To Bridgeport and beyond in the Eastern Sierra

By: Jessica Bay
red and white spaniel sits in front of tufas and Mono Lake
Bodie at Mono Lake. Photo by Cathy Crnkovich.

Oh, so many dog-friendly overnight choices! The town of Bridgeport, about 100 miles south of Carson City in Mono County, offers multiple options: The historic Bridgeport Inn (dog-friendly rooms are in a motel-style building out back, but you can both enjoy dinner on the porch); the Ruby InnBig Meadow Lodge and Walker River Lodge. Five miles south of town, Virginia Creek Settlement encompasses a Western-themed log-cabin motel, housekeeping cabins, tent cabins and a campground at the edge of the creek.

All are great jumping-off points for a “must do” visit to Bodie State Historic Park, a gold-mining ghost town where your leashed dogs can join you in exploring deserted streets and peering into the windows of abandoned buildings preserved in a state of “arrested decay.” Bring food and water for yourself and your furry friend, as there’s nothing available in the park, which is reached after a 15-mile drive on a dirt (but nicely graded) road. Grab a self-guided tour map and tag along on a docent tour if you can – and don’t forget your camera!

Also near Bridgeport: Virginia Lakes is a wonderland of eight pristine (and trout-filled) mountain lakes at above 9,000 feet elevation, offering (besides scenery) campgrounds and a rustic resort with dog-friendly cabins, boat rentals, a general store and café. No gas-powered boats are allowed, which adds to the peaceful vibe. Three of the lakes are accessible by car, while the others can be reached by foot and paw.