Salida boasts a variety of dog-friendly activities for you and your favorite four-legged friend to enjoy on your next mountain vacation. In addition, if you’re in need of vacation lodging, Creekside Chalets and Cabins is dog-friendly. We’ve got lots of space for your pooches to play as well a creek that runs through the property (which is perfect for those warm summer days). If you’ve just started planning your Colorado trip, you might be wondering exactly what you can do with Fido to make sure he has just as much fun as you. We’ve compiled some of the best dog-friendly options for your Salida vacation so you can get right to the fun and make the most of your time in the mountains.
Miles and miles of trails await you and your pup in Salida. While there are plenty of options in and around town, we’ve chosen three of our favorites.
Waterdog Lakes Trail
“Waterdog Lakes Trail is a 3.6-mile hike in San Isabel National Forest that will take about 4 hours to complete with Fido. This is a quick and easy hike for those who are regular hikers. The 2-mile trail runs alongside a stream and upward through an evergreen forest. You will reach the lakes at the timberline where Fido can take the opportunity for a splash in the water.” BringFido
The trail is rated as moderately difficult as it includes some rocky and steep sections. Much of it follows a creek, so if you happen to be hiking on a particularly hot day, your pooch can easily cool down. There are forested sections of the trail, too, so you can both cool off underneath the pines.
Hunt Lake Trail
If you take the Hunt Lake Trail, you’ll be treated to views of two pristine alpine lakes. The trail is considered to be moderately difficult with “ couple fairly steep but short stretches on the initial stretch to Boss.” One hiker reported, “Beautiful views of the valley from Boss Lake and watched some people fish for a bit. I kept going up to Hunt and nobody was up there. Very peaceful and the colors up there are remarkable. Dog had a nice cool down in the lake and we headed back.” AllTrails
If you have a higher clearance vehicle, you should have no problem driving to the trailhead. Otherwise, hiking to the trailhead will add an additional 2.2 miles to the trip. Either way, make sure to get an early start so afternoon thunderstorms don’t ruin your hiking plans.
You’ll find the Methodist Mountain Trail System just south of downtown Salida. Thanks to Salida’s mild climate and the fact that much of this trail system is under 8,000 feet in elevation, many of these trails are accessible year-round. There are about 30 miles of trails from which you can choose, half of which are rated as easy and half that are rated as more difficult. One caveat, however, most of these trails have no water features. So you’ll need to make sure you bring plenty of water for you and your dog. Otherwise, these trails are easily accessible from downtown, which makes it easy to grab a bite to eat before or after your excursion.
Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing on Old Monarch Pass
If you’re interested in doing something other than hitting the slopes on your winter vacation, consider taking your pup on a snowshoe trip through the forest. One of our favorite trails is Old Monarch Pass. “Old Monarch Pass Road is the perfect first cross-country ski or snowshoe trail to start your winter of snowy adventures. Branching off of U.S. 50/Monarch Pass, this trail offers easy to access and mellow terrain- perfect for beginners or experienced skiers alike. The road climbs gradually from the highway to the high Continental Divide with big views of all the surrounding mountain ranges.” The Mountain Mail
Splashing in the Arkansas River
The Arkansas River borders downtown Salida and is a popular spot for dogs throughout the summer months. You’ll find various access points in and around town. On a hot summer day, you likely won’t have to look too hard to find a popular section of the river that’s full of frolicking dogs. “Dogs can accompany you along the Arkansas River in downtown Salida, on sidewalks, hiking trails and wherever dogs are welcome (please keep them on a leash for their own safety).” Salida Chamber of Commerce
Keep in mind, though, that dogs are not allowed in any city parks, including Riverside Park. So while the parks may look quite tempting, you run the risk of being ticketed should you bring your pooch in for a stroll in a city park. There is one dog park in Salida, which is covered below.
Crazy River Dog Competition
Should your Salida vacation coincide with the FIBArk Whitewater Festival (held on Father’s Day weekend), you may want to look into having your pup participate in the Crazy River Dog competition. It’s an incredibly fun for spectators and participants alike. “Eight dogs the contest in which dogs retrieve an object thrown into the river near a buoy. Time begins when the dog leaves shore and ends when the dog gets back to shore.” The Mountain Mail
You’ll find Loyal Duke’s Dog Park at Holman Avenue and the Milk Run Trail. There are separate sections for large and small dogs along with a shaded area. While most local dog owners share the same opinion that the park needs more grass, they also note the park is a wonderful addition to the city and appreciate its other features: “They have baggies available for cleaning up after your dog, waste cans, playground toys, lots of running room, place to park, a trail nearby if you want to walk your dog on a leash.” BringFido
Community Dog Walk
Looking to meet other dog owners in the area and give your pooch a chance to socialize? Gone to the Dogs hosts a free community dog walk every Saturday at 9 a.m. On this leisurely, one-hour walk, they “help you with leash walking skills. It is also great socializing for dogs that are not balanced and have issues with humans or other dogs. Balanced Ambassador dogs are invited to give other dogs their calm and confident energy. If you are having difficulty with your dog pulling, the trainers will give you tips on stopping the pulling. A pack of dogs walking together is very powerful therapy! Is your dog is a little shy around strange people or strange dogs? This free class is perfect to socialize them!” Gone to the Dogs
Dog-Friendly Restaurant Patios
After a long day of exploring the outdoors, you may want to head into town to grab a bite to eat. While not all restaurants have dog-friendly patios, you’ll still be able to find some. It’s advisable to check with the restaurant in advance of your arrival to confirm that pet policies have not changed.
Moonlight Pizza is located at 242 F Street. They have a spacious outdoor seating area and their menu includes a huge selection of pizzas as well as sandwiches, salads, and moonzones (their take on calzones). If you decide to visit on a Monday, you’ll be happy to know that they donate 10% of their sales to local non-profit organizations. Their pizza dough and sandwich bread are made fresh daily. And if you’re a soda connoisseur, you’re bound to fall in love with their handmade sodas.
Boathouse Cantina, at 228 North F Street, is another wonderful dog-friendly option. Located riverfront, you’ll be able to watch rafters and kayakers as they make their way down the Arkansas. Their menu features an amazing assortment of tacos, salads, and burgers as well as local wines, beers, and specialty cocktails.
Located at the top of Monarch Pass, the scenic tramway takes visitors to the top of the Continental Divide at over 12,000 feet in elevation. “Monarch Crest Scenic Tram welcomes your furry friends on the Gondola. There are many trails and places for hiking and playing on the top of the Tram.” In addition to hiking trails with panoramic views, there’s also an on-site gift shop with a variety of wonderful souvenirs. Dogs are allowed in the gift shop area, but they must be kept on a leash and controlled at all times. (You will be held for any damage they cause.) There’s a food area in the shop, too, but dogs are not allowed in this section.