The Best Dog-Friendly Hikes in Tahoe

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As we move into the end of November, the once crowded trails are now empty and we are entering prime bundled up hiking season! Although Tahoe is renowned for its hiking paths and backpacking routes, questions about when and where you can bring your pups are often left unanswered.

Lucky for you, we have done the hard work and curated a list of the best dog-friendly hikes in the Tahoe area.

The Flume Trail Incline Village, NV

Type: Out and Back

Distance: 4.7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Dogability: On leash, with some wiggle room

The Flume Trail was originally logging trail which supplied the lumber for booming Virginia City mines down the grade and was even the site of one intrepid mine owner’s death-defying ride (we’ll have more on that soon). This trail is packed with highlights from start to finish. First, you’ll pass by a small cluster of buildings known as the Ponderosa Ranch, although you might know it as the ranch from Bonanza. No entry is permitted, but it never hurt anyone to peek in! Prepare to be treated to a lake view like you’ve never seen before, the Flume Trail guides you along the shoreline and up to famed Monkey Rock, which boasts some of the most memorable views around!

Dog lovers enjoy this hike because of its separation from major roadways and generously sized walking paths. Most dogs remain off leash and enjoy running through the shaded and empty woods which line the main path. This hike features steeper inclines, and packing water for your pups is always recommended, although you can always cap off your hike at Tunnel Creek Café which has an outdoor watering station for fatigued canines!

Chimney Beach Trail Sand Harbor, NV

Type: Out and Back

Distance: 2.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy, slightly steep on the return

Dogability: On leash

As its name indicates, this trail is a relaxing beachside trail perfect for a family adventure. It takes the average hiker about 30 minutes to arrive at its namesake beach, where sunbaked boulders and clear turquoise waters await. With pups in tow, its best to be vigilant down at the beach as the boulders tend to be slippery and less graceful dogs may inadvertently step in a crack.

This trail has a pretty spectacular reward at the end, so it will come as no surprise that this trail is quite popular with locals and visitors alike. If you prefer solitude on your hikes, you may want to look elsewhere, however, fans of this trail attest to its virtues despite the occasional crowds! Continuing down this trail will also lead you to Marlette Lake, a favorite local hiking spot.

Spooner Lake Trail

Type: Loop

Distance: 2.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Dogability: On leash

One of the many smaller lakes surrounding Lake Tahoe, Spooner lake marks the junction of three major roads leading to Carson City, South Lake Tahoe, and Incline Village. The Spooner Lake trail follows the circumference of the lake and features stunning views of this often-overlooked park.

Dogs are allowed to frolic as far as their leashes and their owners will allow, although the shaded and gentle walk are sure to make up for this!

Be advised, the entranced to the park is watched over by a ranger who charges about $10 for a family vehicle, with proceeds benefiting the maintenance of the park’s beautiful common areas, including stocking the lake with local varieties of trout for those who enjoy fishing!

Noonchester Trail

Type: Loop

Distance: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Dogability: Off leash, also a horse trail

Located near Homewood, the Noonchester Trail, named after the early 20th-century gold and silver mine which once stood there, is a dog lover’s paradise. Easy parking and access to the trailhead makes this outing a breeze.

The most popular loop is about two and a half miles long, but many different paths are easily accessible off the main trail. Dogs are free to roam the trail but be careful as the occasional equestrian may also frequent this gorgeous spot!

Glen Alpine Trail

Type: Out and Back

Distance: Up to you!

Difficulty: Moderate

Dogability: On leash

Off the beaten Tahoe path is a diamond in the ruff (pun intended!). Nestled along Fallen Leaf Lake Road near legendary Emerald Bay, the Glen Alpine Trail has a slew of surprises which will keep you coming back.

From waterfalls to remnants of a forgotten local history, the tranquil mountain scenery surrounding this trail has it all! This out and back trail allows you to customize the length and direction of your hike. Be sure to bring a map of the area if you want to find little watering holes to play in with your pup. One savvy hiker does recommend putting booties on your furry companion as the path can be quite rocky.

Cave Rock Trail

Type: Out and Back

Distance: 1.9 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Dogability: On leash

Alright, so we couldn’t create this list without including controversial Cave Rock Trail. Anyone who has driven up Tahoe’s east shore has invariably gone through the iconic Cave Rock tunnel, and the popular trail leading to the pinnacle of the rock offers insurmountable views of the basin.

This popular trail is controversial due to its roots in Washoe tribal folklore. Cave Rock, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, was considered so sacred to the Washoe people that only the best medicine men were allowed to be near it (check out the story here). Cave Rock is now under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service, which allows the recreational use of this site. If you do choose to use the site, particularly with animals, it is important to be mindful of the power and importance of Cave Rock in the minds of indigenous peoples.

Rawhide to Page Loop Trail

Type: Loop

Distance: 7.1 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Dogability: Off Leash OK

The Rawhide Trail, which incorporates a small part of the Tahoe Rim Trail, is a little heaven for amateur botanists and their canine companions, as most of the trail’s surroundings are comprise of beautiful alpine meadows.

Although this route is fairly long, visitors say the path is relatively flat and easily walkable for most. This trail may be a little more difficult to spot than some others, so a mobile GPS may be helpful, lest you spend your afternoon looking for the trailhead!

Ophir Creek Trail

Type: Loop

Distance: 7.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Dogability: On leash

The Ophir Creek Trail conveniently located just off Mount Rose Highway is renowned for its accessibility and beautifully maintained paths. The trail takes you through the gorgeous Mount Rose meadows, which becomes a popular snow recreation area in the winter.

In the fall, you and your pup can enjoy the small but refreshing Upper Price Lake, which is located at the end of the loop. Most hikers loyal to this trail will tell you this venue is ideal for early morning hiking, when the unshaded paths are at their coolest! Although leash laws are often snubbed on this trail, bring a leash as you will most likely have to park along the highway for prime access.

There you have it: eight fantastic trails you and your fur baby are sure to love. Happy hiking!

 

Sybile Moser

Sybile serves as a Marketing and Administrative Assistant for Oliver Luxury Real Estate. She works in Incline Village, and can be reached at 775.831.8400 or sybile@oliverlux.com