When you think of California, you think of sun, sandy beaches, and the occasional mountain peak that is surrounded by forests and rocks, and even snow! The Snow Mountain Wilderness Area is one of these snowy places, and offers amazing, isolated views of the rural forests.
The wilderness area actually takes up over 60,076 acres of land, most of the southern forests of the Mendocino National Forest. With such a vast landscape, there's plenty of hikes and trails to take to make it to the peak. Actually, there are 37 miles of trails total, with an additional 18 of unmarked trails that explore even more. Elevations vary between under 2000 feet to over 7000 feet and with over 8 trailheads.
One of the most popular trailheads is Deafy Glade, which provides a nice shot up to the mountain peak. Hikers are required to sign up at the kiosk before hiking, and if you plan on camping and making a fire, you need a permit. Dogs do not need to sign up when they come along, nor do they need to be on a leash. The trailhead offers a 4000-foot elevation gain to the peak, where hikers can find others doing activities like snow-shoeing and skiing, mountain biking, and horseback riding up the trail, which can get a little cramped since most of the trails aren't that wide and made from compacted soil.
Another note-worthy trailhead and trail known as Summit Springs Trailhead to Snow Mountain Trail is a great place to spend some time with Fido. This trail follows along a balder spot on the mountain, where hikers can see open meadows with wildflowers in the summer and sounds of running water from Summit Springs Creek on the southern half of the trail. This trailhead also includes vault toilets, 3 campsites, and fire rings.
Although seeing the peak is the number one interest to most hikers visiting, the Stonyford Loop doesn't travel to the peak at all of Snow Mountain, but still has over 7,000 feet in elevation gains as it loops through the wilderness to explore wildlife habitats, spruce and fir forests, and wildflowers. This trail loops back to its beginning point, and offers, even more, to see in the gorgeous wilderness that makes up Snow Mountain.
High elevated routes, long distances that explore diverse habitats, and plenty of areas to camp and rest, this is the ultimate outdoor adventure for you and Fido, and the best part is its lack of popularity will give you and your pup plenty of alone time in the wilderness.