We made our first official downtown Salida, Colorado trip this past weekend. I’d been to the area before and have driven through dozens of times. However, we’d also never been to Salida with a dog and never really explored the town. This was Fritzi’s first official road trip and this was the right town to visit because when it comes to dogs in Salida, they’re everywhere.
We were booked for two nights at the dog-friendly, Amigo Motor Lodge. I will write more about this renovated motel later, but I can tell you now that it has a fantastic vibe.
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After an uneventful drive (Fritzi is a road trip star) we arrived in Salida in the early afternoon. We got Fritzi just over a week ago, and everything is rather new to her including rivers. I think most visitors to Salida spend a great deal of time at Riverside Park. I know we did.
The park is downtown and fronts the Arkansas River; it’s the perfect spot to dine on lunch from one of the nearby restaurants. There’s an amphitheater and ample grass and shade here.
It is here that Fritzi first encountered flowing water and, as it turns out, she’s a water dog. I think most dogs are water dogs if you introduce them to lakes, rivers, and oceans at a young age. It only took a few minutes for Fritzi to decide that the Arkansas River is terrific and she committed fully to becoming as wet as possible.
Walking the streets of downtown Salida, we stopped numerous times to talk with strangers about dogs. Everyone wanted to “pet the puppy” and nearly everyone had a dog. In many ways Salida is an extremely dog-friendly town, however, dogs are not allowed everywhere.
In all likelihood, the sheer number of dogs in the area has led to many restaurants and cafes not allowing canines on their patios. After all, not all owners have taught their furry companion good manners. However, there are a few places that allow well-behaved dogs on their patios such as Soulcraft Brewery and the Little Red Hen Bakery. If your dog travels with you be sure to heed “no dogs” signs on patios.
We made a quick stop at the Salida Farmers Market at Alpine Park (it runs through October 19). Fritzi stayed in the truck as dogs are not allowed in the market. I have a real affinity for farmers markets and of course, had to buy a few things that included carrots and popcorn from the Salty Wench. Her Mexican spice on popcorn is divine.
We wanted to get Fritzi a chew for our stay so we stopped at Gone to the Dogs on Hwy 50, close to our motel. Their second location is in nearby Buena Vista. In addition to a bully stick, we bought a treat bag and some Kong balls for her.
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Of course, she joined us inside the store, getting treats and love from the employees. This store has a nice variety of items for traveling with your pup. I’d recommend stopping here if you visit the town with a dog.
Conveniently, Salida has a big dog park just a few minutes from Amigo Motor Lodge. Loyal Duke’s Dog Park has separate areas for big dogs and little dogs. It’s a beautiful place to exercise your dog as the sun goes down. It operates from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Just a few minutes away from the dog park is Sands Lake Wildlife Area. The Arkansas River borders the north of the lake. We visited on our second evening in Salida. This is a good area to walk the dog because there is a path that encircles the lake.
With its many parks and general acceptance of dogs as part of our lives, Salida was an excellent spot to take Fritzi on her first road trip. We aren’t taking her with us every time, but when it is a town like Salida, there’s little reason to leave her at home.
Thank you to Now This is Colorado for hosting our stay at Amigo Motor Lodge.
Note: For those of you who are curious about smoke in the town from the Decker Fire, on our first day the town smelled like a campfire. On the second and third day, we couldn’t tell a fire was burning nearby but the smoke on the nearby mountains was visible and at night we could see flare-ups on the mountainside.
Despite all of this, thanks to countless work by 450+ firefighters, we felt perfectly safe and life goes on in Salida.