The lowdown on dog-friendly public lands

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog on dog-friendly public lands trail

Dogs are welcome at 90 percent of California campgrounds—it’s the rare one indeed that doesn’t allow four-legged family members. But before you put your credit card down, you’ll want to find out where, outside of developed campsites, Bonnie and Bodie are allowed to hike and hang out.

Access to trails and beaches is sharply restricted at most California state and national parks, but there are exceptions, many of which you’ll find spelled out in the listings on In general, you’ll find more freedom to Rover around Northern California on lands administered by the National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and East Bay Regional Park District. And they’re hardly the only games in town.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Gas & Electric and the Sacramento Municipal Utiliy District (SMUD) are among other entities that operate dog-friendly campgrounds in our region. County park districts and private campgrounds, such as those operated by KOA and Thousand Trails, present another set of possibilities.

Read the rules on camping and hiking with pets at your chosen destination, and make reservations as far out as possible through, or the appropriate governing agency. Know that the most popular campgrounds are fully reserved for summer weekends by the end of January, but don’t give up. and offer an online feature that will trigger an email if a site at your preferred campground opens up within your stated date range. Find out, too, if your preferred site has any “first-come” or “overflow” sites in its inventory (most do). Take a risk by showing up at the gates about a half-hour before check-out time. Go midweek if you can, or wait until after Labor Day.

Photo Credit: @misssirris

Last updated on July 1, 2024.


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