Traveling with a dog does require a bit of extra planning, to make sure you can find pet friendly accommodations and attractions in each destination. Nestled in the green forests of the Rocky Mountains is the quaint little town of Estes Park. While the neighboring Rocky Mountain National Park does not offer much for your pet, Estes Park is the perfect weekend getaway for you and your dog to get out, hike and enjoy the fresh air.
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Dog Friendly Weekend Itinerary to Estes Park:
Friday: Arriving In Estes Park
Arrive in Estes Park around lunch time. Make your first stop the Estes Park Visitor Center to see if there are any events going on during your stay, as there are events all year round. From the Visitor Center grab your dog and hop on the paved walking trail around the nearby Lake Estes. Along this trail we spotted many wild elk wandering along the path and birds in the lake.
After a relaxing stroll around the lake, giving your lungs time to acclimate, it is time to check into the hotel. The recently renovated Ridgeline Hotel offers an entire wing of pet friendly rooms. The comfortable beds and large televisions make for the perfect atmosphere to recharge and relax after a long day exploring Estes Park.
Saturday: A day at the Pet Spa
Wake up early in the morning to enjoy the day in Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately the national park is not dog friendly, but that does not mean your dog cannot have their own vacation time.
Estes Park Pet Lodge
Estes Park Pet Lodge is located just a few minute drive from the hotel and offers many indoor and outdoor runs for your dog to enjoy, no matter the season. The best part about this friendly and inviting pet lodge is you can purchase a few treats to enjoy during the day. Make sure to bring your dog’s vaccination records with you, as they are required for boarding.
Rocky Mountain National Park
After dropping your dog off head on over to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center the closest entrance to the national park, just outside of town. Make sure to get the most up to date trail information and a map inside. Here is also a good place to fill up your water for the day.
There are many different trial options depending on how long or intense of hike you are looking for. We highly recommend visiting Alberta Falls and Emerald Lake. We have written more about visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in springtime. Each hike remains just as beautiful when covered in snow or bursting with green.
After the day hiking in the Rockies it is time to pick up your dog and spend a few hours resting back at the hotel. The Ridgeline Hotel features not only a nice pool but a game room with many board games and an xbox to enjoy.
Dinner at Bird & Jim’s
With a nap under your belt, it is time for dinner. Check out Bird & Jim’s restaurant right outside of the downtown area. We enjoyed the juicy steak and flavorful trout. The menu as a whole is focused on seasonal and local ingredients, pulling as much from the Front Range as possible. If you have any leftovers, they might make the perfect treat for your dog, if appropriate.
Sunday: Hiking with the Dog
The Hermit Park
Now it is time for you and your dog to get out and explore the beautiful scenery on foot. Just outside of town is Hermit Park with several dog friendly hikes. The best hike is to the 9,335 ft summit of Kruger Rock. From the top you will be met with breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Meeker and the Continental Divide. Make sure to bring some treats and a water bowl for your dog as hiking at high altitude takes its toll on them as well. Entrance into Hermit Park is $6 per car.
The Estes Park Village
Spend the afternoon enjoying a stroll through the quaint Estes Park Village. Walk both along the river and historic main street for a complete view of the downtown area. Make your way through endless boutiques, candy shops and dining opportunities. Be on the lookout for dog friendly signs on entrances and ask before bring your dog in with you.
The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
Head to the Rock Inn Mountain Tavern for dinner. Originally built as a dance hall it keeps its lively interior to this day. We split the large steak with the most interesting lavender flavored mashed potatoes. This way we also had the opportunity to taste several of the delicious side options without having to worry about taking too much food home.
After dinner it is time to head back to the hotel for one last night in Estes Park or time to say goodbye and make your way home. As you drive home your dog will be all tuckered out from an amazing weekend in the Rocky Mountains.
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