For anyone who has ever visited the Bay Area, Muir Woods will ring a bell for sure. Named after the famous American environmentalist John Muir, this beautiful redwood forest, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge is a perennial attraction and brings in throngs of tourists and locals alike to admire California’s redwoods. However that poses the collateral problem of zero availability of parking (the parking lots get filled up quickly) and the traffic gets so bad that there are signs posted way ahead requesting people to take the shuttle to the site. Lots of people also means less solitude, and therefore not quite of a “restful wilderness” as the great Mr. Muir would have liked. So what’s the alternative? If 7*7 magazine (covering all things Bay Area) is to be believed, head over to Larkspur, further north of Muir Woods, for a peaceful trip to wilderness in the lush and tranquil Baltimore Canyon. Although there are several trails crisscrossing this area, the most popular perhaps is the Dawn Falls trail to its namesake falls and back. Its a short trail (about 1.1 miles) and dog friendly. So with Babu and Tucker (our neighbor’s pet on a stay-cation with us), we did just that today!
Although its Halloween today, i.e. late fall everywhere (so say the decorations and crinkly on the ground), it was blazing hot in San Francisco and elsewhere today. Both 7*7 magazine and a helpful yelp review (Thank you Carolina S!) warned us of scarce parking (only 6 spaces in a small lot near the trailhead), so we decided to park as per the yelper’s suggestion near the “no outlet” sign (see pic above) on Madrone Avenue and walked further up to reach the trailhead of Dawn Falls trail (a short walk). The Dawn Falls trail head descends down to the canyon and that’s where our hike started. A grunting noise greeted us at the beginning of our hike when we spotted two bulldogs having a lot of fun splashing in the creek at the mouth of the Dawn Falls trail head, their mom cooing to them from the bank. The pooches were in no mood to get out of the water and so we said goodbye from the bridge above after clicking a few photos and moved on.
The two four legged kids clearly enjoyed walking and running (the running was mostly done by Babu who kept on falling behind since he took upon himself the sacred duty of sniffing every leaf and every stone that his nose could find) along Dawn Falls trail. Both boys where very well behaved and occasional stopped for treats and water (which we carried). The canyon is home to the Larkspur creek which comes to life after winter rains (so do the falls) and boasts of a dense canopy of moss covered tall trees. Th paths along Dawn falls trail are thus mostly shaded and provide a pleasant, cool weather to hikers.
As expected, the waterfall that greeted us at the end of our hike was merely a sliver of a stream (it apparently gushes down in full force in December) and so we hiked further up and then retraced our steps back to Dawn Falls trail head.
Post hike S took over the adult duties of cleaning dirty paws and feeding the hungry boys while I got us a lunch place with outdoor seating, yay! We had a delicious lunch at the outdoor patio at Picco’s, a pizzeria in downtown Larkspur, only a few minutes drive from the trailhead. Overall, a Halloween weekend well spent with tired pups and tired, but happy feet. If you are in the mood to explore more dog friendly adventures, consider reading my other posts here.