COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two Colorado State Parks in the Pikes Peak region are going to allow dogs on certain hiking trails — on a trial basis.
Dogs will be allowed on some hiking trails this summer at Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs and Mueller State Park south of Divide in Teller County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said Wednesday.
Officials are reluctant to introduce pets in the parks because they can attract predators, and also chase and scare wildlife, officials stated.
“We have found elk and bighorn sheep chased and killed by dogs at Mueller,” stated Mueller park manager John Geerdes. “We ask that pet owners respect other trail users by not infringing on their outdoor experience.”
The parks are going to “give dogs a try on a limited basis” beginning June 1 and ending Aug. 31, CPW officials stated.
“Historically, these parks have never allowed dogs on their trail systems,” stated Cheyenne Mountain State Park manager Mitch Martin. “But Coloradans love their dogs. … We want them to enjoy these select trails this summer with their dogs.”
Officials stressed the program is only a trial and doesn’t begin until June 1. Bringing dogs before that date could result in a citation and fine.
“The success of this trial period depends completely on dog owners and their compliance with rules governing dogs on trails,” Martin stated.
According to park officials, the rules include:
- Keeping strict control of dogs on a leash that does not exceed 6 feet long — voice command and radio collars do not count
- Dog owners must carry a dog waste bag and pick up any waste
- Dogs must be confined to the designated trails
- Dog owners must avoid confrontations with other park visitors, pets or wildlife
Cheyenne Mountain State Park will allow dogs on Acorn Alley, Bobcat Way, Raccoon Ridge and a portion of Soaring Kestrel trails, officials stated.
“Mueller State Park will allow dogs on portions of Homestead Trail and Black Bear trails leading out of the campground, totaling about 2 miles,” the statement read.
Officials said once the trial ends, park officials will evaluate how well dog owners complied with the rules, the impact of dogs on wildlife and the reaction of other park visitors.
Officials warned there is no guarantee the experiment will even last three months if pet owners abuse the new policy.
“If compliance is low, we may terminate the trial period early and go back to barring dogs from the trail system,” Martin said.
For that reason, it’s important to check park websites for the current status of the policy if you are planning on bringing your dog to either park to hike or camp.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park is at 410 JL Ranch Heights south of Colorado Springs, off Colorado Highway 115.
Mueller State Park is located on Colorado Highway 67, 3.5 miles south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 in Divide.