Where to take your pooch: Winter Park named a top pet-friendly vacation spot | SkyHiNews.com

Where to take your pooch: Winter Park named a top pet-friendly vacation spot

Winter Park was named one of the top pet-friendly vacation spots by TripAdvisor for its plentiful outdoor amenities and many businesses that allow animals.
Tyler Tomasello / For Sky-Hi News

Places you can take your pooch*


Deno’s Mountain Bistro, Winter Park

Vertical Bistro and Tap, Village at Winter Park Resort

Carver’s Bakery Cafe, Winter Park

Doc’s Roadhouse, Village at Winter Park Resort

Goody’s Creperie, Village at Winter Park Resort

The Peak, Winter Park

Hideaway Park Brewery, Winter Park

Rocky Mountain Roastery, Fraser


Winter Park Resort

Snow Mountain Ranch-YMCA of the Rockies, Granby

Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, Fraser

Ace Hardware, Fraser

Country Ace Hardware, Granby

Mountain Mongrels, Grand Lake

*This is not a complete list of businesses and restaurants that allow canine companions. If you’re wondering if your dog can accompany you when you head out, give that location a call.

With miles and miles of trails, plenty of patios and a general enthusiasm for man’s best friend, it’s no wonder why Winter Park was named one of the top pet-friendly vacation spots in America.

TripAdvisor recently placed Winter Park in the top 20 pet-friendly destinations among other outdoor-oriented cities such as Austin, Texas, and Huntington Beach, Cali., as well as smaller towns like Sanibel Island, Fla.

Winter Park was recognized for a variety of restaurants that allow pets and its abundance of outdoor, pet-friendly activities, regardless of the season.

As most locals know and visitors come to find out, Rocky Mountain National Park doesn’t allow dogs on their trails, but there are plenty of other options since most of the public trails in Winter Park are pet friendly.

TripAdvisor recommends the Vasquez Peak Wilderness Park for its views of the Arapaho National Forest and 17 miles of trails. The Headwaters Trails Alliance lists the Fraser River trail and the Bonfils Stanton trail as easy and popular hikes, as well as Byers Peak or Mt. Nystrom, for those who want to challenge themselves and their furry companions.

“We always tell people to check the area they’re going to to see if it is (dog-friendly),” said Mary Ann Kerstiens, a volunteer for Grand County Pet Pals and an animal control officer. “But pretty much, the county is a play area for the animals.”

Many trails intersect with water features, such as the Fraser River where vacationers and their four-legged friends can fish or swim. The Cozen’s Ranch Open Space Ponds or the Lions Ponds are also good, options close by for avid fishers.

While Winter Park may be known for its trail selection, that’s certainly not the only pet-friendly option for vacationers. Both Snow Mountain Ranch and Winter Park Resort offer outdoor day passes to access their activities, like mini golf, climbing walls and hiking.

Snow Mountain Ranch even offers furry-family-friendly activities like scaventure, an adventurous scavenger hunt on their grounds, as well as a dog park.

If needed, Murdoch’s and Ace Hardware allow leashed dogs inside if vacationers have forgotten any outdoor or pet supplies they need for their trip.

A few locations in downtown Winter Park offer live music outdoors, such as the weekly Music on the Square events at Cooper Creek and on Saturday evenings at Vertical Bistro and Tap, which has a dog-friendly patio.

Luckily, there are plenty of dog-friendly patios to relax on after a long day exploring. Doc’s Roadhouse and Deno’s Mountain Bistro both offer patio dining for pups. Also catering to canines are two local breweries, The Peak and Hideaway Park Brewery.

Before heading out on any adventures, take your pooch to get some coffee or breakfast at Goody’s Creperie, Carver’s Bakery Cafe or Rocky Mountain Roasterie, which all offer dog-friendly outdoor spaces.

Visitors can stay at Snow Mountain Ranch or Winter Park Resort’s Vintage Hotel, or book through Winter Park Lodging, which can all lodge families and their pets for their vacations. Otherwise, the Idlewild campground and the St. Louis Creek campground are two established campground options close to Winter Park.

With a full list of pet-friendly places to stay, things to do and food to enjoy, Winter Park has earned its top vacation spot for humans and hounds alike.

“This county fits everything in the community for dogs,” Kerstiens said.

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