Whether there’s lots of snow or not a flake at lake level, your pup will appreciate a winter break at Northern California’s favorite playground as much as you will. The wild card is weather, so be prepared to embrace whatever conditions Mother Nature throws your way. Here are some of our favorite ways to play with our pups at Lake Tahoe.
Cross-country skiing: If you’re an XC practitioner, you and your pup will find groomed cross-country trails as well as limitless tracts of public lands to glide on. Tahoe Donner Cross-Country, Tahoe Cross Country and Kirkwood XC are among developed resorts offering designated dog-friendly trails. Wherever you go, be sure to train your dog to stay away from skis and not go running up to greet other skiers!
Hiking: No snow at low altitude? Go for a walk and enjoy some scenery, solitude and lots of sniff opportunities. DogTrekker’s favorite winter hikes at lake level on the South Shore include the Lam Watah Trail to Nevada Beach and the trails winding around Tallac Historic Site and the adjacent Kiva Beach and Taylor Creek areas. On the North Shore, pick a section of the 19-mile Lakeside Trail out of Tahoe City and enjoy some stellar photo opps. In Truckee, put paws to path on the Truckee River Legacy Trail, a four-mile round trip leaving from a park just outside downtown.
Snowshoeing: Anywhere there’s snow, you can snowshoe. Packed snow, level terrain and designated trails are the best bet for entry-level canines and their uprights; after all, you don’t want Cleo to flounder into a tree well. Among popular venues for dog-friendly snowshoe excursions in the Tahoe area are Echo Lakes, Meeks Bay, Page Meadow, Fallen Leaf Lake Trail, North Tahoe Regional Park and Big Meadow. Several developed cross-country ski areas, including Kirkwood XC & Snowshoe Center and Tahoe Cross Country, welcome canine-accompanied snowshoers on designated trails.