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5 Dog-Friendly Skijoring Spots in Denver: A Thrill-Seeker’s Guide

Welcome to Denver’s skijoring paradise, where snow-kissed trails and dog-friendly adventures await! Imagine the joy of gliding alongside your four-legged friend through breathtaking landscapes, fostering an unbreakable bond in the chill of winter.


At the core of this exhilarating experience is Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa, providing a tranquil retreat with trails designed for both novice and expert skijorers alike. Following closely is Gold Run Nordic Center, where the level of challenge escalates.

The Breckenridge Nordic Center, Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System, and Crested Butte Nordic enhance the adventure with beginner-friendly skijoring, extensive cross-country skiing opportunities, and a selection of dog-friendly trails, all set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Rockies, ensuring memorable moments with your furry friends.

Each of these Denver gems features trails meticulously crafted for skijorers and their canine companions, promising a secure, enjoyable, and exhilarating outing for all involved.

So, what are you waiting for? Equip yourself, embrace your adventurous spirit, and dive into Denver’s dog-friendly skijoring trails to awaken the thrill-seeker in both you and your dog!

woman and dog skiing in the snow

1. Devils Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa – Ultimate Cross Country Skiing

If you’re looking for an award-winning cross country skiing destination, Devils Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is the place to go. This stunning resort, located just 75 miles west of Denver near Winter Park, offers a wide range of dog-friendly activities for you and your furry friend to enjoy.

With five miles of dog-friendly trails, you can explore the beautiful Colorado scenery together. And if you’re interested in trying skijoring, Devils Thumb Ranch offers skijoring lessons and rentals, so you can experience the thrill of being pulled by your dog while skiing.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, Devils Thumb Ranch has something for everyone. So grab your furry companion and head to Devils Thumb Ranch for an unforgettable cross country skiing adventure.

Must Try: Daily Mountain Yoga, Petting Zoo

Distance from Denver: 79 miles (127km) northwest of Denver

Location: 3530 County Road 83, Tabernash, Colorado | View Website

two dogs and a woman skijoring

2. Gold Run Nordic Center

You can unleash your adventurous side and experience the thrill of skijoring on the intermediate trails at Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge. Strap on your skis and attach yourself to your trusty four-legged friend as you glide through the snowy terrain.

The intermediate trails, Peabody Placer and Preston Loops, offer the perfect challenge for those looking to take their skijoring skills to the next level. As you navigate the twists and turns, you’ll need to master intermediate skijoring techniques to maintain control and speed.

And when you’re ready for a break, don’t forget about Breckenridge’s dog-friendly gondola ride. Hop on with your furry companion and enjoy a scenic ride to the top, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Must Try: Group and Private Ski Lessons, Sleigh Rides, Fat Biking

Distance from Denver: 79 mi (127km) west of Denver

Location: 200 Clubhouse Drive, Breckenridge, Colorado | View Website

dog and man having fun skijoring

3. Breckenridge Nordic Center

While exploring the Breckenridge Nordic Center, you can enjoy beginner-friendly skijoring trails with epic views of the Rockies. Picture yourself gliding through the snow-covered landscape, your loyal furry companion by your side, as you take in the breathtaking vistas that surround you.

The Breckenridge Nordic Center offers a perfect opportunity for beginners to experience the thrill of skijoring while immersing themselves in the natural beauty of Breckenridge.

As you traverse the trail, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the majestic mountains, with snow-capped peaks and sweeping valleys stretching as far as the eye can see.

Must Try: Snowshoe Trails, Fat Biking, Sleigh Rides, Ski Lessons

Distance from Denver: 108 miles (173km) west of Denver

Location: 9 Grandview Drive, Breckenridge, Colorado | View Website

dog and man skijoring in snow

4. Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System

The Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System boasts the title of North America’s largest groomed ski system, offering skiers an expansive network of trails to explore. With its sweeping scenery and thrilling trails, this destination is perfect for those seeking freedom on their cross-country ski adventures.

The system features six dog-friendly trails, ranging from beginner to advanced, allowing you to bring along your furry companion for the ride. Imagine gliding through the snow-covered landscape, surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Rockies.

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner looking to embrace the thrill of the sport, the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience in the heart of Colorado’s winter wonderland.

Must Try: Guided Cross Country & Backcountry Treks, Snowshoe & Sled Rentals

Distance from Denver: 198 miles (318km) west of Denver

Location: 39551 CO-82, Aspen, Colorado| View Website

woman and two dogs preparing to ski

5. Crested Butte Nordic

Discover the breathtaking trails of Crested Butte Nordic, hailed as the Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado, for an unparalleled winter wonderland experience. With your skis strapped on, embrace the liberty of gliding across the pristine, snow-covered landscape.

This destination is renowned for its variety of dog-friendly trails, enabling you to enjoy the adventure alongside your furry companion.

Adding to the allure is the fine yurt dining at Magic Meadows Yurt, a highlight of Crested Butte Nordic. Here, guests are treated to a unique dining experience that combines rustic elegance with gourmet cuisine, all within a cozy yurt set against Crested Butte’s magnificent natural backdrop.

Before you embark on this journey, ensure you have a Crested Butte Nordic trail pass for your dog, guaranteeing both of you can explore the stunning winter trails together.

Crested Butte Nordic stands out as the ideal spot for those in search of outdoor thrills and the happiness that comes from skiing with their dogs, offering an unforgettable adventure in the heart of nature.

Must Try: Private Lessons, Fine Yurt Dining

Distance from Denver: 228 miles (366km) southwest of Denver

Location: 620 2nd Street, Crested Butte, Colorado | View Website

Dog-Friendly Lodging and Amenities

Bring your furry friend along for the ride and enjoy the convenience of dog-friendly lodging to enhance your skijoring adventure including one of our favorites, The Lodge at Breckenridge.

dog and man skijoring

Equipment Must-Haves for a Successful Skijoring Experience

To have a successful skijoring experience, you’ll need the right equipment and gear. Skijoring equipment is specially designed to withstand the excitement and energy of this thrilling activity. A high-quality harness is essential to ensure a secure and comfortable fit for your furry companion, allowing them to pull you effortlessly across the snow-covered terrain.

Sturdy skis with good grip are important for maintaining balance and control as you glide through the winter wonderland. Additionally, don’t forget to invest in proper safety gear, such as a helmet and goggles, to protect yourself during the exhilarating ride.

With the right skijoring gear, you can fully embrace the freedom and excitement of this unique winter sport. So gear up and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the snowy trails!

man tightening ski harness

Safety Precautions: Enjoying Skijoring With Your Furry Companion

Ensure you and your furry companion have a safe and enjoyable skijoring experience by following these five essential safety precautions.

  1. Make sure your dog is properly trained for skijoring. Use positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques to teach them commands like ‘go,’ ‘stop,’ and ‘turn.’

  2. Invest in appropriate gear for both you and your dog, including a properly dog fitting harness, skijoring belt, and bungee leash.

  3. Choose the right trail for your skill level and the ability of your dog. Start on beginner-friendly trails and gradually progress to more challenging ones.

  4. Always check the weather conditions before heading out and dress appropriately for the elements.

  5. Never skijor alone. Always have a buddy with you for safety and support.

man putting dog ski harness

Wrap Up

Denver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a picturesque backdrop for both beginners and seasoned skijorers. Participate in events like Leadville Ski Joring or enjoy the scenic beauty of Pagosa Springs, where there are sled dogs, horse rides, and skiers showcasing thrilling jumps and races.

Embrace the bond with your four-legged friend as you both navigate the snow-covered trails, turning every weekend into an exciting blend of exercise, fun, and teamwork.

Whether you’re racing down Harrison Avenue during Leadville’s festive February events or simply enjoying a day out with your pup, Denver’s skijoring scene promises an unforgettable experience for you and your spirited canine companion.

Frequently Asked Questions:

A: Skijoring is a thrilling snow sport where a skier is pulled by a dog or horse. To participate, you need a pair of Nordic skis, a dog in good shape, and basic ski driving equipment. Denver offers various trails and courses suitable for this sport.

A: Yes, Denver boasts numerous dog-friendly trails perfect for skijoring. These trails offer safe and enjoyable environments for both humans and their four-legged friends to experience this unique sport.

A: While Denver is more known for skijoring, there are opportunities for dog sledding nearby. It’s a great alternative snow sport where a team of dogs pulls a sled.

A: Yes, skijoring in Denver is an excellent team sport that strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It requires coordination and cooperation, making it a fun and rewarding experience for both.

A: For skijoring with your dog, you’ll need a pair of Nordic skis for yourself, a specially designed harness for your dog, a towline to connect you both, and appropriate cold-weather gear.

A: Cani Cross involves running or hiking with your dog, usually wearing a harness. Unlike skijoring, it doesn’t require snow or skis and is more focused on ground-based exercise.

A: Absolutely! Denver offers skijoring courses and trainers that cater to beginners. These programs are designed to safely introduce both you and your dog to the sport.

A: Denver hosts several skijoring events where dogs are the stars. These events often feature trails and courses tailored for canine participants, showcasing their skills in this exciting winter sport.

A: Skijor International is an organization dedicated to promoting skijoring across the globe. They partner with various equestrian and skiing communities to enhance the visibility and organization of skijoring sports.

A: While skijoring in Denver mainly focuses on the skiing aspect, there are opportunities to train your dog to perform simple tricks while skijoring, adding an extra layer of fun to the activity.


Meet Clarisse Quindo, Content Manager at CityDog Magazine. Clarisse combines her professional prowess with her passion for all things canine! Her days are filled with the joy of blending engaging stories, the latest trends, and valuable insights for fellow dog enthusiasts. Whether she's exploring new dog parks or interviewing top dog behaviorists, Clarisse's dedication to our four-legged friends is truly paw-inspiring!

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