If every dog has his (or her) day, then Feb. 22 just might be that day.
That’s National Walk Your Dog Day, which seems like a pretty good day if you’re a dog. After all, say the word “walk” to your dog right now and watch him freak out. Then, after you’ve mopped up the puddle on the floor, celebrate the day by taking him outside, perhaps to a new place. Here are six ideas gathered from Dog Lovers of Denver’s Facebook group and park websites:
Lair o’ the Bear Park
This Jefferson County Open Space in Idledale — which has to be one of the coolest names ever for a park — features picnic tables and fishing at Bear Creek. But it’s also a good place to walk your dog. There’s even a 12.6-mile, round-trip trek on Bear Creek Trail that passes through three Denver mountain parks, but no one except your dog is saying you have to go that far to have a good time. Visit jeffco.us for more information.
Bear Creek Lake Park
This Lakewood spot’s extensive network of soft trails makes it the perfect place for the annual Bear Chase Trail Race ultramarathon, which covers distances from 10K all the way up to a 100K. It’s a gorgeous area, with creeks and trails you can hike for hours. Visit lakewood.org for more information.
Are you feeling a little pressure because we’ve included two places where you can go on a Bear Grylls-like adventure? Don’t worry, there are places to go that don’t require a backpack. We’re barely getting started. (See what we did there?)
Westminster Hills Off-Leash Dog Park
If you or your pup are not up for a long day of walking, this place sounds like an Elitch Gardens for dogs. There’s a dog swimming pond, a dog drinking fountain and 420 acres in which your dog can romp and play with other dogs. The best part: You don’t need a leash. You can walk your dog on the trail, play fetch or just watch the other dogs run into each other.
Keep in mind that off-leash dogs can be a little crazy, so if you bring young children, keep an eye on them so they don’t get run over. Note: Your dog should respond to voice commands and should not harass other dogs or wildlife. No bullying on the playground, in other words. Visit cityofwestminster.us for more information.
Cherry Creek State Park
This Aurora park, just like the one in Westminster, is a favorite of folks on Dog Lovers of Denver’s Facebook page. This is a quieter time for the park, as the lake is closed (it should open in March), but there’s a natural prairie over gentle, rolling hills. There’s also a family shooting range, but we’re guessing that doesn’t include your dog, so you may want to stick to the extensive selection of hiking trails. Visit cpw.state.co.us for more information.
North Table Mountain Park
Golden is an amazing place for trail-runners, and since the city just hosted a festival that attracted more than 1,000 Golden Retrievers (and our heart just burst at the thought of it), this is a pretty cool place to walk your dog. The area is rugged but safe, and you can go as far as you want. If you are looking for a more civilized stroll, there’s always the concrete trail next to the river that sweeps through the city and through Lions Park. Visit cityofgolden.net for more information.
Sloan’s Lake Park
This park got rave reviews on TripAdvisor for being less crowded than Washington Park or City Park. Many people say the 2-mile walk around the lake is also prettier. Bonus: There’s even a large parking lot. You’ll have to keep your dogs leashed, but we’re guessing they won’t mind. Visit cityofgolden.net for more information.