Bailey sits in Platte Canyon in the foothills of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, about 30 miles southwest of Denver. Originally a ranching town, it quickly grew after a road was built for gold miners and their supplies, followed by the railroad that supported the timber industry. Today, it has become a paradise for adventurous souls and their fur-pups, from mountain climbing and hiking to camping and fishing. Numerous named mountains and marked trails crisscross the canyon and mountains near Bailey, and its location on the North Fork of the South Platte River affords more opportunities for dog-friendly outdoor recreation.
The McGraw Memorial Park resides in Bailey’s Town Center neighborhood. The 20-acre piece of land was donated for the purpose of providing a hiking area for the town of Bailey and its visitors. Most of the on-leash dog-friendly park is on the north side of the South Platte River and it features 18 acres of the Morrow Mountain trail system. With a dirt surface, the rough trails have been laid out and groomed by volunteers into 2 large loops that meander through woods and down steep inclines using stairs built out of soil, rock and tree branches. The park also features restrooms, 2 parking areas on the south side of the river with a bridge crossing over to the trails, and a picnic area. Fido is welcome, and he will love hiking beside you in this woofderful wildlife-rich area!
Whatever your favorite outdoor activity, you can find plenty of opportunities to do it in or near Bailey. Woof!
The Jefferson/ Como neighborhood of Fairplay is where you’ll find the Kenosha Pass West Trail in the Pike National Forest. This long trail is on-leash woofer-friendly and travels along the ridgeline of Kenosha Pass on the Colorado Trail through meadows and forested land. Your fur-buddy will love the streams you’ll cross where he can cool off and take a drink, and the trail is a consistently packed forest floor of dirt, so is easy going for both of you, once you’ve attained the ridgeline. It does rise quite a bit to that point so be prepared with drinking water and maybe a walking stick to help you on your way. This is a pawrrific, if long, walk!
This neighborhood in Conifer is where you’ll find dog-friendly Reynolds Park, a 2100-acre forested, mountainous area of 2100 acres containing 17 miles of trails. Several trails lead to scenic overlooks, and the Chickadee Trail ends at the Idylease Campground where Fido is welcome. At the campground you’ll find 5 semiprivate tented campsites, along with restrooms, grills, bear-proof food storage and water for cleaning (nondrinkable, so be sure to bring bottled water for you and your bestie!) The campground is hike-in only and is about 1.5 miles from the park entrance. The trails throughout the park are well-maintained and of varying skill levels, but well worth the effort as you and your pup catch pawrrific sightings of wildlife and take in spectacular views of the mountains and South Platte River below!
This Bailey neighborhood is home to Staunton State Park, a woofer-friendly gem of high Alpine-like grassy meadows and soaring granite cliffs. Family friendly, this park attracts walkers/hikers, bicyclists, and nature observers. Its streams and variety of terrain results in vegetation and wildlife diversity that draws residents and visitors alike. Pups must be on leash at all times, but that won’t diminish their fun as they sniff out small (and sometimes large!) mammals and visually track the raptors gliding on the thermals above. The park offers 15 trails of varying length and difficulty, as well as rock climbing areas, picnic sites, parking for a small fee, and restrooms. Be sure to check with the rangers at the park entrance about trail conditions and possible seasonal or other restrictions. Pawsome!
The Lost Creek Wilderness is 120,000 acres, located within the Pike National Forest, in the town of Buena Vista. Named for an underground creek that disappears and reappears above ground as it heads for the South Platte River, the Wilderness features a variety of rock formations, including granite domes and knobs as well as natural arches. Accessible year-round, it attracts hikers and rock-climbers in nice weather, cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts in winter on its 130 miles of trails. Part of the Wilderness is the 17,000-acre Lost Creek Scenic Area whose rock pinnacles and spires are a sight to see! Bring your fur-pup and your backpack with plenty of water and get out there!