Highway 89 along Tahoe’s West Shore is a treat for the senses on many levels. It takes about an hour in non-traffic conditions to drive straight through, but why would you want to do that? Your first worthwhile diversion, especially if you’re a Tahoe first-timer, is Tallac Historic Site, a collection of late 19th-century estate homes and outbuildings.
The Pope, Valhalla and Baldwin estates can be admired from the outside at any time, while several other buildings are open for viewing, interpretive activities and guided tours in summer.
The site is adjacent to the dog-friendly Kiva picnic area, dog-friendly Kiva Beach and Taylor Creek Visitor Center, where you can bone up on hiking trails and such.
Along this segment of Highway 89 you also have an option for a flat, 3.5-mile, round-trip stroll to gorgeous Fallen Leaf Lake, or an easy-going, mile-in, mile-out jaunt to Cascade Creek Falls, accessed from a trailhead at Inspiration Point near Emerald Bay.
Continuing north on Highway 89, you’ll pass the Inspiration Point vista turnoff above Emerald Bay (definitely stop for a photo). Three state parks—Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss and Sugar Pine Point—farther north are not, sorry to say, very dog-friendly.
If you’re not a skier and have never been to Palisades Tahoe, one of the top mountain resorts in the country, turn in and take a gander. A paved hike-and-bike path leads from the highway to the resort about two miles from the road, skirting a golf course and ending at the Village at Palisades Tahoe, a dog-friendly enclave where dogs are welcomed at restaurants with outdoor tables.
Dogs are also welcome on the iconic cable car rising from the village to the mountain-top High Camp recreation complex, where a pool, giant hot tub, umbrella bar, restaurant and incredible views will highlight your day.
Are you tired yet? Continue on to Truckee, a hip and happening North Shore town with many options for overnight accommodations and outdoor summer dining with your tail-wagger.