996-2016, City of Fort Collins

The Maxwell Natural Area Trail is part of the 9.6-mile Foothills Trail and features scenic views of the mountains and the city. This is a short yet challenging hike located in the Maxwell Natural Area, so you and your dog can take in the beautiful sights of nature — including the Spotted Towhee bird and Mule Deer. As is custom, make sure you bring water along for your dog during this hike!

North Shields Pond Natural Area

Location
Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy

North Shields Pond Natural Area

Copyright © 1996-2016, City of Fort Collins

This 1.5-mile loop around Shields Pond provides a remote hike for you and your dog — just a few minutes northwest of Fort Collins. This is the perfect hike for water-loving dogs, as the path takes you along the Poudre River, allowing them to swim and splash in the water. Humans can enjoy wildlife sightings, including 30 species of birds that frequent the area, while your dog will enjoy — well, everything!

Poudre Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 12 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Poudre River Trail

Copyright © 2015 Poudre Trail

The Poudre Trail is one of the most popular trails in the area for humans and dogs alike. It follows the Poudre River for over 12 miles with easy access at several points along the trail. Because of its natural beauty, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere when really you are only a few minutes from downtown Fort Collins. And with its proximity to the Poudre River, there are plenty of swimming opportunities for water-seeking pups!

Power Trail

Location
Hiking Distance: 3.89 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Power Trail

Copyright © 2016 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)

This well-loved trail is a popular destination for bikers, hikers and dog walkers alike. The trail hosts a combination of dirt and paved trails, and a few smaller hills, which is quite unheard of with most urban trails. Because you are sure to encounter several hikers, bikers and joggers during your hike, be sure to keep your dog close to you and be on the lookout for foot and bike traffic from both directions!

Riverbend Ponds

Location
Hiking Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Riverbend Pond

Copyright © 1996-2016, City of Fort Collins

The flat, soft-surface trails weaving through the Riverbend Ponds Natural Area make this a popular destination for hikers and their dogs. Part of the Poudre River travels through this area and there are seven former gravel mine ponds on the property, all of which provide a serene and enjoyable environment during your hike. Enjoy the various loops around the bodies of water, as you experience a variety of habitats in this beautiful natural area.

Spring Creek Trail

Location
Distance: 6.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Spring Creek Trail

Copyright © 2016 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)

This paved trail follows Spring Creek and passes through various Fort Collins parks, which make this an enjoyable trail for humans and their four-legged companion(s). This trail is maintained by the city year-round, which makes it a clear path with no usage fee!

Can’t find the time to embark on a hike with your dog?

Don’t worry! Poochy Doos, LLC is a local company serving Fort Collins and Loveland that offers various pet services, including pet sitting, training, dog walking, special services, and for our purposes — dog hiking.

Poochy Doos Fort Collins

Photos courtesy of Poochy Doos, LLC

That’s right! Their experienced and dog-loving trail guides will take your dog on a one-on-one hike, with lots of play time, snacks and treats, swimming opportunities when available, lots of love and affection, and more! Most importantly, your dog will get exceptional exercise and a chance to walk off all of their energy. This is a wonderful alternative for the busy dog owner who wants their dog to experience nature and get lots of exercise!


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