The Ceran Saint Vrain Trail in Ward, Colorado, twenty miles from Boulder, is a puptastic trail for all levels of hikers. You'll have to follow Overland Road for a little while after it turns into a dirt road to get to the trailhead near Bark Ranch, a small town. There's not many services there or at the trailhead, which is just a small dirt lot with some rustic bulletin boards nailed to a post. There are no bathrooms available here. Just remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and bury or pack it out with you. Definitely bring along your own clean up bags and water for this hike.
The primitive nature of this trail is part of its appeal. It feels refreshingly wild here as you follow the river through deep forests of fir and spruce. Lodgepole pine and aspen trees filter sunlight into gentle streams of gold that make the water sparkle. Near the river, bigtooth maple and willow grow. Gorgeous wildflowers bloom along the soft dirt trail, including calypso, fairyslipper, and coralroot orchids. Birds you might spot here include hermit thrushes, ruby-crowned kinglets, broad-tailed hummingbirds, and goshawks.
Beds of pine needles that have been falling and piling up for centuries make the ground around the trail soft and yielding, perfect for dogs with tired or sensitive paws. The ground gets harder and the trail gets steeper for the final half-mile hike to Miller Rock, which requires you to continue past the end of the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail on an ATV road for half a mile. It's worth it for the stellar 360-degree panoramic view you'll enjoy when you get there. On your way, note the shape of the river as it recedes below you, flowing toward distant mountains.
Get out of Boulder for a day and get in touch with your wild side by bringing your dog to hike the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail with you. You'll return restored by the beauty of nature.