Rise above the summer heat at these high-elevation campgrounds.
• Convict Lake Campground, Inyo National Forest: Talk about the “wow” factor. Convict Lake, known for its robust trout fishery and the dramatic, color-streaked mountain massif that frames it, is one of the most scenic spots in the Eastern Sierra, and its campground is one of the most popular.
• Wawona Campground, Yosemite National Park: Ten developed campgrounds within the park allow dogs, but Wawona has the advantage of being close to the Wawona Meadow Loop Trail, a wide, 3.5-mile path that rates as the only dog-friendly dirt track in the preserve. Elsewhere, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy the scenery from roads, sidewalks and bike paths.
• Crystal Basin Recreation Area campgrounds, Eldorado National Forest: Five reservoirs and adjacent campgrounds maintained by the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) make this area off Highway 50 midway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe a primo destination for those in the know.
For families with pre-teens and paddle craft (kayaks, rafts or canoes), we recommend idyllic Gerle Creek Reservoir and Campground, where motorboats are prohibited and kids and dogs alike can play pirate on a small island close enough to shore for visual supervision. Loon Lake and Wrights Lake offer similar no-motor policies, plus direct hiking access into the dog-friendly Desolation Wilderness Area. If you’re bringing a motorized boat, choose one of numerous campgrounds at Union Valley or Ice House lakes and settle in for a scenic good time.
• Woods Lake, Eldorado National Forest: Arrive midweek to snag a spot at this 25-site, first-come, first-served gem of a campground two miles south of Highway 88 near Carson Pass and an endless network of hiking trails. Fleece up even in August: nights are always chilly at 8,200 feet.
• Lake Alpine Recreation Area campgrounds, Arnold, Stanislaus National Forest: A necklace of six campgrounds rings this pretty little lake situated at 7,300 feet elevation about 50 miles east of Angels Camp on Highway 4 in Alpine County. Lake Alpine, Pine Marten, Silvertip, Silver Valley, Backpackers and Lodgepole Overflow campgrounds are all first-come, first-served and dog-friendly.