Adventures with Your Best Friend: Hiking With Dogs in Mammoth Lakes

The Eastern Sierra is a dog’s paradise—natural lakes, wide-open trails and plenty of woodsy smells. Whether you’re looking for an easy paved walk or a stunning mountain trek, there are plenty of options you and your pooch will love. Here are some tips from Scott Quirsfeld from the Eastside K9 Avalanche Rescue for hiking with your dog.

Leash Do’s and Don’ts

Leashes are required within the town limits of Mammoth Lakes but once outside, you can take your pet off leash as long as you maintain voice command. Just be sure to put your dog back on leash in highly populated areas like parking lots, trailheads, campsites and picnic areas. 
Your dog will love running through miles of trails but please be mindful that he or she does not disturb other hikers, dogs or wildlife in all of the excitement. And as always, leave no trace. Pickup after your dog and don’t leave the doggy bags on the trail

Best Hiking Trails for Dogs In and Around Mammoth Lakes

Town Loop

This easy, paved trail is a great place to go for a run with your dog. Since Town Loop is within the town limits of Mammoth Lakes, be sure to keep your dog on a leash.

The Borrow Pit

You’ll see plenty of dog lovers at this local favorite. It’s close to town and you can take your pet off leash to run and play. Keep in mind there is no water at the Borrow Pit, so be sure to bring enough to keep both you and your dog hydrated.

The Mammoth Lakes Basin

This oasis of towering pine forests, clear blue lakes and cascading mountain streams is a dog’s dream. Horseshoe Lake is an especially popular spot. The one-mile Horseshoe Lake Loop winds around the lake and many dogs enjoy running around on the beach and hopping in the water. From the Horseshoe Lake parking area, you can also access the McLeod Lake trailhead. This short but steep hike is another favorite for water-loving dogs who can cool off and take a swim in the lake’s pristine waters. 

McGee Creek

For a longer, more strenuous hike, McGee Pass Trail is a great option. There’s a nice creek you follow on your way up as well as numerous mountain lakes with ample opportunities for your dog to go swimming.

Practical Tips for Enjoying the Mountains with Your Dog

  • Make sure you have enough food and water for both you and your dog. Use your own thirst as a guide to also hydrate your pet (about every 15 to 30 minutes).
  • Be especially aware when trail running. Dogs can easily over-do themselves out on the trail and get exhausted.
  • Be aware of the wear and tear on your animal’s paws. You can use dog booties, but they can get hot in the summer, so look for booties specially made for summer hiking. Otherwise just pay attention to any cuts or injuries to their pads and be mindful not to run your dog through patches of jagged rocks.

Hiking isn’t the only activitiy to enjoy with your dog. Check out other pet-friendly activities in Mammoth Lakes.

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