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Hello my faithful followers! Today I bring you a glimpse into the AWESOME whereabouts of the coolest dog park I’ve ever been to.
When we first visited Colorado in October 2015, our friends took us to this park in Evergreen where we hiked for a few miles and they let their dog off the leash for the whole thing.
We went by a creek.
We went through the woods.
We caught incredible mountain views.
We dreamed about the day when we might be able to bring our own two dogs to this park.
And now we can go whenever we want!
Elk Meadow Park consists of 1,659 acres of Rocky Mountain foothills with 16.5 total trail mileage. People can do hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and picnicking at the park. This area of open-space terrain has leash requirements for any companion animals, and I have even seen a man walking a llama down the trail!
The flatter open space is also the most likely spot to see (what else?) herds of elk. There is even a 4.7 mile hike up to the top of 9,708 foot Bergen Peak. I haven’t done this park of the park yet… but someday soon.
By the way, that shot above is what fall looks like here. Something I’m going to sorely miss is the orange and maroon foliage of a Virginia or North Carolina autumn, but I suppose I’ll have to get used to the evergreens and the yellow of the aspens.
The Elk Meadow off-leash dog park area is a little bit higher up in elevation and gets really busy on the weekends! Parking can become a little treacherous when you have to park on the main road but there is still a space to do so. Once you get into the dog park area you can take your dog off the leash and let them roam. However, there are parts of the trails that are not fenced, so dogs are required to be within sight and sound distance at all times. These areas are still a good distance off the trails and if you keep your eyes and ears out, you should be fine.
But there are some really cool little trails with good views and you might stumble upon a bench like we found not too long ago where Sookie was willing to pose for me.
This doesn’t happen too often so I had to take advantage. She must have been worn out!
The off-leash area contains 107 total acres and 3.2 miles of trails. You do get some pretty good elevation out of hiking the whole mountain here; my Fitbit tells me so! If I do both the top and bottom trails, I will get over 50 floors on my Fitbit. And oh yeah, I’m not having to deal with my dogs, a hunter and a herder, pulling me around everywhere.
I just have to worry about making sure the hunter comes back when she gets on the scent of a critter.
Along the trail is a set of steps that can be a little treacherous in the winter. I went down once on my butt but I survived. Now I have YakTrax to put on our boots that should help, but it took a nice learning experience to get me there.
There’s a little creek running through near the bottom of those stairs where the dogs can drink and
make a mess run through. This is the reason why I keep towels in my car! Every dog owner knows this.
“It is known.”
And even though the dogs might get slightly out of sight every once in awhile and make me freak out pretty good when they don’t come when I call (Sookie), it’s still the best source of exercise for all of us since the dogs get to do all kinds of things, and I get to hike and take in the views. My dogs get a chance to socialize and not act leash-crazy (if you have a dog, you know what I mean) all the time. Now we can sniff butts and move on in no time.
This place even won an award in 2013 for project excellence from the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals.
Evergreen is up into the foothills at a much higher elevation than Denver, and therefore a few degrees cooler. Even when we would get a dusting of snow down here out of the mountains in Lakewood, Evergreen (a 35 minute drive, part of which is stoplights) would get 10 inches of snow! Hence why I went down the steps partly on my butt that day… I just didn’t know I needed to be that prepared.
Obviously I’m new to the Rocky Mountains. They are a tricky bunch.
But we’ll get there.