California, specially the Bay area, is a haven for dog lovers with many parts of the its natural beauty being accessible to our four legged friends, i.e. presence of several dog friendly hiking spots. Thanks to being parents to one, we have experienced many beautiful hiking adventures, some of which I will be sharing today in this post. I hope pet parents or people visiting with dogs will find this post on dog friendly hiking helpful as part of enjoying a new city with their canine companion. Please remember to be responsible on these hikes, obey posted signs and leashing rules and pick up after your dog.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 1: The Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco’s green Presidio, once an army outpost, has many dog friendly hiking trails. You can hike along the famous Batteries to Bluffs trail that leads all the way up to Marshall’s beach from where you get a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge (dogs are not allowed on the beach) or simply enter from the Lyon street steps entrance and get onto the Mountain lake trail that will take you down a winding dirt trail right into the heart of the Presidio. You can stop to take in further gorgeous views of the cityscape or hike forward to a grove of arching trees and the further onto a beautifully paved way known as the Lover’s Lane.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 2: Inspiration Point, Orinda
Inspiration Point in Tilden Regional Park, Orinda, is the highest elevation in the park and is a hillock really from where you can get a beautiful view of the San Pablo reservoir snaking through the mountains. Inspiration point is located along the Wildcat Canyon road which is a paved road good for hiking. We visited the park on a hot summer afternoon but were quite taken aback by the gusty wind atop Inspiration Point. It is one nearly vertical climb to the top and you can either walk down the same path or hike down another winding trail that meets the main wildcat canyon road.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 3: Mt. Sutro Open Space Reserve, San Francisco
Mt. Sutro open space reserve is 80 acres of 100 yr old forest planted by Adolf Sutro, former mayor of San Francisco. 61 acres of this land is now maintained by UCSF and this lush green space has lots of dog friendly trails. The trail head starts from Cole Valley, a beautiful neighborhood in the southern part of the city.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 4: Dawn Falls Trail, Larkspur
Head over to Larkspur, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, 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. The falls are best visited in Spring when they are in full force after our winter rains. The trail is shaded by a dense canopy of trees and is of moderate difficulty.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 5: Muir Beach Lookout
The Golden Gate national recreational area is extremely strict when it comes to dog-friendly places in Marin headlands since most of these spots are conservation areas for wildlife, with dogs being natural predators. One exception is the beautiful Muir beach lookout point which has fantastic views of the coastline and has dog friendly hiking trails. Here is my blog post on our experience on hiking with our dogs there.
Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 6: Cataract and Cascade Falls
These two water falls are a short driving distance from San Francisco and have scenic dog friendly hiking trails leading to the falls. Read more about them in my blog post here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. For more dog-friendly hiking ideas, parks and beaches please read my “where can you take your dog in San Francisco” post here.
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