Johnstown, Colorado was a small town not too long ago. As the housing market in Northern Colorado intensified in the last decade, Johnstown has grown to the north and south. The population continues to expand, and Johnstown is booming with new neighbors of both the human and canine variety.
With eight city parks in place, Johnstown is ready for a pawpulation explosion. Lake Park on Rocksbury Lane has a walking trail just over a mile in length circling the lake. (Sorry, dog-paddlers: no swimming or boating is allowed.) Pocket parks located within residential neighborhoods are typically small, just a playground and lawn, but still furrific for a quick weekday stretch.
Johnstown offers plenty of canine comforts. The new Fetch-N-Go Pet Supply on College Park Plaza is locally owned, and their high-end pet food selection might help your pup forget about the self-service dog wash station. There are two veterinary practices in town and a third next door in Milliken.
If your pups are connoisseurs of the good life, they’ll find more shopping and dining options in Loveland, 12 miles northwest, or Greeley, 16 miles northeast. For a true urban adventure, Fort Collins is 25 miles north, or you can be in Downtown Denver in under an hour: with more than a dozen off-leash dog parks and almost 250 dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, this bustling metropolis can meet any pup’s needs!
On the north end of Downtown Johnstown, Sunrise Park on Greeley Avenue has a paved walking path that’s easy on tender paws and strollers. Follow the path northeast to loop around to the sidewalk on Greeley Ave: this affluent, safe neighborhood gives you plenty of space to extend your workout. A network of footpaths — complete with doggy waste bag dispensers and garbage cans — weaves through the subdivision at the west end of Third Street, just a few blocks south. The well-maintained homes in this neighborhood are full of young families, making pedestrian and pawdestrian travel a priority. The trails connect to sidewalks and continue along the southern edge of the neighborhood, running parallel to Highway 60.
The town of Milliken is directly east of Johnstown, just a couple of miles down the road. Milliken’s excellent city parks dot the residential neighborhood, and the three largest parks are clustered together on the eastern edge of Milliken: Ehrlich Park, Sappington Park, and Centennial Park. All three parks are located within the section of Highway 60 between Highway 25 and Alice Avenue. Each park offers a walking trail ideal for a quick stretch. The S. Traildust Drive Neighborhood Trail at Ehrlich does a loop of the lake. On the other side of the railroad tracks and connecting to the adjacent neighborhood’s sidewalks, an extensive dog-walking trail traces the boundary between subdivisions. The trails and grassy lawns at Sappington Park are located at the heart of this housing development on School House Road. Centennial Park has a paved trail around a sizable lake at the eastern edge of town.
Loveland, Colorado is a nearby shopping and dining hub about 12 miles from downtown and just down the street from northern Johnstown. Boyd Lake State Park is located just north of town near the Seven Lakes neighborhood. This waterfront retreat on the banks of a 1,700-acre reservoir gives your pups plenty to bark about. Dogs are welcome (leashes required) on the trails running along the water’s edge for the length of the park. The city of Loveland also has a 19-mile loop of recreational trails encircling the community: city trails link up to Boyd Lake State Park trails on the north and south ends of the park; try the easy walk down to Seven Lakes Park. Just south of the Boyd Lake on Highway 34, several of Loveland’s 40+ dog-friendly restaurants are on your route home, including Big City Burrito and 3 Margaritas to spice up your day in the park.
The closest off-leash play place for Johnstown pups is Freedom Dog Park in Evans, just south of Greeley. With water and waste stations, a mix of grass and gravel surfaces, and agility equipment available in the three fenced runs, your pup will have plenty of entertainment. To extend your workout, there are two community parks are located just half-a-mile west on 42nd Street, directly across the highway from one another. The walking trail at Prairie View Park circles the playground and meadow, and the paved perimeter path at Ridge Park gives excellent views of the picnic grounds and athletic facilities. To fuel up between parks, visit one of several dog-friendly restaurants nearby or just grab take-out coffee at The Human Bean.
The Denver suburb of Longmont is 21 miles from Johnstown, but your pack will be begging for a road trip once they get a taste of Longmont’s dog-loving parks. The main attraction near the Fox Hill neighborhood is the Union Reservoir Dog Beach. Located on the south side of the reservoir, the Dog Beach offers a long stretch of lakeside access to waist-deep water where you can swim with your buddies. Note that there's a daily parking fee and that fencing around the beach is incomplete; while dogs are allowed off-leash here, it’s not a good idea if your pup doesn’t come when called. If you need a safer (or drier) spot for an off-leash frolic, a fully-fenced dog park is available in Stephen Day Park, just 2 miles west. It’s one of several in Longmont, so consider making a day of it. You can stop for lunch at one of the 36 pet-friendly restaurant patios in town, ranging from Mexican to Southern BBQ to classic pub grub.