When arranging for your dog walks with your four-legged companion, it can often be challenging to know where to take your furry friend, especially during the winter. Fortunately, there are many convenient places in Grand Junction where dogs are welcome, including expansive public lands that allow them to run off-leash. With over 1.6 million acres of public land for your pup to roam and over 80 hotels and vacation homes that welcome pet-friendly stays, Grand Junction is one of the most dog-friendly destinations in Colorado.
Although Grand Junction doesn’t receive as much snow as other parts of Colorado, the City of Grand Junction still plows and shovels the sidewalks and parking lots at all the city-owned properties, so you and your pup never have to worry about trudging through the snow. Does your dog love to pounce in the snow? Stop by one of the two dog parks in the city – you stay dry on the walk over to the dog park, while Fido can roll around in the powder and get a natural bath while running off energy in the park. These two city parks feature fenced-in play areas. The first is located at Canyon View Park, which is adjacent to Interstate 70, making it convenient for guests staying at nearby hotels or RV parks. Canyon View RV Resort is close by and offers two off-leash dog parks. If you’re looking for a place to stay the night, park the motor home and let Fido run freely.
You can also visit Las Colonias Park near the Colorado River. This 130-acre city park is a great option for guests staying in Downtown Grand Junction or coming into town on Highway 50. As an added benefit, the paved Colorado Riverfront Trail travels through Las Colonias Park. It allows leashed pups, making it another convenient option to consider for a leisurely stroll by the river. The Riverfront Trail is a 22-mile paved path that meanders along the side of the Colorado River.
Other than the designated dog parks, Grand Junction also has other locations that are convenient and spacious. The undeveloped Matchett Park has numerous trails intersecting throughout the 200-acre park. Because it is an undeveloped park, there is only one parking lot and it can be found here. There’s also a challenging disc golf course at Matchett Park if you are looking to sling a saucer or two.
Grand Junction’s open space park, Kindred Reserve, is a relatively new city park and has several short, unpaved trails with enough scents to keep your dog’s nose busy for a while. The park is near Tiara Rado Golf Course and is tucked at the base of the Colorado National Monument, which provides a stunning red-rock backdrop. Views of the city and the Grand Mesa can also be seen on the trails before they meander through a thick forest with Russian olive trees forming a mystical natural canopy. The forest provides opportunities to see the native wildlife, such as birds, deer, rabbits, and even the occasional red fox. Kindred Reserve has 37 acres and 1.75 miles of trails, so it’s perfect for a short nature hike.
As every dog owner knows, you must pick up after your pet. Conveniently, the City provides bags and trash cans at trailheads. You will also find signs asking that dogs be leashed at city parks, even in open spaces and undeveloped areas. Please adhere to park rules and regulations to help keep you and your dog safe.
Free to Roam Trails
If you’re ready to let the dogs out, Lunch Loops is a popular mountain bike area less than ten minutes from Downtown. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which allows hikers, runners and dog walkers on the trails. In the winter, Lunch Loops tends to have fewer bikers so that you can hike along the trail with your furry friend. Winter is a great time to explore Lunch Loops, as the summer season is quite hot on these trails. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their dogs on a leash until they are clear of the parking lot. Once out on the trail, dogs are free to run, play and sniff off-leash, as long as they are under the owner’s verbal command.
On the west end of Grand Junction is the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. While hiking in McInnis Canyons in the summer can be rather hot, it is a fantastic stroll with your dog in the winter. There’s good signage at all the trailheads, and trails are also well-marked at intersections. While it’s possible to find short, one and two-mile hikes, there are also 10 and 15-mile hikes if you are seeking a more adventurous excursion. This is a popular destination for horseback riding, so ensure your dog is always under your voice control when they are off-leash.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park has five different parks along the Colorado River, and most of them are connected to the Colorado Riverfront Trail system. Connected Lakes is the closest to Downtown Grand Junction and has a series of paved and unpaved pathways that meander through the park and around the lakes. Dogs must be leashed and please be sure to pay the daily entrance fee, which is only $4 if you walk in on foot or $10 if you park your vehicle in the parking lot. The perimeter path around all the lakes is a little more than three miles, but there are a variety of routes you can choose when walking your furry friend.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of convenient and accommodating winter hiking “pup”portunities. Couple that with Grand Junction’s moderate winter climate, and you can see why residents and guests often go out on the trails with their tail-wagging buddies. Grand Junction is also home to several doggy daycare businesses that would be happy to care for your furry friends if you enjoy a few pet-free hours.