Brockway Summit to Watson Lake is an appealing and accessible thirteen-mile round-trip day hike near Lake Tahoe. It follows the northwestern section of the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile dog-friendly trail that's an awesome option for canine-human hiker duos, whether the goal is a long through-hike or just to enjoy a day's worth of adventure.
The Brockway Summit trailhead off of North Lake Boulevard (also called North Shore Boulevard) is a simple dirt lot with a trail information kiosk. There are no bathrooms or other amenities here, so plan accordingly. Note that the popular hike to the Picnic Rock viewpoint follows the Tahoe Rim Trail for 1.5 miles north from the trailhead, while to get to Watson Lake, you'll need to head south from the trailhead for seven miles.
The hike begins in mixed coniferous forest where you and your pup will see and smell fir, pine, cedar, and aspen trees. You'll ascend steadily on your way to the lake, passing gentle streams and walking through meadows bursting with purple and gold wildflowers. There are spectacular views of Lake Tahoe at higher points where the tree cover thins out. This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail intersects with many other trails and Forest Service roads, so pay attention to avoid taking a wrong turn. It's a good idea to consult a trail map before heading out on your hike.
There are some steep climbs along this route, so you and your pup will probably be panting a bit by the time you reach Watson Lake. The lake is rather small and humble, but has its own magic, and is a serene place to rest and enjoy a picnic. There's also a campground here that's open from June through October if you want to stay overnight. Bathrooms and trash cans are available. It can be crowded in the peak season since it is directly accessible by car. Be sure to bring water and clean up bags for the journey.
On a hot summer day, though, it won't matter—a quick splash in the cool water is a great way for you and your pup to reward yourselves after all your hard work!