Traveling with your dog

Traveling with your dog in Calaveras by Cindy Rochelle
Dogtown Road in San Andreas | Cindy Rochelle

The leash policy throughout Calaveras County is that dogs need to be on a maximum six foot leash or under voice command. On most of our trail systems you’ll encounter bikers and hikers, as well as the local wildlife, so bear that in mind if your dog is inclined to chase after any of the above.

Photo by Sandy Price
Kona at Camp 9 in Vallecito | Photo: Sandy Price

Lake Trails – If you’re coming into the county and you’ve been in the car all day, check out the trails at New Melones and New Hogan Lakes.   Recreation trails here offer several short and moderate loops for a run or hike. Now is a great time, with cooler temperatures, the grasses are green and the wildflowers are blooming – and the snakes haven’t yet emerged from their winter dens.

In the Arnold area you’ll find several entrances to the Arnold Rim Trail, which has 30+ miles of single track and fire roads meandering through the conifers at about 4000 feet in elevation. Make the trek to the rocks known as Top of the World for spectacular sunset views of the coastal mountains and Sierra foothills. The ART is accessible year-round (with the exception of snow) and provides lot of welcome shade as the weather warms up.

Photo by Jill Seale
On the Arnold Rim Trail | Photo: Jill Seale

Snow play – Want to see cross country skiing from the pooch perspective?  Watch this video and then head to Bear Valley Cross Country for a day of fun. The Stanislaus National Forest offers plenty of winter outdoor options. From one of the three official parking areas at the east end of Highway 4, you can head out for a day of snowshoeing or skiing. Don’t forget your parking pass, available for $5 from SNAC, Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods , Bear Valley Snowmobile or the Bear Valley Cross Country Center.

Did you bring everything your dog will need for multi-day outings? SNAC in Arnold will outfit your pup with its own life jacket for water adventures on the high country lakes, Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods has collapsible food and water bowls, Ace Hardware in Arnold also has a good selection of products for the four legged.

Calaveras Big Trees does not allow dogs on the trails through the sequoia groves, but they’re welcome in the campgrounds and on the park’s fire roads while on leash.

Photo by Jill Seale
Upcountry kayaking at Utica Lake | Photo: Jill Seale

Summer brings the opportunity to enjoy the high country and the hundreds of miles of recreation that the Stanislaus National Forest has to offer. Try a canoe outing on Spicer, Union or Utica reservoirs (see above for life jacket rentals at SNAC). Fun short day hikes include Osborn Ridge and Inspiration Point near Lake Alpine.   In campgrounds and developed recreation areas, leash policies apply, but most other areas in the National Forest don’t require dogs on leash, so feel free to roam!

You may notice that many of our businesses (including many lodging properties) are dog friendly (look for the paw-print icon at the top of individual listings). As a general rule, any business that serves food or food related products will not allow your dog inside, but you may be welcome to walk your dog on their property on a leash. Restaurants and bars that include the dog-friendly paw-print allow dogs on their outdoor dining patios. And some tasting rooms (that don’t carry food products) may allow you inside. Check with individual businesses before taking your dog inside. Here at the Calaveras Visitors Center, we always keep a water bowl filled with fresh water, and welcome dogs inside. Expect us to lavish love and attention on your dogs!

dogs welcome in Calaveras Visitors Center
Dogs are welcome in the Calaveras Visitors Center in historic downtown Angels Camp