Yosemite Falls: Yosemite in winter can make for a glorious getaway for you and your best friend. Yes, you’ll have to make base camp outside park boundaries unless you’re a hard-core camper (dogs aren’t allowed at park hotels), but that factoid of life shouldn’t cast a shadow on your enjoyment of the falls and the park. You and yours can walk right up to the 2,425-foot, three-state gusher that roars like a highway during rain and snow-melt season.
Headed to Gold Country? Hidden Falls in Auburn State Recreation Area off Interstate 80 in Placer County is a not-so-hidden gem that offers great rewards after a heavy rain. The 30-foot cascade is a serious gusher reached halfway into a 5-mile loop hike. Be forewarned that you’ll share the views with hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Keep your four-legged buddy leashed and be sure to observe trail etiquette around horses.
Northern California DogTrekkers are probably more familiar with the geographic features of the Sierra Nevada mountain range than with the Shasta Cascades that define the landscape around Redding. But there’s no better time to experience the difference than in winter, when the rugged foothills glow velvet green, the icy cone of Mount Shasta looms tall and waterfalls tumble into the streams feeding sapphire-blue Whiskeytown Lake. Take the Waterfall Challenge to visit four raging cascades tucked deep into the dog-friendly Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.