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Colorado Canine Style

Pet Friendly Things to Do in Colorado

Does the thought of leaving the furry member of your household behind during vacation adventures leave you blue? Chase away this vacation buster and bring the whole family to pet-friendly Gunnison County, Colorado. A walk down the historic downtown districts of Gunnison and Crested Butte, a drive along the picturesque roadways of the county's 2 million acres of wilderness, or a hike along the area's numerous trails quickly conveys that people in this part of the Colorado Rockies love animals.

Are the towns of Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte, and Mt. Crested Butte worried about going to the dogs? On the contrary, the hoteliers, merchants and residents are innovative and sincere in their approach to welcoming guests and their pets, because many have their own canine, feline and equine companions at home or work. The Visitor Centers in Gunnison and Crested Butte both have dog treats and water bowls ready to greet Rocky and Fluffy.

"Gunnison County is 'Dog Country!' Crested Butte and Gunnison offer quality lodging options which welcome pets ... so you don't have to sacrifice quality just because of Fido," says Bridgette Maxwell, author of "Fido's Finest: Traveling with your pet … IN STYLE!" and resident of Crested Butte. Maxwell's book lists valuable Colorado lodging information for people who travel with their dogs, including numerous listings for Gunnison County.

Bringing the Whole Family on Vacation - Lodging
Three of Crested Butte's bed and breakfasts go the extra mile to roll out the welcome mat for dogs and their people. The Ruby of Crested Butte, Elizabeth Anne Bed & Breakfast, and Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast receive high marks for pet friendliness in "Fido's Finest." Elizabeth Anne Bed & Breakfast has pet treats and doggie blankets, while the house dog River greets guests of The Ruby, where dogs are treated to homemade healthy dog treats, food and water dishes, beds and blankets.

The Ruby's doggie concierge can recommend great nearby hikes and arrange pet spa treatments, walking, sitting and portraits. Spa treatments include baths, trims, and various other grooming services, conditioners, hot oil treatments and more. Local artist Sarah Hausdoerffer will take a digital photo of your pet and paint a custom pooch portrait.

Coal Creek Cabin, Grand Lodge Crested Butte, Old Town Inn and Pioneer Guest Cabins also welcome pets in Crested Butte.

In the Almont area, located between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Three Rivers Resort, Almont Resort and Harmel's Ranch Resort believe in bringing the whole family on vacation. In Gunnison, "Fido's Finest" mentions Alpine Inn, Days Inn and Water Wheel Inn. Island Acres Motel, Quality Inn, Gunnison Inn, Teller Street Cottages and Ranch House Bed & Breakfast also are pet friendly.

For those who prefer a vacation by water, check out Ferro's Blue Mesa Ranch Resort in Sapinero, located on Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado's largest body of water. Horses and dogs are welcome to stay, with a corral fee and feed cost for horses. In Marble, Ute Meadows Inn and Beaver Lake Lodge & Cabins are good options. Horses stay in the paddock at Ute Meadows Inn, and dogs and their owners will find a special "doggie box" in their room containing, treats, towels for swimming, and clean-up items for those rare accidents. Outdoor dog kennels are available in case owners want to take a day trip without their canine companions.

Attractions for People & Their Pets
Ring in the New Year with the Crested Butte Nordic Center's Canine Caper Relay Race on Dec. 31 which
benefits the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League. Held on a 3K course at the Town Ranch loops in Crested Butte, participants may tour, skate and trot the race, with the owner and pet required to cross the finish line at approximately the same time.

"The Town Ranch is a favorite place for people to go skiing with their dogs. We love dogs at the Nordic Center, so we thought this would be a good way to bring the two together," says Nordic Center Director Keith Bauer. There is no cost to ski these two groomed routes that are open to canines. For more information, contact the Nordic Center at (970) 349-1707.

In late June or early July, the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual "Dog Day Afternoon." Paw painting, doggie weddings and photos, a pooch fashion show and look-alike contest, agility contests, wellness reviews by Dr. Laura, and music by Dog Daze DJs were all part of the fun in 2005. Call the Chamber of Commerce at (800) 545-4505 for more information.

While in Crested Butte, take a stroll on the paved walking trail that connects the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. The walk is approximately 3 miles one way.

Create your own special event by lining up an outfitter to take guests and pets trail riding, fishing, hiking, Nordic skiing and more. Visit for a list of outfitters in Gunnison County.

Pet Services & Other Treats
Mountain Tails, located in Crested Butte's historic downtown is a favorite of animal lovers, with gourmet pet treats, toys, food and much more for browsing. The Mountain Store, known for men's and women's apparel, also carries stylish dog collars, accessories and bowls as well as dog and cat treats.

Many merchants in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte have their own dogs and cats on "staff" to greet shoppers and go the extra mile to welcome people. Toby, a brown lab, is a well-known fixture at Colorado Boarder, located at the ski base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Along Elk Avenue in downtown Crested Butte, Creekside Pottery has a cool, shaded, north-facing deck for pets and their companions to take a break, complete with benches that line the nearby creek and a fresh water supply that is always available. Lucille Lucas - Old West Print Center has doggie cookies and water available, and a culinary favorite, Cucina, allows dogs on the deck and provides dog biscuits and a water bowl.