By Debbie Schwartz Rahman
Let’s face it, some places are just not ideal vacation spots for your dog. Fortunately—and maybe, surprising—Aspen Colorado is totally welcoming when it comes to your four legged friends.
We moved here about 7 years ago and couldn’t believe what a dog friendly place it was compared to Los Angeles. Our dogs (who happen to be giant) go everywhere with us.
When we eat out in the summer (a favorite Aspen activity) just about every restaurant has an outdoor deck or patio and our dogs are always invited and offered a great big bowl of water. In winter it’s a little trickier, but lovely, pet-friendly hotels like the Little Nell let us eat inside with our dogs in their beautiful lounge, and they even have a menu just for dogs.
When it comes to shopping (another favorite Aspen activity) there’s no need for one person to wait outside with the dog while another browses. Dogs aren’t just welcome in the stores, they’re enticed to come in. Various shops keep different dog treats in stock. When our dogs are walking down the street and they have an inkling that Maggie, for instance, has a new batch of her homemade treats at Pitkin County Dry Goods, there’s pretty much no chance of keeping them out. The same is true of many of the other stores in town, from Annette’s Bakery to high-end jewelry stores like The Golden Bough. And if we don’t come in with out dogs, the store owners will step outside to offer our dogs a biscuit or two and a welcoming pet.
And it’s not just shops. Our dogs love going to the bank with us because the tellers all keep biscuits at their stations. There are dogs at the hairdresser’s, and the other day I noticed someone even brought their dog to the doctor’s office.
And of course when it comes to activities, your dog will never be bored in Aspen. Our dogs like to swim and there are innumerable lakes and streams where they can dive and play. For dogs that like to hike, there are endless trails where they can be off leash. In winter they can snowshoe with you or cross-country ski with you (we even have separate marked dog-friendly trails). Or you and your dog can take the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Ajax Mountain, walk around the top for a bit and take in the views, then ride the gondola back down. If your dog is more a player than a hiker, you’ll find most of the parks are leash free and dog friendly.
And if your dog is partial to cultural activities, they’ll love the Aspen Music Festival that goes on throughout the summer. There’s nothing better than picnicking on the grass with your pet listening to beautiful music! Unless it’s getting ready for one of the pet parades in town. Or the one day in summer when the rec center pool gets turned over entirely to dogs and there are anywhere from 150 to 200 dogs running and diving and swimming together! But enough. I could go on forever on why this is the best town in the world for dogs. You need to come here and see what I mean for yourself!
Debbie Schwartz Rahman lives in Aspen with her husband, well-known bon vivant Jim, and their two Leonberger dogs, Banjo and Cowboy.