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Road Trip: Western Colorado

DrivingDurangoLooking for more places to hit up along your route, places to stay or general tips on traveling with your four-legged family? Head on over to GoPetFriendly.com and you’ll find all you need to hit the open road!

 

When you’ve had enough of this dog-eat-dog world, nothing beats a road trip with your pooch. And when the heat and humidity are more than you can stand, there’s no better place to go than the Colorado Rockies, where the days are sunny and the nights are crisp and clear.

Whether you’re the outdoorsy type, a foodie hankering to try something new, or a clothes hound itching for some retail therapy, we’ve got you covered on this trip. So grab a leash and the camera! We’re taking the high road in western Colorado.

Well start this trip in Southwest Colorado in the charming town of Durango and then head north to Telluride and finish in beautiful Aspen. Have any favorite spots along this route that we may have missed? Comment below and let us know!

 

 

Travel to Durango

 The Animas River trail, a 7-mile paved riverfront pathway. The 5-acre Durango Dog Park where dogs can run, roam and swim.  The pet-friendly patio at Home Slice Pizza – one of the best pies we’ve ever had!

– The Animas River trail, a 7-mile paved riverfront pathway.
- The 5-acre Durango Dog Park where dogs can run, roam and swim.
- The pet-friendly patio at Home Slice Pizza – one of the best pies we’ve ever had!

Durango

Combine Old West architecture with the energy and creativity of a college town and you’ve got downtown Durango. Chock-full of boutiques, galleries, award-winning restaurants, and charming hotels, you could spend several days perusing Main Street.

 

But you won’t find the true nature of the Rockies amongst the paved streets and brick buildings. For that, you’ve got to get outdoors and hike a section of the Colorado Trail, paddle a canoe around Vallecito Lake or picnic in one of the town’s many parks.

Durango To TellurideRoute to Telluride:
118 miles, 2 hours 20 minutes
Take CO 165 west to CO 145 north, then follow signs to Telluride.

Mesa Verde National Park – Though dogs are not allowed on the trails here, it’s worth spending a few hours to drive through. The ancient cliff dwellings are spectacular and several can be seen from the road.

Mesa Verde National Park – Though dogs are not allowed on the trails here, it’s worth spending a few hours to drive through. The ancient cliff dwellings are spectacular and several can be seen from the road.

Stop to check out the view at the top of Lizard Head Pass, the highest point on this road trip at 10,222 feet.

Stop to check out the view at the top of Lizard Head Pass, the highest point on this road trip at 10,222 feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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- The free gondola to Mountain Village (stickers in the windows indicate the pet-friendly cars) - The upscale pet accessories available at Alpen Schatz - The 1.75-mile paved Idarado Legacy Trail for a view of Bridal Veil Falls

– The free gondola to Mountain Village (stickers in the windows indicate the pet-friendly cars)
- The upscale pet accessories available at Alpen Schatz
- The 1.75-mile paved Idarado Legacy Trail for a view of Bridal Veil Falls

Dehydration is a serious danger when visiting higher altitudes. Be sure you always carry plenty of water for yourself and your dog.

Dehydration is a serious danger when visiting higher altitudes. Be sure you always carry plenty of water for yourself and your dog.

Telluride

Surrounded by evergreen- and aspen-covered mountains, Telluride is the most picturesque town in Colorado. But it wasn’t the scenery that originally drew folks here. Fortune seekers hoping to strike it rich arrived just after gold was discovered near Denver in 1858. Times were good until just after World War I when silver prices crashed and the mining industry collapsed, turning Telluride into a ghost town.

Today the economy still relies on the land to provide but the focus has shifted to its stunning panoramas and quaint Victorian village scenes. Telluride embraces its past and, at the same time, is dedicated to healing the environmental scars inflicted by those that came before. Old railroad routes have been turned into wooded trails. The power plant, built in 1907 atop iconic Bridal Veil Falls, produces sustainable hydroelectric power. And tailing piles – huge heaps of rock discarded in the mining process – have been covered in topsoil so wildflowers can take root.

 

Telluride to Aspen

Route to Aspen:
205 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes.
Take CO 145 west to CO 62 north to Hwy 550 north. In Delta, take 92 east. In Hotchkiss, bear left on CO 133 to CO 82 east to Aspen.

 

Take the opportunity to stretch your legs at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. For 2 million years the Gunnison River has been carving this canyon, revealing some of the oldest exposed rock on earth. Dogs are welcome to join you on the Rim Rock, Cedar Point and North Rim Chasm View trails.

Take the opportunity to stretch your legs at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. For 2 million years the Gunnison River has been carving this canyon, revealing some of the oldest exposed rock on earth. Dogs are welcome to join you on the Rim Rock, Cedar Point and North Rim Chasm View trails.

In Ridgway, check out the massive eagle sculpture in (actor) Dennis Weaver Memorial Park and then grab a bite to eat at The Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery, one of the area’s many local breweries.

In Ridgway, check out the massive eagle sculpture in (actor) Dennis Weaver Memorial Park and then grab a bite to eat at The Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery, one of the area’s many local breweries.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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- A decadent 5-star lunch at the Terrace Bar at The Little Nell, where your pup will have his own pet menu - The Smuggler Mountain Road Off-leash Area - The chance to stand atop the Continental Divide at Independence Pass, 12,095 feet above sea level and just 19 miles southeast of Aspen on CO-82

– A decadent 5-star lunch at the Terrace Bar at The Little Nell, where your pup will have his own pet menu
- The Smuggler Mountain Road Off-leash Area
- The chance to stand atop the Continental Divide at Independence Pass, 12,095 feet above sea level and just 19 miles southeast of Aspen on CO-82

Pack your dog’s bed, blanket or favorite toy to help him feel comfortable while you’re away from home.

Pack your dog’s bed, blanket or favorite toy to help him feel comfortable while you’re away from home.

Aspen

You might expect this ski town, with its high-end shopping and famous hotels, to have a snooty air but you’d be wrong. Aspen is a celebration of outdoor living, making it the perfect place to vacation with your dog.

The only dilemma you’ll face here is whether to spend your days people-watching and chatting with the friendly locals, hitting the trails for more eye-popping scenery, or joining the window-shoppers at Burberry and Gucci.

 

 

 

 

Winter – Take your dog for a sleigh ride at Rapp Corral in Durango! Let them know your pooch will be joining you when making your reservations. Spring – From early June to mid-October, Telluride has one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the state. Leashed pets are always welcome. Summer – The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen welcomes dogs aboard during the summer for a trip to the top of Aspen Mountain. Grab lunch at the Sundeck Restaurant and enjoy the 360-degree views. Fall – Play a round of disc golf and enjoy the spectacular autumn foliage in Mountain Village.

Winter – Take your dog for a sleigh ride at Rapp Corral in Durango! Let them know your pooch will be joining you when making your reservations.Spring – From early June to mid-October, Telluride has one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the state. Leashed pets are always welcome.Summer – The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen welcomes dogs aboard during the summer for a trip to the top of Aspen Mountain. Grab lunch at the Sundeck Restaurant and enjoy the 360-degree views.

Fall – Play a round of disc golf and enjoy the spectacular autumn foliage in Mountain Village.

 

 

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Durango
Take a daytrip north from Durango to Silverton and drive the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray. Cut into the sides the mountains, the road’s narrow lanes, lack of guardrails, and stunning views will take your breath away!
Telluride
Leashed pets are welcome on the Galloping Goose, Telluride’s free downtown shuttle service.
Aspen
Dogs, make nice with the bellmen around town; many keep treats in their pockets!

 

 

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SwampCoolerDon’t be fooled by the thermometer. The sun packs a punch at higher elevations and your dog can easily suffer heat exhaustion. Get your buddy a Swamp Cooler Vest by Ruffwear to help keep him cool on your hikes.

Kurgo

Playing in the water is part of the fun in Colorado, but fast-moving, frigid rivers can be dangerous for your dog. If you know you have a water hound, keep him safe with a Surf ‘n Turf Coat from Kurgo. It’s a life vest and three-season shell all in one!

 


GoPetFriendly This article was written by Go Pet Friendly founders Amy and Rod Burkert.

To read more from Go Pet Friendly, visit their pet travel site.

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