Helpful hints and tips for visitors looking to exploring Lake Tahoe with dogs |

Helpful hints and tips for visitors looking to exploring Lake Tahoe with dogs

Kaya the dog is perfectly pleasant during a boat outing last summer on Lake Tahoe.
Photo: Eric Gwiazdowski |

One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Tahoe is with man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but before you load Fido up into the car and head out for your next adventure, there are some things you should know — like where to stay, where to play and how to make sure you and your pet are getting the most out of your visit.

Below is a quick-hit list of just some of the places to take your pooches throughout the Tahoe-Truckee region this summer:

Where to stay

This might be a given for some and a shock to others, but it isn’t always easy to find pet-friendly lodging.

Of the hotels across North Lake Tahoe, the Best Western in Truckee will allow pets for a fee ranging from $20-$100, depending on length of stay. The Inn at Truckee will allow two pets for an extra $25 per night, and PlumpJack Squaw Valley will allow one dog per stay for a flat rate of $150, and two for a flat rate of $200.

The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, located in Incline Village, will allow one pet under 25 pounds for a $150 fee per stay. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, located near Northstar California, also charges $150 per stay for pets, but has no weight limit and does allow up to two dogs for that rate.

Farther along the West Shore, in Tahoma, the Tahoma Bed and Breakfast offers pet friendly cottages starting at $139.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option to stay with your furry friend on the North Shore, pet-friendly Airbnb listings for two adults are around $80, total, per night.

If you’re visiting South Lake Tahoe, there are so many pet-friendly lodging options that it would be impossible to list them all here, so we looked at a few different types and price ranges to provide a better array of options.

The Landing Resort and Spa offers pet-friendly rooms for guests with one dog of any size, which cost an extra $75 per night. Hotel Azure charges a fee of $25 per night for pets to stay with their owners, and allows up to two pets with no size restrictions.

The Blue Lake Inn charges a fee of $25 per night for one pet and $40 per night for two, and Basecamp Hotel allows guests with two dogs of no more than 50 pounds for a rate of $40 per pet per stay. The Lakeside Inn and Casino charges $40 per night, and allows one pet.

The Tea Garden Lodge, the Trailhead and the Stateline Economy Inn all charge $20 per pet, per night, and allow up to two pets. Finally, a pet-friendly Airbnb for two adults usually runs between $75-$150, total, per night.

Where to play

The Truckee and Lake Tahoe region has some great dog parks for your best friend to romp around in, including one in Tahoe Vista, one in Tahoe City, and one in South Lake Tahoe. But if you’re visiting this summer, chances are you and your pup are going to want to splash around in some water.

Skunk Harbor on Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore is an excellent place for humans and dogs to get their feet wet. It can be a little tough to find, with the unmarked turnouts serving as a trailhead for the 1.5-mile steep downhill walk. It’s worth it; just make sure you bring water and good shoes for walking.

Another great beach for dogs is the Thomas F. Regan Memorial Beach in South Lake Tahoe. This beach has lots of parking as well as a picnic area. It’s worth noting that only one side of the beach is for off-leash dogs, and the other is for children.

There are a number of unofficial dog beaches in the Lake Tahoe region, where people take their dogs off-leash even though it isn’t a space designated for dogs to run free. It is best to stick to the spaces designated for off-leash use, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area.

Where to hike

There is no better way to get some exercise and enjoy the Tahoe region than hiking with a dog. If you’re trekking solo, dogs can be good company because they don’t complain and are often just happy to be adventuring by your side. It’s important to make sure you’re prepared before you head out, however, because a dog may have different needs out on the trail.

For starters, it’s important to keep your dog on a leash while hiking, particularly in heavily crowded areas. Many people are uncomfortable around dogs for a variety of reasons, and may not expect to encounter an unleashed one while enjoying their hike. Dogs may also run off when they see wildlife, which can cause many other problems depending on what they chase, whether they harmed any land in the process and how fast or far away they ran.

It’s also important to bring plenty of water for both yourself and your dog, since it can get warm and dogs run at a higher body temperature than humans. Giardia is present in lakes and streams here, so it’s best to bring water or a filter for yourself and your dog.

You should also be aware of the surface you’re hiking on, since some of the trails around Lake Tahoe have sections of abrasive granite surfaces. There may be sections of trail that you’ll need to carry your dog over if it’s not wearing shoes, so be prepared — especially if your dog hasn’t done much hiking.

Once you’re ready to hit the trail, and your dog has its leash on and plenty of water packed, you’ll be pleased to know that within the Lake Tahoe Basin, you’re allowed to take your well-behaved dog almost anywhere.

Cruise up Eagle Rock on the West Shore for lovely views of Lake Tahoe without a ton of effort. If you’re in decent shape, the difficult 10-mile trip up Mt. Tallac is worth it for the stunning views of the Sierra. Eagle Lake is another simple, 1.8-mile trek that’s good for dogs and the whole family. Shirley Canyon, a difficult 4.1-mile trail out-and-back, is a good middle ground for dogs and their owners that want a little more difficulty without sacrificing an entire day.

Both the Truckee Marsh and Tallac Point are off-limits for dogs between March 15 and Oct. 1, but most other areas are open to visitors hiking with dogs provided they keep them on a leash and pick up after them.

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