Boulder’s Cool Trails for Hot Dogs

Today’s guest blogger is  “Mountain Mandy” Wolf. Who knew this dog could write?

Photo: Mara Auster/Daily Camera

I’d like to thank my guardian, Rich Wolf, for giving me this space to connect with my canine colleagues here in Boulder. Although Rich’s postings are generally interesting  they tend to be a little light on dog information.  For example, I found a big pile of horse poop on the trail today and he didn’t even take a picture of it. Not even GPS coordinates. I’ve decided to write this post for the sake of canine journalistic balance.

I would like to address a serious issue for us canines during these dog days of summer….Spontaneous Canine Combustion (SCC). Many humans don’t know how hot it can get on the trail in summer. They should try hiking in a fur coat on all fours without shoes and sunscreen.  Folks, it’s hot down here!

Here are some good tips for walking with your human when it is hot. It helps to have a Boulder Voice and Sight Tag so that you can let your guardian off of his or her leash…

-Make sure your guardian has lots of water for my tummy and my coat.

-Avoid direct sun. Humans often verbally sniff in direct sunlight but I need to get into the shade. Boulder has lots of shady trails such as Shanahan Ridge.

-Gain altitude…the higher deep forest trails such as the Ranger Trail are cooler.

-Get your human to spring for a cooling vest.

-Go early in the morning or stay on the cool kitchen floor and tell your guardian to go for a hike.

-Find trails with lots of water…Boulder provides irrigation ditches, streams and creeks to cool me off.

Know the signs of  heatstroke!  Heat stroke is an emergency that requires immediate recognition and prompt treatment. We dogs do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans. We sweat only through our paws so we depend upon rapid breathing to exchange warm air for cool air. Accordingly when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by rapid breathing is not an efficient process. Dogs with airway disease or cute little flat snouts have big problems with excess heat.

Here are three “Mandy approved” places in the foothills where I like to take Rich when it gets hot because they provide abundant clean, cool summer water close to the trailhead. They are also all equipped with toilets and poop deposit boxes and are Voice and Sight trails…


The Sanitas Valley and Sunshine Canyon Trailheads (two northern Boulder trails with water @ 40.023720, -105.295978)…

Park here on the west end of Mapleton Ave at the Centennial Parking Lot…

Follow the signs across Mapleton Ave. to the trailhead…

Cross the bridge and climb some steps…

…to the Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch which was constructed in 1890 to keep Boulder’s dogs cool…

In a short while you will come to a nice shaded beach…

The joy of shaking…

You can also access the Sunshine Canyon Trail from this parking lot by heading west. This trail includes the cool ditch as well as the Sunshine Creek!

Mandy In Silverlake Ditch at the Sunshine Canyon Trailhead

Mandy In Silverlake Ditch at the Sunshine Canyon Trailhead

The Gregory Canyon Trailhead (a central Boulder trail with water @ 39.997400, -105.292671)…

Follow Baseline Road west of Chautauqua Park and make a left into the parking area at Gregory Canyon. This is a self service fee area for non-Boulder residents so you need to make sure your guardian has $5…

There are lots of swimming opportunities here starting at the trailhead…

Walk in a little bit and you see this sign…

To the left is a lovely cascade and a bridge for your guardian to take your picture…

To the right and a few steps up the Canyon there are lots of places for staying wet along the creek…

The South Trailhead, Mesa Trail (a southern Boulder trail with water @ 39.938871, -105.260286)…

Have your human drive  south towards Eldorado Canyon while you hang out of the window until you arrive at this parking lot. Don’t even try to park here on a hot summer weekend after 9:00am…

Grrr..what’s this “Dog Owner” business…here in Boulder dogs were emancipated on July 11th 2000!

Nevertheless this sign is very informative…

Here’s my hippo impersonation at the trailhead irrigation ditch…

This is also an ideal place to find sticks…

Continue a short distance to the Homestead trail…

Go past the stone Doudy-DeBacker-Dunn house where historians discovered that Fido Doudy, a pioneer retriever, lived here during the early 1900’s…

Here you will find another beautiful beach along the South Boulder Creek. I always take time to network and meet new friends…

Well that’s all I have for now…

…but remember…

…only you can prevent Spontaneous Canine Combustion!


12 Responses to “Boulder’s Cool Trails for Hot Dogs”

  1. marcia stone Says:

    Wonderful article, great advice but how about cats my friend? Are we chopped liver (ooooops, hope a dawg didn’t hear me).

    Seraphina Stone

  2. richwolf Says:

    We love cats too! Some of them grow real big…we call them Mountain Lions.

  3. Boulder Subalpine Wildflower Alert! « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Tales from the Trails Observations from Boulder’s Hiking Trails « Boulder’s Cool Trails for Hot Dogs […]

  4. Julie Says:

    Thanks Mandy! Tell your dad I love the post and the photos! Glad you’re having a good summer!

  5. Tenderpaw No More « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] this is Mandy. I’ve been moved to borrow my guardian’s computer once again to report on the loss of one of my favorite Boulder Trails, The 2.5 mile/4023m Tenderpaw (a.k.a. […]

  6. Michelle Says:

    Mandy thanks for sharing such great info! You are such a cutie my name is “Sparky” my buddy (she thinks she’s my mom) gets a little neurotic when it comes to me sometimes…but she’d like to know have you ever had an encounter with any Bull snakes or Rattlesnakes? I’d really like to let her know that she needn’t worry so much.
    This time of year it’s been tough for us to get out because it gets dark so early can you suggest a good place to walk at night around Boulder County (we live in Longmont).
    You can sure tell Your buddy “Rich” sure loves you! It’s wonderful being so loved and adored isn’t it…what a great life eh? Thanks Mandy. Glad my “mom” found this site.

    • richwolf Says:

      Hiya Sparky,
      It’s nice to find another blogging canine! I’ve seen snakes but if you don’t mistake them for sticks it’s not a problem. Watch out for rocky south facing slopes on warm days. Make sure your human heeds the posted warning signs.
      I’m sure Longmont has some beautiful sunset trails but Rich hasn’t taken me there yet. I sense that the days are getting longer!
      Happy trails!
      Mountain Mandy

  7. michelle woodside Says:

    Thanks Mandy,
    I’m not sure what happend to “my mom” she has been a bit too neurotic with me, worries about me too much. I think a lot has to do with my being her second dog she was so chilled out and relaxed with her first dog “Spazz.” She even contacted a man on my taking a “snake avoidance class” perhaps it’s the internet that’s put thoughts in her head she normally wouldn’t think about. So when you saw snakes was it just your “canine” instinct to back off? I haven’t seen any yet. Mom’s friend offered her a place to live in Pueblo West too and they are really known for having snakes, so I think she has a lot of reasons why she so stressed out! I wished she could be more like us and live in the moment…I’m working on her!! But boy was she looking forward to cooler days…so we have been walking a lot, I’ve met a lot of dogs this winter so far in a few dog parks! Really nice hearing back from you Mandy, Thanks so much for the advice we will certainly remember that! “Sparky”

  8. Sugarbowls In Sunshine Canyon | Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] It is springtime in the Rockies. The record snows of April have watered the foothills. The days are warm and the trails are covered with wildflowers. Mandy the dog and I were off to the Sanitas Valley Trail which is one of Boulder Colorado’s Cool Trails for Hot Dogs. […]

  9. Sanitas’ Salvia Spectacle | Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] like Mandy needs a break as well. Here this cool trail provides welcome relief for a hot […]

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