Best Places to Cool Your Dogs

by Kris Phillips

Man oh Man it’s gettin’ hot round here!!! I keep thinking if I just get up early enough I can get the boys out for a jog before that Summer sun melts my Nordic dogs. This morning my alarm went off at 6:30, a time I don’t normally see unless there’s photos to be taken. And as I started to hit the snooze an adorable fuzzy muzzle popped up reminding me that I dogs don’t care how early it is.

Around Colorado large, active dogs fit right into our usual climate and lifestyle. But right now’s a tough time to be a big-dog mom. When your dogs need to burn off some energy but the pavement is burning their paws, what’s a pet parent to do?!

Fortunately for us there are some awesome dog friendly waterways sprawled all over our fair Front Range:

Downtown Oasis: If you prefer a most Urban spot to cool off cruise on down to Confluence Park. It’s right at the edge of LoDo where Cherry Creek & the South Platte Rivers converge right around 15th St. & Little Raven St. Grab a picnic and sit on the shore or splash around at the edge of the river. Dogs are welcome to cool off as well, though technically leashes are required. For your entertainment you may also spot kayakers and tubers cruising the small collection of whitewater rapids. I first discovered this cool area while enjoying the annual S. Platte River Festival. A fantastic fest with fair food, and free paddleboard & rafting. In fact, this is where I first got to try out and fall in love with Standup Paddle-boarding.

Bear Creek & Clear Creek

These two beautiful creeks come to us courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Snow melt. You can access Bear Creek by heading up past Morrison to Lair O’ the Bear Park, O’fallon Park, Corwina or several other trail heads that dot Bear Creek Rd/Hwy 74. But you don’t actually need to head into the mountains, you can access Bear Creek at several points along the Bear Creek Greenbelt which runs from Bear Creek Lake Park(ish) crisscrossing 385 until it reaches the South Platte near 285 & Santa Fe. One of the most beautiful access points is the Old Stone House park in Lakewood!

Clear Creek also comes down out of the mountains running along Clear Creek Canyon/ Hwy 6 through Golden and beyond. Clear Creek is a popular with kayakers and white-water rafters so care should be taken during the higher water months. My favorite point to access Clear Creek also happens to be my absolute favorite spot to photograph, Lions Park in Golden. With rapids and eddies and lots of big rocks to enjoy a hot afternoon with your toes in the water it’s a great spot to escape the Summer sun.

Check out Chatfield:

If you’re a fan of watersports like SUP or kayaking you’re in luck! Your dog can join you almost anywhere you go. But a lot of our local lakes are currently teaming with toxic algae, so be sure to keep an eye out for warning signs. Just a half hour south of Denver, Chatfield Reservoir is my absolute favorite place to paddle-board with my dogs. While dogs aren’t allowed on the swim beach, they are allowed just about everywhere else. Though they must be kept on a leash, the rules about dogs getting in the water to cool off are very laid back. And the reservoir is deep enough that in my 5 years paddle-boarding there I’ve never seen a toxic algae issue. Which makes it a wonderful place for some afternoon fun in the sun. Don’t have a board or kayak? No problem, pack a cooler and some beach towels and set up on the edge of the water. Or you can rent from several local providers, be sure to confirm they don’t mind your canine companions on their boards. Some even include doggy lifejackets with the rental. There’s also a massive off leash dog park which has it’s very own ponds. It’s a state park so there is an $8 entry fee unless you have an annual pass.

Cherry Creek Dog Park:

If you’re on the Southeast side of town, Cherry Creek Park might be right up your ally for a refreshing adventure. Your state parks pass will get you in for water activities. Or if you prefer off-leash enjoyment head to their massive 107 acre dog park, completely fenced with access to a doggy beach and Cherry Creek! Be aware the dog park requires a separate fee but it’s minimal for all the fun your dog can have.

Or, of course, there’s always the back yard oasis! We’re currently on our second doggy pool this summer. It turns out empty swimming pools are perfect chew toys for naughty pups! But he has so very much fun snorkeling for Kongs I just couldn’t resist replacing it. After a little research I found out most of the dog pools use a hard cardboard or mdf insert to hold up the sides. This bent and folded after a few days and crashes from wild pup Freki. It took some hunting on my favorite “everything in the world delivered in 24 hours” website but I found this pool from BingPet which uses hard plastic inserts and so far those are holding up much better.

Puppy jumping out of a pool


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