This scenic region an hour north of Lake Tahoe in Plumas County has been making family vacation memories for generations, but it’s just now appearing on the radar screens of mountain bikers, hikers, winter sports enthusiasts and DogTrekkers looking to trade congestion and commercialism for recreational and lodging opportunities with elbow room.
There was a time when the only lodging accommodations in these parts were mom-and-pop cabin resorts catering to fishermen and families. And while there are still plenty of those around, there’s also the option to go upscale. Chalet View Lodge in Graeagle offers the most luxurious dog-friendly accommodations in the area, along with out-the-door access to hiking, fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Other amenities include an on-site craft brewery, sports courts, a day spa, a golf course and even a mountain-bike pump track. Leashed pets are allowed in casual outdoor dining spaces and even on the golf course.
Not far away, Gray Eagle Lodge, named by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of the top 10 American classic summer lodges, has been welcoming families for 94 years. It offers dog-friendly accommodations in private cabins on the banks of a burbling creek at rates that include breakfast and dinner (for people, that is). The nearby Lodge at Whitehawk welcomes well behaved pets in all of its four deluxe and 14 rustic cabins, and includes breakfast in the rates. If you’re traveling between May and October, another option is Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch, specializing in dude ranch vacations for 54 years. Patch can’t join you on a horseback ride, but there are scads of other activities you can enjoy with your pet at your side (the ranch is closed in winter).
As for recreation, Plumas National Forest alone offers more than a million acres and scores of trails where dogs are allowed to accompany their uprights either on- or off-leash, while the sublime Lakes Basin Recreation Area enchants with sawtooth peaks, turquoise lakes and dreamy vistas. One of the most popular hikes in the area is the 3.75-mile Round Lake/Bear Lakes Loop Trail, which overlooks or touches nine mountain lakes. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, stretching 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico, has its midway point in Plumas County and can be accessed at a half-dozen points between Belden and the Lakes Basin. See more hiking suggestions here.
Photo Credit: Kelsey Bradanini