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8 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Northern California You Can Visit (2023 Guide)


May 30, 2023
woman hiking with a dog


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woman hiking with a dog

Dogs love spending time outdoors more than we do. They love interacting with nature, and if you afford them that opportunity, they’ll surely love you more. Northern California is richly diverse, and there are many options for an outdoor adventure.

There’s always something for everyone, whether you’re into adventurous climbs, exploring aging woodlands, or strolling along scenic shorelines. So, if you and your dog would like to have a taste of what the top side of the Golden State has to offer, go visit the following trails.


The Top 8 Dog-Friendly Hikes in Northern California

1. Wolf Ridge Trail

  • Great trail for joggers, hikers, and even cyclists
  • Usually gets busy in the morning
  • Not many trees to provide adequate shade
  • Scenic views of the city skyline
  • It’s connected to other trails
  • The trailheads are well-marked

2. Heart Lake Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Mineral, California
🕐 Open Times: 24/7, year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • Some areas are infested with bugs during summer
  • Winter visitors must have snowshoes
  • The trail is relatively short
  • The perfect time to visit is during the fall
  • It’s a fairly easy hiking trail

3. Mount Judah Loop Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Mount Judah, California
🕐 Open Times: 24/7, year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • One of the most challenging hiking trails
  • Offers no amenities
  • Dangerous during summer and winter due to intense heat and cold
  • Not ideal for inexperienced hikers
  • Not much shade

4. Kanaka Peak Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Kanaka Peak, California
🕐 Open Times: 24/7, year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • Offers a panoramic view of the mountainside
  • Not an easy hiking trail
  • Some areas are infested with ticks
  • Breathtaking views
  • Visitors must carry their own water

5. Black Butte Trail

  • Is home to mountain lions and black bears
  • Some areas are extremely steep
  • It usually gets muddy during spring
  • It’s well-maintained
  • Provides adequate shade for visitors
  • Ideal for inexperienced hikers

6. Lake Siskiyou Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Mt. Shasta, California
🕐 Open Times: 24/7, year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • It’s an easy trail to hike
  • The tree canopy provides adequate shade
  • Plenty of wildlife to see
  • Provides scenic views
  • Doesn’t get too busy

7. Mammoth Crest Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Mammoth Crest, California
🕐 Open Times: 24/7, year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Your dog must be leashed in high-traffic areas
  • Has wildlife such as bighorn sheep and black bears
  • Bad cell reception
  • Only ideal for athletic dogs
  • Not suitable for inexperienced hikers
  • Offers scenic views of the Alpine mountains

8. Potem Falls Trail

  • Delivers a scenic waterfall view
  • It’s an easy hiking trail
  • Most areas are shaded
  • It’s a relatively short trail
  • Great swimming area



California has always been at the top when it comes to the best hike-friendly states in the country. It has all the beautiful scenery you can imagine, and plenty of trails to cater to both experienced and inexperienced hikers. We’d encourage you to visit one of these trails with your dog if you’d like to forge a stronger bond and experience some awesome trails.

Featured Image Credit: Petra, Pixabay

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