Your pooch (or pooches) are welcome to roam off-leash in many areas of Boulder. You do, however, have to know the basics so you don’t find yourself ticketed by either Animal Control or the Park Rangers.
Boulder’s Voice and Sight Dog Tag Program
First, you’re probably curious as to where you can go in the Boulder area where dogs are welcome on the trails. Boulder has an extensive dog trail map system that will let you know all of the areas you’re welcome to hike and run with your pups.
Next, if you’d like to give your dogs a bit more freedom to explore nature (under your watchful eye, of course), you’ll want to explore Boulder’s Voice and Sight Dog Tag Program.
City of Boulder requires all dog owners who wish to walk their dogs off-leash to go through a video training program. Once you’ve reviewed the video and can affirm that your dogs meet all of the criteria specified, you’re then eligible to apply for a special tag. This is a green tag that certifies your dog can and will be kept within your sight at all times while off-leash and is responsive to voice commands while on the trails. The tags cost $15 for the first tag and $5 for each additional tag for Boulder residents (currently $18.75 for non-Boulder residents). Once you apply for them online, you should receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 days.
Click here to read the City’s information on the Voice and Sight Dog Tag Program, to watch the required video, and to purchase your dog’s tags online.
A word of caution if you think you’re going to skip the green tag program because your pups are so well-behaved: we don’t recommend it. On the more popular trails, local residents have no qualms about calling the Ranger’s office and reporting hikers with untagged off-leash dogs. It’s a hefty fine if a Ranger catches you (and they’re up and down the more popular trails quite frequently — even in the early morning hours) and for $15, you can save yourself, and your pup, the hassle.
Keep in mind that the Open Space and park areas of Boulder are home to numerous types of wildlife. It’s our responsibility as pet owners to ensure that we’re following the established off-leash guidelines throughout Boulder — they’re for our safety, our pets’ safety, and for the safety of the wildlife. And finally, be sure your dog’s green tags are visible at all times (the Rangers don’t like it when you leave them at home!).