Correction on Dog Leash Rules
Dog are required to be on a leash on most Forest Service trails that lead into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Photo by Craig Romano.
Leash regulations for dogs on trails can be confusing. Especially in the I-90 corridor.
Case in point: we recently wrote a guide to leash regulations on Forest Service trails the April 2008 issue of Washington Trails, and also posted on the topic here.
Well, it turns out we were wrong. We said that "dogs must be on a leash
on all trails within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the I-90 corridor.
On trails outside of the wilderness along I-90 dogs should be under
strict voice control."
What this implies is that on trails leading into the Alpine Lakes, you don't need your dog on a leash. This is incorrect, as wilderness and trails ranger Bill Sobieralski pointed out to us. We were given the incorrect information by someone else at the Forest Service.
So what is the leash rule for Forest Service trails in the I-90 corridor? There's no easy way to summarize but a good rule of thumb is if the trail leads into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, you're generally required to have a dog on a leash. This includes most trails accessed along I-90 and on Highway 2 west of Stevens Pass. Leashes are aslo required on several popular trails in the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest. There are several exceptions to the above rules, including trails in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie area.
No wonder the Forest Service has a tough time enforcing these leash regulations. When in doubt, Sobieralski recommends you keep your dog on a leash at all times. Regulations are probably posted at each trailhead, but you never know.
Here is the complete list of trails leading into the Alpine Lakes where dogs are required to be on a leash. Also please note that dogs are required to be on a leash on trails in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (except for certain parts of the PCT).
Forest Service trails leading to the Alpine Lakes requiring dogs on a leash at all times:
Commonwealth Basin #1033
Denny Creek #1014
Granite Mountain #1016
High Lakes #1012
Kaleentan Lake #1010
Ira Spring #1038
Melakwa Lake #1011, 1009
Pacific Crest Trail #2000 (dogs must be on a leash from Snoqualmie Pass north to Kendall Katwalk, they may be taken off leash north of that point).
Pratt Lake #1007
Snow Lake #1013
Talapus Lake #1039
Thompson Lake #1009.01
West Fork Foss #1064
Necklace Valley #1062
Surprise Creek #1060
Tonga Ridge #1058
Lake Dorothy #1072
Box Canyon #1313
Lake Lillian #1314
You can be issued a citation for not having your dog on a leash on these trails. Again, when in doubt, it's probably best to keep your dog on a leash. Want a Forest Service website with those rules in one place? It doesn't really exist, sorry.
Note that trails to the south of I-90 do not require a dog on a leash since those trails do not enter wilderness.