It’s a little off the beaten track, but Highway 4, which climbs into the Sierra through Calaveras and Alpine counties, is a magical place to visit in wintertime. The surrounding national forests offer plenty of places to break your own trail in the snow or take advantage of groomed forest roads.
Forest Road 6N58 is unmarked, so you’ll have to ask locally how to get there (or check out the directions provided by Ebbetts Pass Adventures). It’s a jumping-off point for numerous cross-country ski trails (be sure to keep your dog out of the tracks). Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where leashed dogs are allowed on snow-covered roads, is magnificent for viewing ancient redwoods. Three SNO-PARKs along Highway 4 offer additional snow-play opportunities (along with toilets and parking). Find them at Spicer Meadow, Lake Alpine and Round Valley, on Highway 207 near Bear Valley Mountain Resort.
When it comes to lodging in this neck of the woods, you’ll find lots of vacation rentals around Arnold, Murphys and Bear Valley, and several dog-welcoming hotels in Angels Camp.