Steamboat Springs is a classic Colorado mountain town. The area was named by early settlers for the local hot springs which made sounds somewhat like a steamboat. It punches above its weight class as a major vacation destination with many visitors eager to hike the dog-friendly natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The people who live here are passionate about their pups. There are 52 pet-friendly hotels in town, and the locals expanded the two dog parks in the city to six total off-leash areas. In case your fluffy friend needs healthcare, there are 9 local vets as well.
Steamboat Springs’ business owners often have in-store mascots that have the run of the place. The Elk River Pet and Ranch is a small, family-owned business with a huge selection of pet food, supplies, and more for large and small animals. Faithful companions Nugget, Zoe, and Yogi are the local dogs who run the store and will greet you at the door with wagging tails.
For the most fervent hikers with energetic canine pals, the Red Dirt Trail is a 12.7 mile round trip trail through open forest. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking, and is best used from May through September. The trailhead is accessible from Elk River Road and County Road 129, where you can park your car in the lot. Dogs must remain on leash during the entire hike, and you’ll need to pack in doggy bags. This beautiful forest hike has plenty of shade, but no creeks or watering holes to cool off hot paws, so be sure to bring plenty of water for your pawed pal.
Steamboat Springs is a lovely, laidback mountain town where canine companions are welcome just about anywhere.
Mad Creek is a paw-pular, moderately-hard trail for hikers
and their canine companions. The stunning view of the Rockies is your reward
for conquering the hike’s initial ascent of almost a mile. For more adventurous
people and hardy dogs who love a challenge, Mad Creek accesses the much harder 13-mile
Red Dirt Trail during the ascent, but be sure to pack enough water before
beginning either hike, as there is none available. Otherwise, hikers and their
fluffy friends will be treated to a woof-derful view, a historic barn just
right for a selfie with your favorite pup before taking the connecting bridge
back to the Trailhead. There are a few nice stops along the trail perfect for a
snack, but no doggy stations, so bring your own bags for the hike.
Pups and people love the
pawsome seven-mile Yampa River Core Trail. It passes all the way through the
city as it follows and crosses the Yampa River. Along the way, you'll
find picnic spots, benches and scenic overlooks. Parking and trail access are
simple from the nearby Little Toots Park on 12th Street. The mostly flat and
concrete trail provides access to the downtown area, and also links to a few
city parks along the way. It’s easy to find water for your fluffy friend at the
stopping points, but pack along some doggy bags as the stations aren’t quite as
regular. Beau Jo's Pizza is a casual Italian restaurant where your pup can join
you for a quick snack at one of the six pet-friendly outdoor tables while you
rest and recharge before finishing your hike. Scratch is another reasonably-priced
place that welcomes pups at outdoor tables in the downtown area while their
companions grab a bite to eat.
The first dog park in the area was the Rita
Valentine Dog Park, which is accessible from Highway 40 and Anglers Drive
intersection. It’s not a traditional fenced-in area with small/large zones.
Instead, this dog park is a large grassy open field with plenty of room to
roam, play, throw Frisbees, and see nature up close. The backdrop is stunning,
and there are a few trails for pups and pals to explore together. There is a dog-level
water fountain, benches, shade, and dog waste stations in the designated off-leash
area. After a fun day running around the Rocky Mountains, head over to the
Backcountry Delicatessen, a dog-friendly place where you and your puppy pal can
grab a breakfast sandwich to enjoy on the patio while relaxing and
taking in the stunning views.
You won’t have to leave Fido alone when you venture out for
breakfast at Lil House Country Biscuits and Coffee. You’ll find warm, flaky
biscuits and a steaming selection of coffee to warm you up on cold mornings as
you sit outside and soak up the high-altitude sunshine. Moe’s Original BBQ also
welcomes fur-iendly visitors at the popular southern barbeque restaurant.
Doggos are welcome to dine with their human companions at the five dog-friendly
tables outside. Yet another paw-friendly place is Storm Peak Brewing Company. You’ll
find doggos and their people making new friends on the relaxing patio. If you
find you need pet supplies, pop into Elk River Pet and Ranch for doggy bags,
travel water bowls, and a large selection of pet food.
Whistler Park gives pooches room to roam with three
designated off-leash activity areas. The north portion is off-leash year round,
but there are restrictions during elk winter season that require leashes in the
south section to keep all four-legged creatures safe. Each off-leash area is clearly
signed at entry/exit points with a map outlining the area and any restrictions
in effect. Off-leash trail sections are available for a pawsome hike, but you
and Fido must stay on the trail and within sight of one-another. After a fun
day roaming through the forest, stop by Paws and Claws-All Things Pet for a
treat. The family-owned small business has a great
selection of top dog food brands, supplies, accessories, and treats to
celebrate a fun day outside.