It’s no secret that Coloradans love their dogs. In fact, it’s common for Fido to tag along to parks, dog-friendly breweries and bars, and even to work. But the best place to take your pup is to open space dedicated just for him and his four-legged friends to run, play, bark, and fetch—the cherished dog park.

Recently, local dog owners were alerted that Elk Meadows Dog Off-Leash Area in Evergreen—a 107-acre park with more than three miles of trails—was set to close April 4 due to “hundreds of pounds of poop” found along the property, according to The Denver Post. Beyond the health and safety concerns posed by the poo problem, Jefferson County Open Space found 20 times the legal limit of E. coli in the park’s stream. Plus, limited parking and substantial vegetation loss lead officials to determine that the area needed a break from heavy foot traffic, despite multiple volunteer cleanup efforts and other suggestions by advocates to save the park.

Luckily, there are plenty of other dog parks for your four-legged friends to wag his tail at. Here are six suggestions across the metro area that have our pup’s stamp of approval (just don’t forget your pet-friendly waste bags).

Tony Grampsas Dog Park
Open sunrise to sunset; free
Tucked in the shadow of North Table Mountain in Golden, Tony Grampsas Dog Park could (almost) pass as a small-scale version of Elk Meadows. The 2.5-acre park is complete with a few short trails and a small wooded area where your pups can roam. Owners can sit back and relax at one of the picnic tables while their dogs prance around the fenced area. To get to this tucked-away spot, follow the sidewalk past the baseball fields at Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex. Beware that the park may be muddy after rain/snow, and it’s advised to bring water to refill the bowls on-site, especially if you have a thirsty pup on your hands.

Westminster Hills Off-Leash Dog Park
Open sunrise to sunset; free
Located at the corner of 105th Avenue and Simms Street, this 420-acre park offers plenty of room for off-leash play. Beyond the benches, a shade shelter (there are few trees), a doggie drinking fountain, and a small pond for your fur baby to take a dip, you’ll find this corner of the 15,000-acre Colorado Hills Open Space relaxing and peaceful (except for the crowds). Play fetch in the open field or take a stroll on one of the paths, but be warned that the park only has partial fencing, so it is important that your dogs be voice trained.

Forsberg Park
Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; free
Clocking in at a little over 2.5 acres, this Lakewood park offers two distinct fenced areas, as well as beautiful views of the nearby Green Mountain and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The park is located on a moderate slope and features a small obstacle course in one of the fenced areas, so this is a good place to give your pup a workout. While there is a doggie drinking fountain outside the fenced area, bring water with you during the winter months, when the park’s water supply is shut off.

Glendale Farms Dog Park
Open one hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset; free
With 17 acres dedicated to off-leash play area, plus a nice 1.6-mile loop where dogs do have to be on a leash, Glendale Farms in Castle Pines is a laid-back park with options for every dog. The park is located in the Glendale Farms Open Space, just off I-25, near Sky Ridge Medical Center. For training your (vaccinated) puppy, check out the obstacle course, complete with a staircase ramp and barrel. As with some of the other parks, it is mainly dirt, so it can get muddy during wet weather.

Cherry Creek Dog Off-Leash Area
Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; $9 park entry fee, plus a $2 entrance to the off-leash area or $20 for an annual off-leash pass; limit three dogs per handler
The 107-acre off-leash dog park is located in the southeast corner of  Cherry Creek State Park and is a great spot for your water-loving dog. The fenced area offers access to a portion of Cherry Creek, as well as varying terrain and trails for your dog to explore. The only downsides to this beautiful park are the cost and the possibility of a wait time during peak hours. However, once you’re in the park, you can put your dog back on the leash (six-feet or shorter) and walk along the surrounding trails and wildlife area.

Chatfield State Park Off-Leash Dog Area
Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; $8 park entry fee, plus a $2 entrance to the off-leash area or $20 for an annual off-leash pass; limit three dogs per handler
In terms of exploration, you can’t beat the open spaces and ponds at Chatfield’s dog park. With both gravel and paved walking trails, your pup can romp through the 69 acres with ease. Additional features include two sport dog training areas (for training bird-dogs) that require a Special Activity Permit, but have 16 acres of upland terrain and eight acres of flatwater. Though there is a fee for entry, you can expect a well-maintained state park experience.

Dos and Don’ts for Visiting Any Local Dog Park:

  • DO make sure your furry friend is up to date on vaccinations.
  • DO bring ample amounts of waste bags.
  • DO leave your dog’s collar on and carry the leash.
  • DO know the licensing laws for dogs in your county.
  • DON’T bring aggressive dogs.
  • DON’T leave your dog unattended.