We always encourage local dogs to get their humans outside and enjoy the incredible summer recreation our Reno / Lake Tahoe region offers, especially when it comes to hiking. While the number of great pooch-friendly trails around us can—and does—fill books, here are a few we love sharing with our friends and pets!
Galena Creek Park
Located just a short drive up the Mount Rose Highway, Galena Creek Park offers 15 trails of all lengths and difficulty levels, from half-mile strolls to 9.2-mile tromps to choose-your-own-adventure journeys into the Mount Rose Wilderness. That’s why this area’s variety of desert vistas, forest-shaded meanders and alpine treks offer something for everyone and their dog.
ALL of these trails are open to dogs, and about half of them allow you to unleash your pooch once you’re a mile beyond the trailhead.
For descriptions and details about individual trails, check out the Galena Creek Park’s website. Also, swing by the Visitor Center to review maps, fill up your water bottles, utilize their beautiful facilities and get personalized information from the friendly staff.
Hunter Creek Falls Trail
While this can be a real challenge for us two-leggers, dogs adore the mixed terrain of the creek itself, grassy meadows, rocky talus, dense forest and—of course—a 25-foot waterfall to splash around in triumphantly at the path’s tail-end!
About 5.6 miles roundtrip (the falls are your turnaround point) with a sizable 1200 feet of elevation gain/loss, this hike takes most folks between 2 to 4 hours.
There are plenty of trees to inspect (especially towards the falls) including aspen, alder, firs and pines, and you can let your pal roam free off the leash; just be mindful of the numerous birds and critters who call this trail home. Also be alert for some larger four-legged friends hoofing this track as it’s a popular trail for equestrians, too.
Exposed areas can be very hot in the height of summer days, so we recommend an early start. Bring plenty of water for you and your pal because, while seasonal stream beds and meadow pools dot the route, mild winters like the ones we’ve had can make them unreliable.
You’ll find parking and restrooms at the trailhead, which begins at the end of Woodchuck Drive (western edge of Caughlin Ranch). Check out directions here as well as a wonderfully detailed write-up over at SierraHiker.
Prey Meadows / Skunk Harbor Trail
We love rewarding good behavior with treats, so why not finish up a gorgeous drive and some mild huffing and puffing at a beautiful DOG BEACH! Nestled in a secluded cove, it’s a perfect place to enjoy a swim, a picnic, and a sandy, off-leash runaround–your pooch will love it, too!
This easy to moderate 3.2-mile out-and-back follows an old logging road down to a sandy beach, offering tree-filtered glimpses of Lake Tahoe’s crystal clear waters along the way. The walk down can take as little as 15 minutes; however, when coming back up, stop for some breaks to catch your breath and enjoy those views that helped take it away.
We recommend bringing plenty of water, a picnic lunch, a towel and some trusty hiking shoes for the climb back up to your vehicle. Also, be warned that there are no restrooms at the trailhead or down at the beach.
This is considered one of Lake Tahoe’s “hidden beaches”, so you need to know where the trailhead is. Get yourself to the lake’s east shore, about 2 miles north of the junction of Highway 28 and Highway 50 and look for some roadside turnouts. The trail begins at a green pipe gate on the lake-side of the highway. Park near it, but don’t block it or you may be fined.
As fun as hiking with dogs in Reno–and letting them embrace their wild roots–can be, all wilderness activity poses risks from weather, wildlife and even terrain. So before you hit the trail, take a moment to brush up on our tips for enjoying the outdoors safely and responsibly with your best friends.
- Heat, Sun and Summer Dog Safety
- Not-So-Sweet Summer Bites: Wildlife Awareness
- Running/Hiking With Your Dog
Now get outside, take some “paws” and enjoy our incredible backyard!