Cynosports 2012 (USDAA Nationals) - Denver Colorado

So, I have decided to compile some information that USDAA National participants might find helpful. I will add or update it from time to time.

Need to practice when you get into town?  Denver Dog Sports is offering some rental times to Cynosports. This facility is probably less than 10 minutes from the competition site.  To get details,


Bear Creek.  Located just off C-470 this park is very nice.  The camping shouldn’t be like a KOA in that you are off the highway.  Also, although there are leash laws, there is a TON of space to exercise dogs (and water).

Chapfield State Park

Off of a highway, but camping won’t be anywhere near it.  Water and lots of places to walk dogs.  There is a huge dog park if you want.

 Cherry Creek

Off of a highway, but camping won’t be anywhere near it.  Water and lots of places to walk dogs.  There is a huge dog park if you want.

Barr Lake

Closest to the trial site.  I don’t know anything about this park other than what is on the website

Hotels - So, USDAA just annouced the hotel situation for Nationals.  I took the libery of mapping the hotels out relative to the trial site (red push pin marker).  All the USDAA recommended hotels are the red rounded pins.  I added a few hotels that frankly I am surprised that they didn't consider (given their pet friendly reputation), these are the blue rounded pins.

Map of USDAA hotels

I believe that the hotels I added are not in breed ban areas, but check for sure.  Some of the USDAA hotels ARE in ban areas (Denver and Aurora). 

If I were picking hotels I would probably stay at the Embassy Suites or the La Quinta on Tower Road (breed ban area), but for a non-breed ban area I would stay at the Westminster La Quinta. 

Word to the wise--remember I live in Denver, I know the areas, but I don't stay in the hotels in my home town so I don't know the exact hotel well :)

Airport - Here is info.  I understand that the airport is adding a hotel and has some construction going on, DIA info and construction

Random info
Random Great Places to Eat
One thing to know about Denver, it is a very casual place.  It is perfectly acceptable to go out to a fancy dinner in nice looking blue jeans and if you show up in your agility clothes nobody is going to throw you out.  None of the places I have listed here are "Suit and Tie" places (we only have a few that require it anyway).  I have tried to list some of the places that you may not find on your own.  Warning--I am not a comfort food kind of gal, so all of these places will have flavor and texture to their foods.  Many have "safe" choices as well, but I rarely choose that path.

Wahoo Fish Tacos - (Lunch/Dinner) This is a great little place to get a quick and healthy bit to eat.  They exist in several states so you might have heard of them. This particular location is near Dick's Sporting Goods Park.  Northfield at Stapleton, 8100 Northfield Boulevard, Denver, CO 80238, 303.574.0466

Yak and Yeti - (Lunch/Dinner) This is an awesome Indian restaurant with a ton of atmoshere and their own brew pub (what more can you ask).  They have two locations, but the Arvada location is the place to go.  It is in old town Arvada.  The parking is a little shy of trees for shade, but I bet you can find some in the surrounding neighborhood.  Yak and Yeti is probably 20 minutes from Dick's.

Rootdown - (Dinner) This is a funky little restaurant with great food.  It combines all sorts of flavors to make for interesting meals.  This is in a section of Denver called the Highlands that is probably 15 minutes from the Dick's.  I believe that you will be able to find some shaded parking for the pups and the neighborhood is very dog friendly. Since this place has tons of shade parking, here is a link to other restaurants in the area

Barolo Grill - (Dinner and on the expensive side) If you want a casual yet fantastic experience, this is your place.  This restaurant shuts down once a year to take all the staff over to Italy.  These guys know their food!  You might encounter folks that are a little more dressed up, but have no fear you can wear blue jeans.  The restaurant is in an old neighborhood and shade parking can be found.  Great place to walk your dog after dinner.  About 15 minutes from Dick's.

Zengo (Dinner and on the expensive side) - We have had several great dining experiences here.  We generally get the Tapas size portions so that we can try many different dishes.  This place is located in downtown Denver and there probably isn't a lot of great shade parking. 15 minutes from Dick's.

El Tepehuan - (Lunch/Dinner) Great authentic Mexican food and very casual. 25 minutes from Dick's and very little shade parking.

Qualifing for Nationals
You do not have to advance through the levels of the titling program to compete at Nationals. To qualify to compete at Nationals you just have to qualify in 1 or more of the 3 tournament classes, Grand Prix, Steeplechase and Team. Grand Prix requires two clean runs to qualify for Nationals.
Steeplchase is a time plus faults, 2 Qs are required to qualify for Nationals. "Team" requires only 1 team Q to qualify to run in team at Nationals.

At Nationals you may enter only the classes in which you are qualified.

Dog/People Recreation
The Denver and Boulder areas in Colorado have areas called "Open Space". Generally this area is large, non-developed expanses of land. Open space is a great place to recreate and walk dogs.

Boulder Open Space. Boulder also permits off leash walking of dogs in some areas Off Leash Map. You must apply for a tag in order to have your dog under Sight and Sound control. You register online for one here. It is an easy process and is available to non-Boulder residents.

Denver does not have any off leash opportunities other than dog parks. There are a couple of dog parks that are HUGE with lakes and walking trails. Cherry Creek State Park which is 20 minutes from the USDAA Nationals site and Chapfield State Park, 40 minutes from the trial site. List of Colorado dog parks

I did blog about the weather, so you can look up that information. Generally in October the weather is very pleasant. Lows in the 30's and highs can be in the 60's. There is very little humidity here which makes it much easier to hang outdoors in 40 degree weather. I am not the most hardy person, but I did run my dogs this morning (Oct 30th) in 45 degree sunny weather with just a t-shirt and jogging pants. Seriously! 45 degrees in Denver is not the same as 45 degrees anywhere there is humidity.

IF it does snow, Dick's Sporting Goods Park plows the fields for soccer, I suspect they would do the same for us! The sun tends to come out very quickly after snows and when it does things melt fast and warm up fast.

There is a reason we spend a lot of time outside in Colorado--BECAUSE WE CAN!


Scott Black said...

Hi There,

Thanks for sharing your local insights on the site for nationals this year. I am driving out from SF area with my Aussie and the significant other--will be our first nationals. Trying to decide on hotels based on the list USDAA provided and looking beyond as well...any local insights on the best places to stay? Criteria:
Under $150 per night (incld. pet fee)
Free parking
Decent proximity to venue
Decent area for SO to enjoy non agility stuff

Most of the hotels seemed to have mixed reviews...

Is Cherry Creek area too far in your opinion?

Would love your input. Thanks again!

Scott Black

Is Cherry

Mary said...

Scott, welcome! I have to admit the immediate location around the Nationals isn't the most ideal/scenic spot in Denver. Cherry Creek is much nicer. Here is my perspective on the drive. At Nationals I am typically there for the day. Walking courses, watching runs, and just enjoying being absorbed in agility (and not my day job). So, to drive 30 minutes in the morning and evening, not a big deal for me. If you want to do back and forth to your hotel perhaps it might be a bit much.

Cherry Creek is an upscale part of town. Nice, and lovely area to walk, eat, and shop. Nothing really close to get dogs lots of exercise, but you can walk them on the streets around there.

Here is a map to bikeways and greenways that offer good walking,

Although probably 45 minutes to the trial site, staying in Boulder would offer hiking in open spaces, college town culture, dog excerise, eating and shopping.

Less expensive hotels might be on the west side of Denver but the SO will need a car to do anything fun. Nice area of town (I live there) but more suburban. Trial site would be 25 - 30 minutes away.

I can post a map later pointing out the different options.

Also, there is light rail in the area which might be handy for the SO to branch out. I will put that info up as well.

Scott Black said...

Thanks for the info!

Of the hotels that USDAA cited do you have a "pick of the litter" for the best combination of location and facility. Any other specific properties you would recommend checking out? I welcome your thoughts.


Mary said...

Scott, I posted some updated hotel info and "pick of the litter". I think if I thought I would have some spare time in the area (outside of nationals) I would stay at the LQ in Westminster. Downtown has a couple of "boutique" hotels that I have stayed at and allow pets, but a little above your price range., and Magnolia if you are curious.

Scott Black said...

Thanks again Mary.

Looks like Westminster would require a bit of freeway travel to the site. Will traffic be a factor in getting to and from there typically. What would be a fair estimate of the back and forth time? Thought about the Monaco as we loved it in Portland but 6 days, pet fees, and parking will add up, so I am trying to resist the temptation...

Any particular reason on the embassy suites? Location? Facility?


Mary said...


Choose Embassy purely because of name and location (seems like it would be close to the site), I dont' know about the traffic, 36 might not be great. But Westminster area is nicer than commerce city.

Scott Black said...

Well,I spotted the fact that the Westin Westminster has a cash and points program right now--$45 an night plus 2,500 starpoints (which I fortunately have)and NO PET FEE! Looks pretty lux as well, though I am concerned a bit bye the traffic possibility...They cite downtown as 15 minutes away so I am guessing 30 minutes to CC with no traffic? Not too bad...Booked for now as I can cancel up to day of. Thanks again for the local perspective, I am sure I will have more questions for you!