It’s no secret that dogs are a big part of life in Colorado, and we especially love our dogs in Crested Butte and Gunnison. The valley is very dog-friendly; dogs and their owners can be seen walking around town, on trails, and, at some restaurants, enjoying a meal on the patio in warmer months. There might even be more dogs than people here! Many hotels in Crested Butte and Gunnison are also pet friendly. However, if you plan to bring your dog to the Gunnison Valley, make sure you check the pet policy with your hotel and any restaurants you want to eat at first.
Dog-friendly activities are available all year. In winter you could take your dog snowshoeing and Nordic skiing on many trails. The Crested Butte Nordic Center has some dog-friendly trails. Not every trail is open to dogs, so make sure you know where you’re allowed to go before heading out. The Nordic Center also requires owners and dogs to have a pass, so make sure you purchase those beforehand. Learn more about dog-friendly winter trails on Crested Butte Nordic’s “Skiing with Dogs” page.
Summer dog-friendly activities include hiking, camping, and playing by the water. Crested Butte and Gunnison have 1200+ miles of trails with a variety of terrain. You and your dog could hike through wildflower fields, high alpine desert, rocky peaks with incredible views, and mellow winding paths among aspen groves. Most hiking trails and campsites allow dogs, though some recreation and wilderness areas might have special regulations for them. Make sure you know the rules before you go. If your pup enjoys the water, check out the whitewater park in Gunnison, Blue Mesa Reservoir, or Taylor Reservoir. All these areas have beaches where you can relax while your pup chases sticks and plays in the water. Some people even bring their dogs rafting on mellow sections of the Taylor River. Don’t forget a doggy life jacket to keep your pet safe!
Some outdoor events and festivals also allow leashed and well-behaved dogs. Check out our events calendar to see what’s going on. Contact the event host if you’re unsure about whether you can bring your dog.
Pets are allowed on leashes less than six feet long in Black Canyon National Park on roads, campgrounds and overlooks. They are also allowed on Cedar Point Nature Trail, North Rim Chasm View Nature Trail and Rim Rock Trail. You take responsibility for your pet’s behavior and could face fines if they disturb wildlife or other visitors. Learn more about Black Canyon’s pet policy on their website.
The principles of Leave No Trace include some special guidelines for dogs. Always clean up after your pet, and never leave waste bags on the side of the trail, even if you intend to come back for them. Respect areas that don’t allow dogs. These rules could be in place for a variety of reasons and will ensure safety for you, your pet and the environment. Dogs in Gunnison County are required to be leashed in city limits. If you are outside of city limits you must still be in control of them with voice commands. Always be courteous of other trail users, and respect private property. Be mindful of wildlife that may be in the area, especially in the winter when animals are extra vulnerable. Make sure your dog is microchipped or wearing a collar and tags with your contact information. Bring water for your dog and know their limits; don’t go farther or faster than they are capable.
Service animals are independently trained dogs that perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a physical or mental disability. The ADA and Colorado law prohibits discrimination of service animals in public accommodations. This article has more information about Colorado’s laws surrounding service animals.
There are a number of veterinary offices in Crested Butte and Gunnison that offer emergency services. Hopefully you won’t need to use them, but you can have peace of mind knowing they’re here just in case!
If you’ve planned some activities you can’t bring your pup along for, there are also pet boarding and doggy daycare services available. This is always a better option than leaving your pet in your car. Colorado has a “hot car law” that is designed to protect pets from being left in a vehicle in inclement weather. Leaving a pet in a hot or cold car poses dangers to their health and safety, and could result in a fine or worse. Rather than risking it, take pets with you, make sure you can leave them unattended at your hotel, or find doggy daycare for them.
If you lose your dog or see a stray in Gunnison, call Neighborhood Services at 970-641-8242. To report a lost or found dog in Crested Butte, contact the Crested Butte Marshal at 970-349-5231. To report a dog in any other parts of the county, call Gunnison County Sheriff’s office at 970-641-1113.
Should you need food, a new leash or treats, check out one of the Gunnison Valley’s pet supply stores!