Yep, they’re open! California’s 19 Sno-Park sites, most in the Tahoe basin but some farther afield on the flanks of the Sierra, are white oases for winter fun. Jointly maintained by CalTrans, the USDA Forest Service and other agencies, they offer plowed parking and trails, some groomed, where you can ski, snowshoe and hike with your dog. Some offer snowmobile trails and sledding hills, as well.
Dogs are allowed at California Sno-Parks, but as a courtesy to others, please keep the leash on until you’re deep in the woods and away from parking lots and other people.
You’ll need a permit to visit one of these public-land playgrounds, but it shouldn’t break the bank. Daily permits, $5, can be purchased online or from area vendors (downloads a PDF). Seasonal permits are $30. Oh, in case you’re going to be driving to Oregon or Idaho, know that California permits are good at those states’ Sno-Parks, too.
Word to the wise: weather and conditions can change fast in the mountains. Be sure to pack water and food for you and your pup, and carry dog towels and extra clothing in case you get wet while rovering around. A can of de-icer and a snow shovel are good pieces of emergency equipment to carry, as well.
Don’t forget to check road conditions and chain-control restrictions before you go. And please, help slow the coronavirus spread by wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.
For details on individual Sno-Park sites, visit DogTrekker.com’s Sno-Park pages.