Northern California offers a lot of great, dog-friendly summer adventures, but if there is one thing we love more than anything else…it’s hiking! Why, you ask? Because hiking is great exercise for both you AND your pup! We’ve compiled a list of some great, dog-friendly day hikes that are right here in our own backyard. Please note that all parks vary on their off-leash dog policies, and we recommend that all dogs stay on a leash.
Placerville, CA (El Dorado National Forest) – “Bassi Falls”
- Fairly easy 1.2 mile hike and only about a ten-minute walk from your car to the waterfall.
- Great day hike and fairly easy to get in and out- very kid and dog friendly.
- Best time to go is in May (wildflowers galore!) but the summer months can be nice also. There are even some spots to picnic too.
Take Hwy 50 about 20 miles east of Placerville, turn left (north) onto Ice House Road (Forest Road 3). Drive 16.6 miles on Ice House Road to Union Valley Reservoir. Turn right onto an unmarked dirt road (Road 12N32A), just after crossing the bridge over Big Silver Creek (opposite Big Silver group camp). Drive 0.2 miles to a junction and turn left. Then drive 0.8 miles to another junction and turn right. Drive another 0.7 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road (total 1.7 miles along the dirt road). Auburn, CA – “Codfish Creek Trail”
- About three-miles roundtrip, this trail is an easy day hike that only takes about two-hours.
- The half-way point guides you to Codfish Creek where you and the pup can take a dip.
- Most hikers visit in the spring and summer months, but the best time of year to go is in the spring, where you’ll be greeted by an abundance of wildflowers and butterflies….and a 40ft cascade waterfall!
- There is a $10 self-pay parking fee and it is recommended that you bring exact change!
Trailhead is on Ponderosa Way, 6 miles south of Weimar. From Auburn, take I-80 east to Weimar Cross Road, turn right on Canyon Way. After about ½ mile, the road turns left and becomes Ponderosa Way. Proceed to parking area on right just before Ponderosa Bridge over the North Fork American River. Trailhead is beyond parking area. Caution: Ponderosa Way is recommended for high clearance vehicles for the last 2½ miles. Passage during winter can be difficult.
Norden, CA (Soda Springs) – “Summit Lake Trail”
- Considered to be fairly “easy” this trail is both dog and kid friendly and only about four-miles round trip.
- Also very scenic and not far from Tahoe, this trail is fairly easy to get to from Sacramento.
- The best times to visit are June through October.
From Sacramento take 80 East and exit 176 Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road. Turn right toward Bunny Hill Road and after about a half-mile, turn left to stay on Bunny Hill Road. Your destination is on the left.
Colfax, CA- “Steven’s Trail”
- The trail ranges from 7.5 to 9 miles depending on how far along the river you walk once you reach the “Secret Ravine.” Intercept the North Fork of the American River and let your dog take a swim.
- Best to go in the summer, but hiking is also allowed in the winter. Word on the trail is that if you go in December, you’ll be treated to thousands of lady bugs at the “Secret Ravine!”
From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 east and exit at North Canyon Way (exit 135) at Colfax. Turn left on North Canyon Way, which parallels the freeway, and after a short distance you’ll see the parking area sign on the left side saying Stevens Trail.