Thanks to the abundance of national forests and state parks, there's a lot of natural lands to explore in the rural backcountry of California. Some of this adventuring will involve camping, and there's no better place to do that than Plasse's Resort, a lovely campground on the southern shore of Silver Lake in the Eldorado National Forest.
The resort is nice, but there's no nicer spot to get in a pawtastic hke than the Allen Camp Trail that is connected to the resort. Although the resort is only open in the summer months, there is free parking outside of the resort along the road to get to the trail. When you find the trail's beginning, you'll be met with a vast view of Silver Lake, surrounded by granite cliffs and tall alpine forests. The trail begins to start north and stays along the edge of Silver Lake for another a mile, traveling upwards and giving fantastic views of the granite cuts and boulders on the cliff. The trail turns east and after about 3/4's of a mile, you'll meet another lake called Granite Lake.
This lake is overshadowed by Thunder Mountain, a volcanic peak with white and green streaks from granite and forest patches. The trail continues to ascend the mountainous area, as you will pass by Douglas-firs, alpines, and spruce trees. The forest even gives some nice wildlife viewing of deer, elk, foxes, muskrats, mountain cats, and birds. The last lake you'll see is Hidden Lake, an elevated lake at 7750 feet, encased in a thick forest. The shores are sandy and rocky and make a good place to fish.
The trail finally turns west here and after a tall hill, begins descending down in elevation where it meets the Silver Fork American River, following it north until it returns to Plasse's Resort. This backcountry trail is perfect for lake and mountain viewing, with places to camp, fish, and bird watch with your pup.