Doggin' Denver: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In The Mile High City

Doggin’ Denver: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In The Mile High City

By Doug Gelbert

Until 1890 Colorado municipalities labored under a 40-acre limit for town parks. When new laws were passed 320 acres were purchased for City Park, today just two miles from downtown between 17th and 23rd avenues and York Street and Colorado Boulevard. What was once buffalo grass and sagebrush was transformed into open grassy fields and shade trees. It remains Denver’s largest park and a good choice to walk the dog among fountains, monuments and ponds.

For more extended hikes with your dog head to Cherry Creek State Park, 15 minutes to the southeast.

Many people feared that Castlewood Dam was shoddily built from its beginnings in 1890 to provide irrigation for the agricultural development of Douglas County. And in August of 1933, the dam indeed collapsed sending a wall of water 1/2 mile wide and 15 feet high through Denver. This disaster resulted in the development of a comprehensive flood control program for Cherry Creek that led to the construction of the Cherry Creek Dam and reservoir in 1950. The 3,900-acre state park grew up around the project. Dogs are not allowed on the reservoir’s swimming beach.

Since you won’t be coming to this dog-friendly park for solitude – 1.5 million visits per year and controlled access at times – canine hikers may want to head for the dog park first. In the southern area of the park is a 60-acre off-leash playground of open grassland for dogs. A small creek provides a watery diversion.

Outside the dog park, as befits an urban park most of the 12 miles of rolling trails are paved. The Cherry Creek Trail slices through the park from north to south. Hardy canine hikers can explore some of the trail systems that head out of the park, including the 70-mile Highline Canal Trail. There is very little hiking in Cherry Creek State Park that will set your dog to panting.

Cherry Creek State Park is in Aurora, one mile south of I-225 on Parker Road, adjacent to south Denver.

copyright 2006

Doug Gelbert is the author of over 20 books, including The Canine Hiker’s Bible. To subscribe to his FREE Newsletter on hiking with your dog and receive a copy of Rules for Dogs in 100 of the Most Popular National Park Service Lands, visit In the warmer months he leads canine hikes for tours, guiding packs of dogs and humans on hiking adventures. Tours, ranging from one-day trips to multi-day explorations, visit parks, historical sites and beaches.

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