Wondering if you should bring your dog along on your summer trip to Winter Park? The answer is YES! We know your dogs are part of the family, but vacationing with them isn’t always easy. Winter Park makes it effortless to let your pup enjoy your travels as much as you do! Here’s our recommended itinerary for you and your four-legged friend to have the best summer trip to the Colorado mountains this summer!
Day 1: Check-in
Early Afternoon: Check-in to the Vintage Hotel.
The Vintage Hotel is Winter Park Resort’s hotel-on-the-hill that offers a comfy home for you and your four-legged friend. Be sure to book a dog-friendly room from the get go, and the front desk will welcome you both with a treat.
Late Afternoon: Hit the Dog Park
Head over to the Fraser Valley Sports Complex, the place where dogs and their humans are always running at large. This park, complete with a hockey arena, several softball diamonds, a playground, and a ropes course, offers all the room you could ask for. Make friends with the dog-human-duos that are already playing fetch, chasing tails, and eating treats.
Plus, this summer Granby plans to own its own Bark Park for pups who need an enclosed space to play.
Evening: Dinner on the Five Mountain Patio
Back at your hotel, there’s a cozy restaurant with a varied menu. Sit on the patio so your dog can join you, and enjoy a juicy hamburger with fries while your dog eats his dinner and laps up a big bowl of water. Then, grab some snacks from the front desk before cuddling your pup on the couch to unwind and rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.
Day 2: Hit the Trail
Morning: Start with a Breakfast Bloody
You don’t have to go far for this famous Vertical special. Ask to sit on their patio that allows dogs and overlooks the pond, order a Bloody Mary, and prepare yourself. We’ll leave some of the delight of this surprise to Vertical itself, but don’t let your jaw drop when you see the chicken AND waffle that is only one part of this extravagant drink.
Daytime: Hike Jim Creek Trail
Make sure the pup is on a leash, then head straight across Highway 40 from the Vintage Hotel to Bonfils Stanton Outdoor Center. On this 7 mile out and back hike you’ll get warmed up on the gentle 1.5 mile Discovery Trail, then start your ascent on Jim Creek Trail. The trail continues on for about 2 miles, following the creek through the woods until reaching a picturesque waterfall.
Evening: Sunset Served with Putt-Putt
You cannot come to Winter Park in the summer without a competitive game of putt-putt. Your dog can roam the course with you as long as he’s on a leash, but it’s probably cheating a little if he picks up your ball and drops it in the hole.
While you’re there, be sure to stop by the season pass office in Balcony House to get your pup his or her very own souvenir Winter Park Pet Pass! This pass doesn’t give your pup lift access, but your pet pass donation does support Grand County Pet Pals, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the Grand County Animal Shelter. You can also email your pet’s photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and pick up during regular season pass office hours.
Day 3: Bike with your Buddy
Morning: Cruise for Coffee
Lace up your walking shoes or hop on your bike and head to the paved Fraser River Trail in Old Town Winter Park. This gently-sloped 2.5 mile cruise will take you right by The Perk, a local favorite coffee shop right on the corner of Vasquez Road and Highway 40. Grab a drink and a bite to eat and enjoy an al fresco breakfast on The Perk’s patio.
Afternoon: Explore New Trails
After you’ve fueled up for the day, head over to the Experimental Forest just west of downtown Fraser on County Road 73. Here you’ll find miles of hiking, running, and mountain biking trails. It’s a huge forested area without heavy traffic, making it a great place to explore with your pup. Hop on the Creekside trail and link up to Flume for great views of Byers Peak. These two trails make a 5 mile loop, if you’re interested in a longer hike without much change in elevation. This is also a great intermediate biking trail. For a slightly smoother, shorter trail, head to the other side of CR 73 to check out Northwest Passage, which is about 1.5 miles each direction.
Experienced mountain bikers have multiple more advanced trail options to explore, such as Tipperary, Backscratch, or Chainsaw.
Evening: Make a Music Stop
Winter Park in the summer is known for live music and rad events, and you can almost always find something happening. For a dog-friendly dinner that includes a live jam sesh, try The Peak, The Pub, or Crooked Creek.
Day 4: When in Doubt, Camp it Out
All Day: Let the Dogs Run
You may be worn out from the past three days of activity, but that pup of yours doesn’t even know the meaning of “worn out”. Who cares that he spent ALL DAY yesterday running circles around you and returned to the house panting and limping? If you ask him, that never happened. So today, take a chill day for yourself, but do it out at Grand Lake where you sit back on the shore and lazily throw your pup’s favorite tennis ball in the lake for him to faithfully bring back. An hour or two of this, and you’ll be feeling relaxed and rejuvenated while he passes out at your feet.
Night: Grand Lake Campin’
Since you’re already out by the lake, and likely you’ve already started drinking, you might as well stay there all night long. Elk Creek Campground offers the perfect location to spend the night, and your sweet dog will like it just as much, if not more, than you do. Pitch a tent early afternoon while the light is still strong, and then start that campfire.
The nearby general store, Mountain Food Market, offers hot dogs, s’mores fixings, and dog food, so head there when you start to feel hungry. The smell when you start cookin’ will attract other friends from nearby campsites, both of the human and the canine variety.
Day 5: Spoil Each Other
Morning: Treat yourself
Treat your number one friend to a day at the doggy spa, The Dog’s Paw. And treat yourself too! Were you actually going to let him be the only one who gets pampered on this trip? After all, you’ve been right by his side throughout the same activities, and let’s be honest, you probably have a similar amount of dirt and grime goin’ on. Head to Alpenglow Massage in The Village at Winter Park Resort, book the full hour (now is not the time to skimp), and let the professional masseuse knead it all away.
Afternoon: Goodbye Over Berthoud Pass
As you head out of town, you’ll inevitably drive over Berthoud Pass, a beautiful, nature-filled drive in the summer. The pass is actually loaded with hiking trails that so many people miss as they come in and out. We recommend pulling over at the warming hut located at the top of Berthoud Pass, and simply taking in the sights. You can hike the old ski resort hill, wander around the old base area, and even hit the restroom before heading home.
Do you have a pup that could use a little mountain adventure just as much as you? Let your furry best friend tag along to add a little bark to Winter Park!