by Mikaela Ruland

Follow Mikaela's adventures at @themillennialoutside and


Throughout my childhood, “never leave the dog at home,” was a mantra my family lived by.  

Sometimes, that was easier said than done. Though Colorado is a pretty dog friendly state, we often ran into places where our dogs were not welcome as we explored the Rocky Mountains.  

Copper Mountain was never one of those places.  

My dog McKenzie, who’s now 13, is the third generation of Ruland pup that’s called Copper a home away from home. 

In the winter time, you’ll find dogs of every shape, color and size chasing snowballs near the lift lines. But the dog days of summer live up to their name - the warmer months are the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway to Copper Mountain with your four-legged friend.  

Head to to book pet-friendly accommodations on the mountain to start your getaway with your pup. 

Begin the day with a hike. Your favorite winter runs turn into beautiful trails in the summertime, perfect to get your pup’s energy out. Accessible from Copper, you can also jump on the Summit County Recreation Path which will take you up Vail Pass, or down into Frisco. If you’re looking for a mild hike with excellent views nearby, drive Hwy 9 towards Leadville to the Mayflower Gulch Trailhead. 2.5 miles up a 4WD road will lead to a beautiful basin with views of the surrounding peaks and ruins from an old mining town. 

McKenzie the dog hiking

Copper has different activities happening every weekend throughout the summer, many of which are dog friendly. In July, we took in the Copper Mac n’ Cheese Fest with our dog, McKenzie. Copper’s favorite restaurants each created their version of the “best” mac n’ cheese, which left us sampling some of the most inventive dishes of our summer. Of course, McKenzie sampled right along with us. We enjoyed Colorado’s beautiful sunshine, listened to live music, sipped on unique and hand-crafted cocktails from the vendors and pet all the dogs. From pocket-sized chihuahuas, to big, fluffy Bernese Mountain Dogs, everyone was out celebrating the summer with their pups. Our favorite mac? It was a tossup between Ten Mile Tavern’s Mediterranean, featuring a base mac and cheese made with fontina, topped with crispy pancetta and Boursin cheese and C.B. Grille’s version with shredded lamb, a tomato mint relish and crispy shallots.   

Dog sampling Mac & Cheese

Don’t forget to check out Downhill Duke’s Yappy Hour, from 3-6pm every day. Located in Center Village, you can relax with your pup on their shady patio and enjoy $2 off draft beers and well drinks, and $1 off specialty cocktails. 

Dog in front of Downhill Duke's

There’s no excuse to leave the dog at home when you’re headed to Copper this summer. Your pup will have just as much fun as you will.    

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