If you're heading to or from Tahoe from Sacramento and the Bay Area on Highway 50, consider a half-day outing on Echo Lake, where you can rent a canoe, hike or take a boat taxi through snow-streaked scenery that will stick in your mind for weeks to come. For more scenic overload, pull off Highway 50 at Twin Bridges and check out gushing Horsetail Falls.
At Donner State Memorial Park off Interstate 80 just outside Truckee, you and Fido can follow a scenic trial along the lakeshore or hike a fire road into Coldstream Valley. Donner Lake is especially beautiful in fall, when mist rises over the water and leaves on the quaking aspens around its perimeter shimmer like golden coins.
Photo: "Echo Lake" - Janet Fullwood (DT)