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Hiking With Dogs: What You Need To Know Before You Hit The Trail

Leash Laws, How To Prepare & More To Consider Before You Hike With Your Dog

Durango is a very dog-friendly town with plenty to do for both you and your pup. When you visit Durango with your dog, we recommend hitting some local trails. Exploring the outdoors with your pooch will make for memories that last a lifetime. Before you go, check out some of our tips for hiking with dogs in Durango and read up on the best trails to explore.

Leash Laws & Information

Within the city limits, dogs are required to be on a leash at all times. They are also not allowed to be tethered anywhere along public streets. Within the county, at the dog park and in the San Juan National Forest, dogs are welcome and allowed off leash as long as they listen to your voice commands and are always in your sight. These laws are for the safety of you, your dog and other visitors.

Leave Nothing But Paw Prints

The saying "leave no trace" applies to all outings in Durango and southwest Colorado, even ones with your pup. This means that you are responsible for not only cleaning up after yourself, but also your furry friend. Be sure to bring along bags and pick up your pup's poop along the way. This helps to leave the environment as you found it and is a common courtesy for other hikers.

When To Yield

A point of confusion for many beginner hikers in general is when to yield to other hikers on the trail. Typically on a hike, downhill hikers should yield to uphill hikers. When you bring your dog, however, the etiquette changes a bit. Hikers with dogs should always yield to other hikers, whether they are going up or downhill. If you bring your dog along, be sure to step off the trail to let other hikers pass.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Ready

Before you consider taking your dog hiking, be sure that they are ready for any and all obstacles or situations you may encounter. Basic obedience is crucial to ensuring you have a stress-free hike. If your dog is unable to remain calm at the sight of other people and dogs, it'll cause unnecessary stress to both you and other hikers. You know your dog best, so take time to evaluate them before you plan a trip.

Always Be Prepared

Before you take a hike, make sure you consider everything you'll need to bring for your dog. Hiking with dogs is a great experience as long as you come prepared. Plenty of extra water, a first-aid kit, booties, a harness, a strong leash, food & treats and even a jacket if the weather is cold are all important things to consider depending on how long of a hike you are taking.

Choose A Hike

There are plenty of hikes to choose from around Durango. With most of the trails in the area being pet-friendly, your options are endless. We recommend starting out with an easy hike to get you and your dog used to the experience. Once you're comfortable, choose something longer or with more difficult terrain.

Find A Hike

Bring your dog along on a Durango hike the next time you're in town for unforgettable memories and great companionship. While you're in town, you'll also want to check out some of the dog-friendly patios at local restaurants. Don't forget to tag us in your photos on Instagram at @durangocom.

*Every year the Bureau of Land Management Colorado implements seasonal closures of trail access across the state to reduce disturbance to wintering wildlife. These closures usually take place between December & April. Please see BLM Colorado's interactive map of seasonal closures before planning your outdoor activities.

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