Bringing your pet to Rocky Mountain National Park may seem like a good idea during initial trip planning. But if you are imagining the two of you frolicking through endless fields of wildflowers and relaxing at alpine lakes, you are going to experience a tough reality check at the park entrance.
No Dogs on Trails
To protect wildlife and pets, Rocky Mountain National Park prohibits dogs on all trails and in the backcountry. This means you can only let your leashed dog out of the car in parking lots, on the roadside areas, picnic areas and campgrounds. When your dog is out of your vehicle, it must be on leash and that leash must be no longer than 6 feet. Park rangers recommend Endovalley Road (near the entrance to Old Fall River Road) as a scenic place to walk your dog. Don’t forget to pack plastic bags to pick up after your pet.
Never Leave Your Dog in the Car
Because of the limited areas where dogs are allowed, you may face the issue of what to do with your dog if you want to go on a hike. In this case, your biggest enemy is heat. You should never leave your pet in your vehicle during the warm weather months. Despite the fact the park has cooler temperatures than the communities at lower elevations, the sun is strong and cars can heat up quickly. On an 85-degree day, temperatures inside your car with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society. After 30 minutes, temperatures can reach 120 degrees. In both scenarios, your pet can rapidly experience irreversible organ damage or die.
Dog Kennels in Nearby Communities
There are boarding options in Estes Park, Colo. (Search), which lies at the foot of the park’s east entrance and in Grand Lake, Colo. (Search), which sits at the park’s west entrance. It is recommended you reserve boarding in advance at the kennels as they can fill up.