Hiking with Dogs in Summit County, Colorado: Trail and Leash Guidelines

hiking with dogs

Summer is when Summit County comes alive. The sun brings out the beauty of the mountains and the miles of hiking and biking trails call out to everyone’s sense of adventure. 

Without a doubt, dogs are not only man’s greatest companion but also the best hiking partners. However, sometimes they may get over-excited by the new scenery and create safety hazards for other hikers and other pets on the trails

This post will cover things to keep in mind regarding hiking with dogs in Summit County that visitors and locals should familiarize themselves with before taking their furry friends on their next adventure.  

Always Stay on a Leash 

When hiking in Summit County, a leash is a must-have accessory. It may seem like a basic item however, it gives the pet owner control over the dog. This rule not only applies during hikes in the mountains but also when in the downtown area. 

If you are planning to visit the Frisbee golf course, Frisco Adventure Day Park, and the peninsula, we recommend that your dog be kept on a very short leash. Any dog that is found at large will be taken to the Summit County Animal Shelter located in Frisco. Pick-up is a rather long procedure. You will require proof of license, evidence of vaccinations, which include a rabies shot and you will be fined. 

hiking with pets in Colorado

Two other locations will require you to be vigilant of the strength and length of your dog’s leash; the Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness area and the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness area. Both are located to the north of Interstate 70. Dogs are required to be leashed at all times in said zones. In the wilderness areas, owns will pay a $125 fine if their dogs are caught off-leash. 

Dangers in the Wilderness 

The strict regulations regarding pets on hiking trails are in place to protect the wildlife in the area. Summit County receives thousand of out-of-state visitors on an annual basis. Most come to enjoy the breathtaking landscaping and beautiful wildlife. Preserve the wildlife for future generations by keeping your dog on a leash. 

What most rangers won’t tell you is that the regulations are also in place to protect your pet from the wildlife. This is especially true in areas where we have an assortment of porcupines, moose, wild dogs, skunks, and even bears.

Hunting Season 

Hunting season in Summit County typically starts around the first week of September and runs to November. Hunting enthusiasts come with all the tools and gadgets necessary to bring home a solid catch. 

hiking gear and essentials

A dog without a leash, running through the bush can be easily mistaken as a wild animal. As an extra precaution, always have a brightly colored cloth wrapped around the dog’s collar. If your pet is irritated by a cloth, look for any other innovative method you can use. The goal here is for hunters to be able to distinguish them as domestic animals and not wild ones. 

Clean Up After Pets

Proper etiquette dictates that you clean up after your dog. With the high number of visits to local hiking trails, this can quickly become an issue if the message is not passed along to every dog owner.

Hiking trails in Breckenridge acknowledge that most hikers love to enjoy the mountain air with their pets. Many areas have bag dispensers at the trailheads. But to avoid an awkward scenario, it is recommended that hikers come with their own bags, just in case. 

Also, once it is bagged, it is still your responsibility as the pet owner to ensure the droppings are properly disposed of in a trash can. Don’t leave it at the trailhead as the smell can ruin the Summit County experience for other hikers. 

Keep Dog in Sight 

If you are taking a walk or visiting outside of the town limits, you will not be required to leash your dog. It is still required that your dog is within your sight and voice command distance at all times. 

Colorado hiking trails with dogs

The rationale here is that people are usually afraid of encountering dogs without a leash. But if you are nearby, you can easily bring your dog to heel in case of any misunderstanding. 

As you enjoy the trails and beauty of Summit County, let the safety of your pet and that of other hikers be on your mind. 


The next time you visit Summit County, Colorado be sure to bring your furry friends and take them on exciting hiking adventures. Be sure to follow proper trail etiquette so that you and other hikers can enjoy the experience equally. 

If you’re looking to get great value for accommodations in Summit County look no further than Bighorn Rentals. We are a reputable vacation rental company with several options available, from Lakeside properties to ski-out lodgings to in-town condos. 

All you have to do is give us a call with your preference and budget. Our team will organize the best deal to make your vacation in Summit County memorable and enjoyable!  

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