Off Leash Dog Parks & Trial Areas

Dog in Grass

Two off-leash dog parks are within the city for canine off-leash activities, Rita Valentine Park and Spring Creek Park at the Lower Pond. In addition, dogs are free to run at several off-leash trail areas. 

Voice & Sight Control

Within the dog parks and off-leash areas, your dog should be under Voice and Sight Control. This means that the owner, or keeper of a dog, is in sight of the dog and is in sufficient control of the dog's behavior that when a dog is commanded to come, it does so the first time.

Dogs that annoy, harass, or attack people, wildlife, livestock, or other dogs, leashed or unleashed, or which enter leash-required areas, are presumed not to be under control.

The owner or keeper of a dog wishing to exercise a dog under voice and sight control shall be responsible for identifying the boundaries of the off-leash dog park and keeping the dog within these boundaries. 

  • Ignorance of the boundaries or the absence of, or damage to, maps at the entrance to an off-leash dog park/area is not an acceptable defense for failure to keep the dog within boundaries.

All other provisions of this chapter, including provisions regarding vicious animals and the removal of animal excrement, shall apply in designated off-leash dog parks and areas.

Animals at Large

Dog Parks

Rita Valentine

Grassy open field offering trails & an off-leash policy for dogs amid scenic mountain surrounds. Rita Valentine Park is accessible from Highway 40 (Lincoln Avenue) and Anglers Drive intersection. Proceed up Anglers Dr (North) approximately 2 miles and park in the lot located on the left side of Anglers Drive. (1010 Anglers Drive).

Rita Valentine Dog Park

Spring Creek at the Lower Pond

Spring Creek is a classic mountain trail about 1/2-mile from the parking lot. Spring Creek is accessible only by non-motorized means. Parking is available at the trailhead, located at Maple Ave and Amethyst Dr. To access the park, from Highway 40 (Lincoln Ave), turn onto 3rd St (north) and proceed two blocks to Pine St and turn right on Maple St. Proceed about 1/2-mile to Amethyst Dr and the park is about half a mile up the Spring Creek Trail.

Spring Creek Dog Park

Off Leash Areas

Sailors Way, Butcherknife & Whistler Park Provide Room to Roam

Dogs are free to run at off-leash areas, which opened to the public, during a trial use period. These locations complement Rita Valentine Park and Spring Creek Park at the Lower Pond for canine off-leash activities. The off-leash trial areas were approved for a two-year period by City Council on September 4, 2018. 

City Council approved the extension use for a two-year period. The program may be rescinded by City Council if issues arise during this time frame. Outside of these areas, current leash laws still apply within city limits and on all city property outside city limits.

The off leash areas, which are open an hour after sunrise to an hour before sunset, include the following trails and also come with some seasonal wildlife restrictions as outlined below.

Butcherknife Trail

This trail carries restrictions during school hours where the leash law applies from 7:30am to 8:30am and 3:00pm to 4:30pm from August 21 to June 8.

Butcherknife Dog Area

Sailors Way Trail

The off leash trail, formerly Lower Spring Creek, runs directly behind the Steamboat Springs High School. Outside of designated hours, dogs are to be leashed at all times.  

Sailors Way Dog Area

Whistler Park

This area has three designated areas with the park for off leash activities.

West Portion: Trail users are asked to remain on existing trails in this section of the park. 

  • Off Leash - May 1 to Oct. 31
  • Leashes Required - Nov. 1 to April 30 (Elk Winter Range)  

Southeast Portion

  • Off Leash - Nov. 1 to April 30
  • Leashes Required - May 1 to Oct 31 

Northeast Portion

  • Off Leash  - Year-Round.
Whistler_sm Pending copy


Each off leash area will be clearly signed at entry/exit points with a map outlining the off leash area.  Off leash trails apply to the trail only and not outside of the designated trail.  Voice and sight control is required within these area. For example, when a dog is commanded to come, it does so on the first time, regardless of distracting circumstances. In addition, dogs harassing people or wildlife are not considered under voice control.

Off-Leash Signage-Enter
Off-Leash Signage - Exit

Animal Complaints

When using these areas, dog waste removal and disposal is required by law. Individuals can report animal complaints to Police Dispatch at 970.879.1144. Additionally, Steamboat Digs Dogs is developing a volunteer patrol to assist with education and will monitor these area during the trial period.