Dog Friendly Backpacking Trips in the Sierras

Time to saddle up your pup and head to the Sierras for an unforgettable backcountry trip

1. Big Pine Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness

family of deer

This was my most favorite memory of this trail. A ginormous boulder, bigger than my living room, was gently placed at the foot of about fifteen Aspen trees, all growing around the rock in a circle. Sitting in the middle of this grove of trees felt alive and sacred, I hope to come back once again to this spot.

2. Jamison and Rock Lake

    • Trailhead begins: Grass Lake Trail within Plumas Eureaka State Park

    • Length: 7 miles

    • Elevation gain: 1,000 ft

3. Kennedy Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness

    • Trailhead begins: Kennedy Meadows Pack Station & Resort in the Stanislaus National Forest

    • Length: 16 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 2,000ft

    • Overnight permit needed

    • Highlight: White Bark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

4. Twin Lakes Trail to Island Lake in the Desolation Wilderness

    • Trailhead begins: Wrights Lake in the Eldorado National Forest

    • Length: 8 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 1,500ft

    • Overnight permit needed

    • Highlight: Abundant secluded lake access at Smith Lake, Boomerang Lakes, and Island Lake

Camping in marmot paradise and watching them lick up your pee for the minerals and salts


Sarcodes, or snowdrops, is a parasitic plant that obtains nutrients from fungi that are connected to nearby tree roots


5. Loch Leven Trail

    • Trailhead begins: Hampshire Rocks Road in the Tahoe National Forest

    • Length: 8 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 1,500 ft

    • No overnight permit needed

Don’t forget to Leave No Trace, read all regulations for the park you will be in, and check the weather forecast before setting off on your journey. Happy Trails!

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