The Crags is a favorite Colorado Springs destination that has everything you could ever want in a hike: meadows of wildflowers, interestingly shaped granite rock formations, and a payoff at the end that includes sweeping views of several faraway snowcapped mountain ranges.
It's also a great place to bring your dog, as there are plenty of wide open spaces and even a creek where he or she can cool off in and enjoy a swim.
In fact, there are many places to explore with your dogs in the Pikes Peak region – the entire Pike National Forest is open to dogs and for those who prefer camping to hiking, dogs are allowed at all state park campgrounds. Not to mention Colorado Springs has a dog park that has been rated among the best in the country.
Here are a few of the best places that both you and your pooch will enjoy:
Bear Creek Dog Park: This 25-acre doggy Disneyland offers wide, easy trails and a dog agility course with 11 obstacles. A part of Bear Creek Regional Park, the dog park is partially fenced, and dogs can be exercised off-leash if they respond to voice commands. This is a popular place, with an average of 200 dogs and their people visiting each day. The park has been opened since 1997, and today is one of the most popular places in the El Paso County Park system.
Stratton Open Space: This relatively small 318 acre open space is surrounded by houses on Colorado Springs’ southwest side, but it doesn’t take long to reach its wilder interior that covers five different ecosystems. Trails here are open to mountain bikers and hikers, with those designated as “paths” for hiking only. They wind up and down; just enough for a great workout for you and your dog (who should stay on leash). The South Suburban Reservoir beckons in this small path of wilderness.
Rampart Reservoir: A favorite of hikers, mountain bikers, anglers and dogs, Rampart offers plenty of space – a loop trail snakes around the reservoir, making hidden coves that hide pockets of wildflowers and clusters of aspen trees. The creek that feeds into the reservoir is hard for your canine companion to resist, but most of the year, its cold water moves quite fast, so be aware.
Goose Creek : If there’s a theme to this list, it’s this: water. Goose Creek Trail is one of the most popular paths in the Lost Creek Wilderness. The wilderness (120,000 acres northwest of Colorado Springs) is named for a creek that appears and disappears throughout, but Goose Creek runs alongside the most popular trail by the same name. Goose Creek offers small pools and eddies, and other spots where the water rushes and splashes over boulders as it runs off the Tarryall Mountains.
Bierwerks: a brewery in Woodland Park, is perfect for rehydrating beer lovers and their furry friends. Its outdoor area is larger than its interior, and the fire pit is a perfect gathering spot year-round. Bierwerks makes is own beer, and also offers perfect post-hike snacks like crackers with pots of cheese, and giant German pretzels.