Loki at Squaw Valley Resort. Photo Credit: @thatlokilife
Northern California’s favorite mountain playground offers a lifetime’s worth of opportunities to play in the snow with your pup. Start with a snowshoe trek at a SNO-PARK pullout or, in a year like this, just about anyplace you can park and walk into the snow.
We trekked last weekend from the parking lot at Squaw Valley USA to the Resort at Squaw Creek via snowfields covering the golf course and an easy-to navigate, hard-pack road at the base of the mountain, about 45 minutes each way. (The Village at Squaw, by the way, offers many dog-friendly places to eat outside in good weather.) Dogs should be leashed at either end, but common sense prevails in the vast open space between destinations.
Another fave: Echo Lakes at Echo Summit, on Johnson’s Pass Road off Highway 50 (SNO-PARK permit required). The elevation here, a cool 7,500 feet, guarantees sufficient snow well into spring. From the parking lot, three ski trails loop through the woods while a main trail, actually a snow-covered road, winds down to the shore of Lower Echo Lake. The lake freezes over in winter, attracting many cross-county skiers and their canine companions, but your safest bet is to follow the trail hugging the right (north) side of the lake for as far as it’s comfortably navigable. It’s about a mile to the far side of Lower Echo and another 2.5 miles to the far end of the upper lake and a marker at the boundary of the Desolation Wilderness Area. Your dog doesn’t have to be leashed on the trail, but please keep her away from the cabins at lakeside.
If you’re a cross-county ski practitioner, you and your pup will find groomed trails as well as limitless tracts of public lands to glide on at SNO-PARK sites and many other locations in the Tahoe area. Tahoe Donner Cross-Country, Tahoe Cross Country and Kirkwood XC are among developed resorts offering designated dog-friendly trails. Wherever you go, be sure to train your dog to stay away from skis and not go running up to greet other skiers.
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Strap On the Snowshoes
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Cabins In the Woods
Photo Credit: @thatlokilife