From posh hotels to cabins down by the river, a few of our favorite pooch-friendly mountain escapes.
Whether you’re a luxury lover or a catch-your-own-dinner kind of traveler, one thing makes any getaway sweeter: Having your four-legged friend in tow. Check out these destinations where tail-waggers are always welcome.
Fido Gets Fancy in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen
The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
Pampering your pooch Beaver Creek–style is practically de rigueur when you stay here, so if Fido needs a spa day (yes, you can book a 25-minute in-room doggie massage, complete with a “light bath spritz”) or a $15 room-service doggie breakfast of top sirloin, scrambled eggs, and jasmine rice off the pet menu, this is the place to indulge. At the very least, you’ll get a VIP Pack for your room with a plush dog bed, dog bowl, treats, and a “Pet in Room” sign—hang it on your door if you leave Fido in your room while you step out, and housekeeping won’t disturb him. Better idea: Get Fido out onto the trail with one of two resort-accessible dog-friendly hikes: Bachelor Loop (about 1.5 hours) takes you up and across the ski slope for sweet views of the resort, while Village-to-Village Trail (about 2.5 hours) winds through aspen and pine forests to Beaver Creek Village. Pet fee: $125/dog for stays up to three nights; $25/dog each additional night; up to two dogs/room
The Little Nell
Three words: puppy jetlag kit. OK, so you probably aren’t taking an actual jet to Aspen, but we’re fairly sure the goodies in the Little Nell’s kit apply to car-lagged pups as well. It’s got the usuals—dog bed and dog bowl—and includes extras like a souvenir leash for owners to bring home. You can, of course, order a grilled salmon plate from the custom pet menu and peanut butter treats prepared by the pastry kitchen for your pooch. Bonus: The bell staff and valets are happy to take Fido for a walk upon request.
Pet fee: $125 cleaning fee + $25/night.
Antlers at Vail
Each June, the Antlers condominium/hotel serves as the official dog-friendly lodging of the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. If that’s not some serious pooch-cred—who loves their four-legged friends more than a bunch of extreme outdoor adventure athletes?—we don’t know what is. (They’ll even give you a loaner GoPro camera during your stay to record all your dog’s mountain escapades.) Treat your pup to a dog biscuit from a stocked bowl in the front lobby when you check in and show him his very own dog bed and bowl in your suite. Then hit the hiking trail along Gore Creek—with handy bag dispensers along the way and river access for the occasional splash—right outside your door. While dogs aren’t allowed to upload on Vail’s gondolas, if you hike to the top with Fido (take the quad-busting three-mile Eagle’s Nest Trail) you’ll earn a free ride back down (and some killer views) on the Eagle Bahn Gondola.
Pet fee: $25/dog/night; up to two dogs/unit
Rufus Goes Rustic in Estes Park, Salida, Crested Butte
Every once in awhile we all need a Rocky Mountain National Park fix. The problem, of course, is that dogs are prohibited on all trails and backcountry inside the park. Solution? Make your home base one of these three perfectly rustic-yet-upgraded cabins in Allenspark and Raymond, between Lyons and Estes Park. Here, you’ll have great access to RMNP and Estes, and “since our cabins tend to be off the beaten track, we also allow guests to leave their well behaved dog in the cabin while they have some non-pet-appropriate activities,” says cabin owner Vicki Mead. At the River Hideout Cabin in the tiny town of Raymond, you’ll be directly on the scenic Middle St. Vrain River—as in, you can fish from the back patio—so Rufus has a place to cool his paws. Down the road in Allenspark, the Honeymoon Hideout and Aspen Hideout cabins (just two miles from RMNP’s Wild Basin entrance) sit on a couple of wooded acres with a short trail to a creek ideal for splashing and playing. Or, choose from a list of pet-friendly area trails and get your hike on. If Rufus is a couch-dog, no problem—just make sure to use the provided furniture cover and towel for dirty paws.
Pet fee: No charge for one dog; $25/dog for each additional
“Creekside” is basically a synonym for doggie paradise, so it’s no wonder these cabins near the North Fork of the South Arkansas River, just nine miles from Salida, are such treasured places to bring your four-legged friends. Set in a lovely aspen grove with an inviting brook meandering through it, the property is home to nine chalets. “There is plenty of space for the pups to enjoy a walk around the property and along the creek path,” says owner Jillian Chernofsky, whose 10-year-old golden retriever loves to greet his visiting canine pals. “After high water in June, the creek is ideal for dogs to have a drink and cool down.” Each cabin comes equipped with furniture covers for dogs who like to cozy up next to you in the evenings, plus a leash holder and pet bags for those W-A-L-K-S. When your dog tires of frolicking in the creek (as if), take a ride on the pet-friendly Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway—the oldest working tram in Colorado—about 20 minutes west of Salida for panoramic views of the Continental Divide and plenty of trails to muddy up those paws.
Pet fee: $25/dog, up to two dogs/cabin
Pioneer Guest Cabins
While the dog policy is a tad stricter at these peaceful retreats about 15 minutes outside Crested Butte—no dogs on the furniture and leash requirements close to the cabins, for example—the idyllic surroundings are worth it. Tucked on 10 acres inside the Gunnison National Forest right along the tranquil Cement Creek, the resort includes eight charming log cabins and trails that leave right from the property. The owners offer complimentary dog beds, dog rags, dog sitting and walking upon request, and hoses at each cabin for when your pooch can’t resist those mud puddles on your hike (once you hit the trails away from the cabins, your pup is free to explore off-leash). With national forest on all sides, the setting is about as picturesquely Colorado as you can get, with a good dose of historic lore, to boot: In the 1930s, the cabins housed the pioneering adventurers who built Colorado’s first chairlift to take skiers up to a warming hut overlooking Paradise Divide. The history might be lost on your pup, but the adventure surely won’t.
Pet fee: $20/dog/night, up to two dogs/cabin