Whenever I move, I always wonder whether Ollie The Dog likes our new home. What does he think about the floor plan? The carpet-to-hardwood ratio? Our new routine walk route? The local dog park?
I like to think he loves Sacramento. He may not have a field right across the street to run and run and run, but he is allowed up on the couch, gets scrapes from the table, and the bed is just low enough for him to give wet, slobbery kisses every morning.
The most important aspect of any new home when you have a large dog is the proximity of a really great dog park. One with an open field for Ollie to run, not too crowded with little yappy dogs, and near enough to hop in the car and visit regularly after work.
There is a dog park close to our apartment that I initially really loved which fits all my criteria. However, I’m hesitant to take Ollie there because it is infested with bugs. After the first few times of taking him, we noticed Ollie had multiple ticks latched onto him. For the next month, we continued finding about 3 a week—we ended up going to the vet and getting him medicine. Thankfully, he’s been tick-free since, and I’m too nervous to go back to the dog park.
It’s times like these that I truly miss Colorado’s open space and dog park options. I believe Ollie would agree that there is one dog park in particular that triumphs over all. Cherry Creek Dog Park is the king of dog parks. It is 107 acres and has everything your four-legged friend could ever hope for. It is part of Cherry Creek State Park located in Aurora, Colorado (about 20 minutes outside Denver—trust me, it’s worth the drive!).
Does your pup like to swim? There’s a swimming hole perfect for them to jump or wade into. Or maybe just splash around in the shallow end? There’s a steady, sandy stream that lets them do just that. Does your dog like to play with others? There’s always other dogs to hang out with! Or is he a little shy? That’s okay too, because the park is so massive that you two can do your own thing. Does your furry critter just want to run to his heart’s content? I can’t recommend this park enough for such a dog type—that’s exactly how Ollie is, and I’ve never seen him happier.
Not only is this dog park a magical land for our four-legged friends, it is a great spot to get our own exercise. I typically walk along the perimeter of dog parks—partially for myself, partially because it maximizes Ollie’s run since he doesn’t venture far from me—and this park gives you the perfect opportunity for a nice stroll with its 3-mile trail. You can walk/jog the perimeter while your dog explores nearby, so in the end, you’re both tired and ready for nap time!
You’re great and all, Sacramento, but I sincerely miss Cherry Creek Dog Park and our weekend afternoons there. I’ve never heard of an equal around Northern California—I wouldn’t even mind a bit of a drive. With that said, remember that every amazing spot always has a few things to be aware of:
If your dog does not listen and likes to run off/wander, this park may be a little too big. Unless you are willing to chase after him for half the day, it might be best to start at a smaller park and work your way up to this one.
Bring your own poop bags. As responsible dog owners, I hope you do this anyway, but it’s a really big park and very, very few doggie stations. On that note, cross your fingers your dog poops when you first arrive. Otherwise, you could be carrying a big bag of caca for a quarter mile.
Apparently during peak times (weekend late mornings), the rangers temporarily close the park when it gets to capacity. This has never happened to me, but I’ve heard of it stopping entrance until x amount of people and their pets leave. So just be aware!
Entrance to this park costs a little money. I know, I know, I agree that it is a drawback, but it is on state park property. For the day dog park pass plus your vehicle, it cost $9. If you intend on bringing your pup to this park more than a few times, I recommend sucking it up and purchasing the annual State Park pass. The dog park annual pass cost $20, and combined with the state park vehicle pass, it totals at $99. I realize this is steep, but on the up side this does grant your vehicle access to every national state park (with 2 excepts). If you like to hike and camp anyway (which of course you do, you live in Colorado), then this pass can really pay for itself.
Face it: Your dog is going to get really dirty at this dog park. Between the pond/stream, dirt, mud puddles, shrubbery, and dog slobber, it’s better to accept the inevitable before you even take him off leash. I have an all-white dog who loves to stomp around in the mud—it was horrifying to bring him back into the car, even after coaxing him into the stream to rinse off the worst of the mud. Be sure you bring an old towel to leave in your car for the end of the excursion.
Thankfully, there is a pet groomer within 1 mile of the dog park exit and it offers self-service dog washing for an affordable price. Bark N’ Wash had excellent customer service and the owner even came over and helped me rub Ollie down to shed that first layer of hair. First timers get $3 off! If you know you’ll be a regular, I highly recommend purchasing the pre-paid card, which guarantees you 5 washes for $50.
I whole-heartedly believe Colorado is the best place to own a dog. It isn’t simply dog havens like at Cherry Creek State Park, which are few and far between, but also the hiking trails, dog-friendly patios, and the overall awesome dog community. Denver Rover exemplifies the ease of being part of this community with its expansive dog boarding, walking, and sitting program. If you’re a local and need a little help (let’s be honest, we all do at some point), Rover is a great resource!
Hey fellow Colorado doggie parents, which are your favorite local dog parks?