Activities with pets are limited at Colorado National Monument. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or anywhere in the backcountry. This prohibition includes pets that are being carried or are placed in a stroller, bag, or backpack. Pets may not accompany cyclists while riding on Rim Rock Drive.
Pets may accompany visitors in the developed campground area and may be walked in the park along paved roads. Pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle, on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets may not be left tied unattended.
Colorado National Monument is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management lands that do welcome pets on trails, including McInnis Canyons. For more information, or to find a hike, visit the Grand Junction Field Office website. There are great hiking options with pets in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnision National Forests. Addtionally, the Riverside Trail, which runs between Palisade and Fruita, welcomes leashed pets and is an excellent choice for a bike ride as well.
Canyon Country can be deadly for pets.
- Car temperatures rise quickly in the sun. Even on cool days, your pet can easily die of heat exhaustion. Pets may not be left unattended in cars while in the Monument.
- Pavement can get very hot in the summer. Extended exposure can burn your pet's paws. Consider pet boots for longer walks.
- Boarding kennels and dog day care facilities are located in nearby Grand Junction and Fruita.
- A service animal is defined by the ADA as a dog that provides assistance to an individual with a disability. This includes guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs, seizure or diabetic alert, PTSD response, wheelchair and mobility assistance, and other tasks. The work or task a dog does must be directly related to the individual's disability. Service dogs are working animals, not pets.
- Emotional support animals and therapy dogs do not meet ADA requirements for service dogs, and are not allowed on trails or in the visitor center. ESAs and therapy dogs follow the same rules as pets within the Monument.
- Service dogs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times, unless that prevents the dog from doing their job or the individual's disability prevents them from using those devices. In that case, dogs must be under handler control through voice, signal, or other means at all times.
- Desert notes for service dog handlers:
- Pack water for yourself and your service dog, as there are no water sources here.
- Booties are recommended for hot surfaces to avoid paw injuries. Pavement temperatures in the summer are hot enough to burn paws. Check paws for burrs and cactus spines.
- Watch for signs of overheating in the warmer months. Temperatures can vary depending on altitude, and can reach into the low 100s on the hottest summer days.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife and give animals extra space, as they may view your service dog as a threat. The Monument is home to cougars and coyotes, and occasionally black bear. Bighorn sheep view dogs as predators and can react defensively, especially mothers protecting their babies. The midget faded rattlesnake can be found here as well, although they are not usually seen during the day.