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Pets in the Backcountry

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Grand County’s scenic winter wonderland and vast variety of dog friendly Nordic ski and snowshoe trails create an idyllic backdrop for a vacation with your pet.  Start your trip in Winter Park, Colorado Unfiltered, and locate dog friendly lodging through Home to Denver’s closest downhill ski area, and miles of diverse terrain, Winter Park Resort offers souvenir pet ski passes, with your donation going to the County’s animal shelter.  The Winter Park/ Fraser area also offers ample opportunity for the dog lover to explore the backcountry beyond the resort. Vasquez Creek Trail and the Fraser River Trail are open to snowshoeing or Nordic skiing with dogs and both are traversable by the beginner skier. Stop by the Winter Park Visitor Center or the Headwaters Trails Alliance building in Fraser for maps and recommendations.  

For added adventure, ski or snowshoe (or dog sled!) to High Lonesome Hut.  Located west of Fraser, in Tabernash, stay in a sustainable hut perfect for snuggling during a snowy night and exploring the vast backcountry trails of Arapaho National Forest with your pet.  For those with active dogs, Devil’s Thumb Ranch offers lessons in skijoring with your pet on selected dates; call for availability.

A 20-minute drive from Winter Park to Granby will bring you to Grand County’s premiere dog park and groomed Nordic trails at Granby Trails.  Newly constructed in 2018, this trail system provides convenient access from Hwy 34 and is situated on the corner of Hwy 34 & Hwy 40. Granby Ranch downhill ski resort has pet friendly Nordic trails on site, as well as a dog friendly patio at their namesake restaurant.    

Venture 30 minutes Northeast to Grand Lake to perfect your Nordic Ski skills with your dog at the Grand Lake Nordic Center.  A pet-friendly groomed trail system on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park awaits you and your canine companion. For a magical experience, visit the Nordic Center on a full moon to explore the trails by moonlight and sip drinks and roast marshmallows fireside under the stars. A dog friendly community, Grand Lake offers ample pet friendly lodging options.  

Local Tip:  If you want to explore Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to check your pet into a nearby doggie day care, as dogs are not allowed in the park.