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good off leash hikes?

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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good off leash hikes?

Postby davebks » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:39 pm

Hello again,
I am a recent dog owner and live in the Boulder area. Ive been taking my guy on all the hikes in the flatirons area and such but I am trying to find good off leash hikes that are a bit more out of the way.
Its seems a lot harder then I expected to find good (5-7 mile) hikes that I can have the dog off leash.

Any suggestions?? I am thinking maybe up near Lyons/Allenspark, nederland/Jamestown/Ward, or even up I70 an hour or so.
Aside from St Marys, which is fun.

I know IPW and Rollins Pass and stuff are on leash... but maybe there is something I am missing here....?

Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby lafutura » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:09 pm

congratulations - you've been spoiled by boulder's off leash policy! seriously, though - i love it that they do have such a great setup for people who want to get out with their dogs.

i have to say that i have never been on a 14er where there hasn't been dogs running around off leash. is this exactly by the book legal? probably not, but i have never encountered anyone who has been fined (or even scolded) for doing so. the main thing to ensure is that your dog is up to the task and that you bring water for your dog as well. i see many people who put a pack on their dog and make their dog carry their own rations...usually not a problem as the dog covers many more miles than the humans do. :)

that said, if you have a dog that goes after wildlife or is aggressive with people (or other dogs), off leash anywhere is not for you/them.

hope this helps!

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby coloradokevin » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:07 am

Don't take this as a legal answer to your question, but rather a more practical approach to your concerns:

I've personally found that the best way to expand my off-leash hiking options was to get my dog under absolute control while she's off-leash. My dog was never completely out of control, but in the past she had her moments where she'd want to run and greet someone without permission, or those times when she took a bit of an interest in wildlife, or particularly another dog. In those times of great distraction I found that I could completely lose voice control with my dog; she knew what I was saying, but didn't care or didn't notice. Those incidents made for a situation that wasn't quite compatible with off-leash hiking in most areas (I could get away with it only in areas that were very infrequently traveled by others, or in areas where such behavior was to be expected - like dog parks).

My solution was to add electronic collar training with my dog about a year ago, and it has absolutely worked wonders for her. These days I'm far more comfortable having her off-leash, and have been able to get away with it in many areas where off-leash activity isn't really allowed. While there really aren't any guarantees that you won't get in trouble for disregarding a leash law, I've generally found that rangers don't push the leash issue if they see that your dog is under your control without the leash (but I mean really under your control). I've had a few times where I even thought a ranger was going to approach me about my dog. This happened just the other day at Standley Lake, but I simply called my dog back and had her sit at my side. The ranger watched us for a few seconds, then waved and kept on about his business.

I'm not one to advocate breaking the law, but if you can demonstrate that you have as much control over your dog's actions without a leash as you would with a leash, I think most people will leave you alone. If you already have that level of control with your dog, then you are one step ahead of where I was when I started on my off-leash quest. If you don't have that level of control, I'd highly recommend that you look into the electronic collar option. Incidentally, some people argue that electronic collars are cruel, but I believe they're only cruel when they are misused by people who are ignorant trainers. Anyone who wants to argue that point with me is more than welcome to come out and watch me work my dog at the local park with the e-collar... it has made her life a heck of a lot better than it ever was on the leash! Plus, a leash can also be misused, and you can cause far more injury to a dog by misusing a leash!

Just my $0.02. Sorry for the indirect answer to your question!

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby England » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:44 am

Everyones dog is soooooo good no need for a leash. Bulls#i$! I have been attacked three times this week riding my bike in Stratton Open Space. Once by a pit bull, had to dismount a beat it down with my bike to get it to stop. Im sick of this people!
Last edited by England on Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby conof » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:19 am

A little farther up, but well worth it, is Continental Falls/Mohawk Lake near Breckenridge. This is truly a dog heaven! A gorgeous 7 mile round trip hike with streams, ponds, lakes, forests, waterfalls and summer snowfields. And no leash required!! Here's an article that describes it very well.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/weather/14172207/detail.html

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby upndown » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:09 am

OneArmSteve wrote:They are beasts that are of a pack mentality and a pack needs directed....
I bought a pack for my dog. Slowed him down a little - not much though.
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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby djkest » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:12 am

I got 'attacked' by a small pack of miniature dogs when I was taking my son for a stroll in his stroller. Luckily, small yappy dogs are almost as puntable as marmots.
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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby My-Therapy » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:58 am

I'm not really sure 14ER trails are the right place for dogs to be off leash. I was near the summit of Shavano two summers ago and was looking back towards the saddle when I noticed a dog chasing a herd of Big Horn Sheep for what appeared to be several hundred yards. Last year while hiking Mt. Yale my dog (who was on a leash) was attacked by 2 medium sized dogs near 13,000. The dogs would not let up and I finally had to pick my dog up off of the ground and when I did, one of the other dogs actually jumped up and grabbed my dog's rear leg and in the process knocked me over. It was NOT a good situation.

Just seems like the 14ER trails that are really doable for dogs are also the ones crowded with other people. I understand that some people have good "control" of their dogs and some dogs listen very well, however they are still dogs up in a wide open place with wildlife, other dogs, and people (on sometimes narrow, unstable and potentially dangerous trails) and I have seen even "good listeners" get in trouble from their owners on these trails because they were not obeying.

I'm a dog lover and all for bringing dogs on 14ER's (my dog has been on 20) but I do feel that they should be leashed at all times on 14ERs.

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby scalba123 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:57 pm

My-Therapy wrote:I'm not really sure 14ER trails are the right place for dogs to be off leash. I was near the summit of Shavano two summers ago and was looking back towards the saddle when I noticed a dog chasing a herd of Big Horn Sheep for what appeared to be several hundred yards. Last year while hiking Mt. Yale my dog (who was on a leash) was attacked by 2 medium sized dogs near 13,000. The dogs would not let up and I finally had to pick my dog up off of the ground and when I did, one of the other dogs actually jumped up and grabbed my dog's rear leg and in the process knocked me over. It was NOT a good situation.

Just seems like the 14ER trails that are really doable for dogs are also the ones crowded with other people. I understand that some people have good "control" of their dogs and some dogs listen very well, however they are still dogs up in a wide open place with wildlife, other dogs, and people (on sometimes narrow, unstable and potentially dangerous trails) and I have seen even "good listeners" get in trouble from their owners on these trails because they were not obeying.

I'm a dog lover and all for bringing dogs on 14ER's (my dog has been on 20) but I do feel that they should be leashed at all times on 14ERs.


My memory of the Mt. Sherman summit is watching four dogs having a "disagreement". Good times, man. Good times...

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby ajkagy » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:15 pm

davebks wrote:I know IPW and Rollins Pass and stuff are on leash... but maybe there is something I am missing here....?


I didn't think rollins pass was in the wilderness? Most national forest land should be fine to take dogs off leash. The key is just to go on trails and/or 13ers/12ers where you won't find other people. The problem isn't usually with the dogs, it's with all the cranky people who like to complain about things :D
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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby LupinMorningwake » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:32 pm

Have you tried the Coulson Gulch Trail #916 or the North Sheep Mountain Trail about 9 miles outside of Lyons? My boys love exploring up there... it's off leash and pretty secluded.
Last edited by LupinMorningwake on Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: good off leash hikes?

Postby mtn_hikin » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:40 pm

There is a book called Canine Colorado with a lot of hikes. Although I have found that some of the info on off leash areas to be incorrect. Hermans Gulch is a nice hike and there are always quite a few dogs off leash. I dont know if its legal though.

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