Not far from Yosemite National Park via Highway 41, Bass Lake, tucked within the Sierra National Forest east of Oakhurst, Madera County’s major resort area and has been for more than a century. Five miles long and with much warmer water than lakes at higher altitude, Bass Lake has many dog-friendly vacation rentals as well as three canine-welcoming, lakeside resorts.
The upscale Pines Resort offers pet-friendly lakefront rooms and roomy chalets, while the Forks and Miller’s Landing resorts welcome DogTrekkers with an old-school, summer-camp feel. All offer pet-friendly outdoor dining. Or choose one of 10 pet-friendly campgrounds near the lake—but be sure to make reservations well in advance.
Another nearby option: Queen’s Inn by the River, situated on a tranquil 5.5 acres five miles from the lake. The inn’s wine and beer garden is a great place to chill with your pooch while you sample the produce (and a highly recommendable cabernet) from next-door Idle Hour Winery. Lodging at the Queen is in fully renovated, motel-style rooms or a king-room cabin accommodating four. A bonus: live music on site Saturday evenings summer through October.
What to do at the lake itself? If you want to get out on the water but don’t have a boat of your own, you can rent a pontoon boat at Miller’s and spend a lazy day exploring the lake with your fur buddy on board. On the hiking front, one of the more challenging options is the Goat Mountain Trail, which leads to a fire lookout with panoramic views. For an easy stroll, choose the Way-of-the-Mono Interpretive Trail, a short, half-mile loop with ample parking and signage describing the life-ways of the indigenous Mono people who once inhabited the area.
Photo Credit: Dave Kendrick