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6 Hikes You Can Do With Your Pup at YMCA of the Rockies

August 22, 2023

Forget the dog-sitter and bring the entire family!

Both YMCA of the Rockies locations are ideal destinations for anyone traveling with a four-legged adventure buddy. Not only is some of our lodging dog-friendly, but each property boasts several trails where you can hike with your pup on a leash—and dog parks where they can run off-leash. Here are a few of our favorites:

Estes Park Center

Glacier Creek Loop (2 miles) Access the trailhead from behind the Boone Family Mountain Center, then hop on the trail and follow Glacier Creek before looping back to the Mountain Center on the easy-to-follow path. The first half of this two-mile loop hugs trout-filled Glacier Creek which serves as the boundary between YMCA grounds and Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll get national park scenery on a trail that allows dogs! (Note: Dogs are not allowed on trails in RMNP).

Bible Point (2.5 miles) Looking for more of a challenge leading big-time views? Clip on the leash and take your dog on this 2.5-mile loop that gains 600 feet in elevation to a craggy summit with panoramic scenes of the majestic Rockies. Head to Jackson Stables, park in the lot on the right and hit the trailhead past the stables to begin your hike. Be prepared for a steady, steep climb to the rocky summit, and don’t forget to pack a pen and paper to leave a prayer in the mailbox at the top.

360 Loop (5 miles) Lace up your boots and take in the sights and sounds of YMCA of the Rockies while hiking the five-mile loop around the perimeter of Estes Park Center. You can access this trail from almost anywhere on property marked with wooden trail signs, but the proper trailhead is to the left of the YMCA entrance at Dorsey Lake.

Photo of a woman with her dog

Snow Mountain Ranch

Waterfall Trail (2.2 miles) Enjoy an enchanting adventure on this 2.2-mile loop through aspen groves to a hidden waterfall. After enjoying a playful splash, you and your pup (on a leash of course) can meander back through the forest and enjoy scenes of the Continental Divide before concluding your adventure. Stop into the Programs Building (across from where you checked in) and grab a map to find the trailhead.

Nine Mile Mountain Trail (2.8 miles) Spoiler alert! The Nine Mile Mountain Trail is a 2.8-mile out-and-back. We don’t know what joker named it, but we do know that this trail will pose a nice challenge for you and your hiking pup. You’ll find the trailhead at the end of Nine Mile Road, past the family cabins on Cabin Hill, with a clearly marked trail map and parking sign. From there, the trail switchbacks up 660 feet of elevation gain to the summit of Nine Mile Mountain. At the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Snow Mountain Ranch and Granby sprawled out below while taking in the stunning sights of the Continental Divide.

Fraser River Trail (out and back, up to 13 miles) Hop on this trail from the main entrance at Snow Mountain Ranch to Fraser and enjoy up to 13-miles out-and-back winding along wide, well-groomed trails with your adventure pup. Some of the trail runs parallel to the main highway, but you can still enjoy solitude during quieter times of day while taking in expansive views of Grand County’s wide-open spaces. Tip: this is also a fun bike ride if not traveling with your dog.

Photo of a woman walking a dog over a bridge in a forest

Doggo bonus: It’s not a hike, but you can let your pup run off-leash while you take in some mountain views at the dog parks we offer at either location. 

Leave No Trace and Trail Courtesy Reminders: When hiking with your pet, remember to pack extra water and treats for them, always use a leash, and dispose of waste properly (yes, that means packing out those poo bags). And lastly, please remember that dogs are not allowed on trails inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Happy tails, happy trails!

Assigned Categories: Estes Park Center, Snow Mountain Ranch, News, Pet-Friendly

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