The only thing better than enjoying Colorado's great outdoors is enjoying it with man's best friend.

While most state parks allow dogs, the stipulation is that they aren't left unattended and they must be kept on a leash. But, the fact is, most dog owners love to have their dog off-leash whenever possible and let them run - which typically is fine when there aren't other people or dogs around. Finding those opportunities can be challenging.

You may be interested to know there are two state parks that allow dogs to be off-leash.

Cherry Creek and Chatfield State Parks both have fenced-in areas where dogs can run free. That includes miles of trails and even some water to play in. It's kind of like a huge dog park. Of course, dogs need to be kept under voice control, and as always, owners need to be prepared to clean up after their dog. That is one of the mandatory rules.

There are a couple of other rules to keep in mind. A leash and waste bag must be carried for each dog, dogs must be within visual distance, and there is a limit of three dogs per handler. Of course, you have to have a state park pass as well as a DOLA (Dog Off-Leash Area) pass, which will cost you $3.

Cherry Creek State Park has a 107-acred fenced area that includes water. The park is located at 4201 S. Park Road, adjacent to south Denver.

Chatfield State Park is also on the front range, about 14 miles north of Castle Rock. The off-leash area at Chatfield is 69 acres of the fenced-in area including two ponds and miles and miles of paved and unpaved walking trails.

So maybe you aren't going to drive four hours to take your dog for a walk, but it's good to know there are places available to get your dog off-leash. If you happen to be in the area and have a parks pass, you might want to stop and let your dog run, or maybe plan a camping trip to one of these extra dog-friendly state parks.

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