Dog-Friendly Hikes: Northern California
Posted by Jen Sotolongo, Long Haul Trekkers on 25th May 2018
Far away from any large cities (it’s a four-hour drive to
San Francisco), northern California offers an abundance of spectacular hikes
with fewer crowds, swimming holes aplenty, and pristine wilderness. Here are some of our favorite dog-friendly hikes. Tell us yours in the comments below! Make sure you are prepared for hiking by checking our
hiking with dogs checklist.
(Shasta Trinity National Forest) – Escape the summer heat with a trip
to Potem Falls, com
plete with a swimming hole at the base of the 70-foot falls.
The hike is super short (just 0.4 miles), but worth it for the easy access.
Head there mid-week for a chance to have it all to yourself.
(Mt. Shasta/Medicine Lake) – If you like mountains, high desert,
diverse flora and fauna, and waterfalls, then this is the hike for you. A set
of three waterfalls, the lower falls is popular among swimmers who want to cool
off in the summer heat. Continue to the more impressive Middle and Upper Falls.
(Mt. Shasta) – Mt. Shasta towers above the lake on this easy
7-mile hike, offering one of the most scenic views in all of northern
California. The shaded trail provides a
nice escape from hot weather. Note that a seasonal wooden bridge crosses the
Sacramento River, otherwise the trail ends up being 9 miles. Bring a kayak or
paddleboard and get in the water.
(Whiskeytown National Recreation Area) – This challenging uphill climb
is worth the 1,100-foot climb for the beautiful 360° views from the peak. In
the spring, colorful wildflowers blossom, guiding your way across creek
crossings and lightly-trafficked 8-mile roundtrip janut. Take a rest in the shade
on the bench near the top, before summiting the exposed peak. Beware of ticks
and check your dog thoroughly after you finish.
(Mt. Shasta) – Don’t let the short 2-mile out and back trail deter you
from considering this moderate hike. Take in one of the best views of nearby
mountains like Shasta, Black Butte, and Mt. Ashland from the lake. Accessible
year round, bring snow shoes in the winter in case the trail is not packed
Lakes Basin via the PCT
(Shasta Trinity National Forest) – Take in the
mountain views throughout this pleasant hike. In addition to
the sweeping vistas of the Klamath Mountains, this six-mile roundtrip hike
offers swimming options and plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the scenery and
Lakes + Mt. Eddy
(Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness) – A favorite
among local hikers, this hike begins in a meadow before ascending into the
glacier-carved Deadfall Basin. Continue on to Upper Deadfall Lake for a
lunchbreak with the best views of Mt. Eddy. With the energy from the rest and a
bit of food, push on to the peak of Deadfall Summit (8,020 feet) and Mt. Eddy,
just 1.1 miles beyond. Now you can say that you’ve hiked to the top of the
tallest mountain west of I-5!
Bear Lake Trail
– (Trinity Alps Wilderness) – Break up this steep 10-mile
round trip hike by backpacking in and camping by the crystal clear waters of
Big Bear Lake. If you’re staying the night, be sure to pick up a wilderness
permit from a ranger station. If you have the energy, continue 3.1 miles to
Little Bear Lake.
Lake Trail to Mt. Bradley
(Mt. Shasta) – Brave the hoards at Castle Lake to
find solace and spectacular views at the peak of Mt. Bradley. Hiking beyond
Castle Lake, this trail is one of the least-visited in the region. The long
ridge walk means nearly constant stunning vistas in all directions.
Shasta via Clear Creek Route
(Mt. Shasta) – While you’re in the shadow of
Mt. Shasta, why not give it a go to the top? For experienced hikers only, the
Clear Creek route offers the least technical way to the summit. Take at least
two days to enjoy the trek and acclimate by camping at Clear Creek Meadows and
wake up early for a sunrise approach. The climb to the top can be grueling and
is straight up, but the views of Oregon and California from 14,180 feet are
unparalleled. All users must first obtain a climbing permit from the ranger
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past few years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.
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