If you and your pup prefer paved trails to dirt ones, seek out the Truckee River Legacy Trail next time you head up to Lake Tahoe. Your furry companion will enjoy meet-and-greets with lots of other canines out for morning walks with their people, and you’ll enjoy watching the river roll by. The paved trail hugs the river for 2.5 miles northeast of Truckee River Regional Park, just outside the downtown district. Eventually, it will extend from Donner Memorial State Park to the community of Glenshire. A dirt path runs parallel to the paved one, right next to the water, and you’ll find lots of boulders to sit on while watching the waterworks. It’s OK for your pup to be off leash here, so long as she comes when called and doesn’t bother other dogs or people.
When it comes to riverside trails, it’s hard to top Sacramento’s 32-mile American River Parkway. The shady greenbelt and bike trail that runs through it meander from the Old Sacramento historic district to Folsom. The parkway is especially enjoyable in spring, when yellow wildflowers color the riverbanks. Of the many points of entry, Old Sacramento is easily the most popular. For a more back-to-nature experience, head east on Highway 50 to enter the parkway upstream at Ancil Hoffman Park or the Nimbus Fish Hatchery (where you’ll also find free parking). In these woodsy sections of the trail, coyotes, deer and wild turkeys are sometimes spotted. Be forewarned that lots of cyclists use the parkway, and that leash laws are rigorously enforced.