Cross-country skiing is intensely popular in Northern California snow country, but if you prefer groomed trails at developed ski areas, your need to know where dogs are welcome and where they’re not.
Among developed XC ski areas that welcome dogs is Tahoe Cross Country, whose 65 kilometers of groomed trails include two pet-friendly tracks (no leash required for dogs under voice command) traversing eight kilometers of beginner and intermediate terrain. A dog pass is $4 a day, with canine season passes priced at $49.
South of Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood XC & Snowshoe Center offers 80 kilometers of groomed track, separate lanes for skaters and snowshoers, and two trails—High Trail and Outer Loop—on which dogs are welcome.
Hope Valley, about a half-hour south of South Lake Tahoe, is a wintertime magnet for DogTrekkers. Its 60 miles of trails, groomed and ungroomed, traverse national forest lands and are available to skiers and snowshoers at no fee. The place to park and get started is Hope Valley Outdoors, offering rentals, clinics, guided touring and warm hospitality. Want to spend the night? Nearby Sorensen’s Resort has 10 pet-friendly, Christmas card-worthy cabins that welcome furry friends at no extra charge.
In the Mammoth Lakes area, rustic Tamarack Lodge is a favorite with DogTrekkers both for its pet-friendly lodging policy and for the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing available right out the door. Ten kilometers of groomed ski trails are open to skiers with canine companions. Snowshoe trails, also dog-friendly, are maintained separately. Also in the Mammoth Lakes area, leashed canines are allowed on 15 kilometers of trails maintained by Rock Creek Lodge.
Photo courtesy Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area.