Just an hour west of Boulder, Colorado, the Arapaho Glacier Trail takes you deep into the Indian Peaks Wilderness and a natural playground to explore with your canine companion. This challenging trail is worth the effort, as it offers some of the best views of Colorado’s largest and southernmost glacier, the Arapaho Glacier, along with South Arapaho Peak, and North Arapaho Peak. The glacier itself is the primary source of drinking water for the city of Boulder, and off limits to the public.
The Arapaho Glacier Trail is an unmaintained native trail, but it is well marked and well travelled. It can be started from the Rainbow Lakes Trailhead, just before Rainbow Lakes Campground in the small town of Nederland. Here you can find free parking, vault toilets, and dog friendly campsites if you’d like to stay a while!
The first 1.5 miles of the trail passes through cool spruce and fir forests at a gradual incline, until you pass the timberline. At this point, the rest of the trail is through exposed high tundra. Once you’ve cleared the trees, you can enjoy the big mountain views without an obstruction. The most challenging part of the trail is at the end, where you finish with a steep, rocky scramble up North Arapaho Peak. Some decide to turn back before climbing up to the peak, so it’s best to make sure you and your doggo are up to the challenge before attempting it.
Along the trail not only will you get to enjoy furtastic mountain and glacier views, but beautiful wildflowers and waterfalls. Dogs are welcome on the trail, as long as they stay leashed and leave only paw prints. Don’t forget the waste bags!
Arapaho Glacier Trail is the perfect way to spend a day getting some invigorating exercise with your best pal, all while being immersed in gorgeous nature.
There is no drinking water available along the trail, so bringing water for yourself and your dog are a must. Be prepared for changing weather and high winds. Keep an eye on your pupper for injuries along the rocky trails.