San Francisco Bay Area is that perfect place to explore with a dog, thanks to the many dog friendly hiking trails that exist here. Of all the Bay Area hikes with dogs, the ones that deserve special mention are dog friendly hikes in Marin county. This part of SF Bay Area is north of Golden Gate bridge and encompasses cities such as Sausalito and Tiburon, which are not only very picturesque but have dog friendly beaches hikes leading to gorgeous views. One such hike with spectacular views of the Golden Gate bridge and the bay is the Tiburon ridge trail at the old St. Hilary’s open space preserve (in Tiburon) and is easily one of the best dog friendly hiking trails in the Bay Area. This is an easy short 1.1 mile hike and the preserve be accessed from several points as I will mention below. Do scroll down to read more about this dog friendly hike in Marin county!
Bay Area hikes with Dogs: Tiburon ridge trail
Old St. Hilary’s open space preserve is part of Marin county parks system and is home to the super rare Tiburon jewel flower. This land became accessible to the public in the 1990s and has trails leading to the top of the hill from where you can get majestic views of our famous Golden Gate bridge, Angel island (Angel island is not dog friendly) on one side and the city of San Francisco far away. Tiburon is easily accessible from San Francisco via short 25-30 minute drive and the open space reserve itself can be accessed from several points, one of which has a beautiful wooden chapel at its entrance.
Dog Friendly hikes in Marin County: Old St. Hilary’s open space reserve
It is a good idea to carbo load before you hike since you have to do quite a bit of steep uphill climbing to be rewarded with sweeping views. I recommend stopping by for breakfast at New Morning Cafe on Tiburon Boulevard before you start your hike. As I mentioned before, there are several trailheads at Old St. Hilary’s and the first time we went hiking, we headed on Lyford drive and stopped at Heathcliff drive to take in the sweeping views that the main trail head had to offer. We started hiking down from there, stopping often to savor in the beautiful scenery. It was a pretty windy day so despite all that huffing and puffing, we did not feel too hot. This is a completely open dog friendly hiking trail in Marin, as in there is no shade, and so you are best advised to come in early since it can get pretty hot in the afternoon. A hat and sunscreen are good to have for this hike since there is canopy of trees to provide shade.
Dog friendly hiking in Bay Area: trail head from Old St. Hilary’s Chapel
As I mentioned before, one of the entrances to the reserve has the Old St. Hilary’s Chapel looking down from a hill, on 201 Esperanza St. There is a trail from here that meets the Fishbits’ trail trailhead. You can either go on that trail or simply hike around the chapel for a good 30-40 minutes, like we did our second time around. The wooden chapel itself is a work of beauty and makes an excellent backdrop as you are hiking up.
Hiking with dogs in Tiburon: Know before you go
Although old St. Hilary’s open space reserve offers one of the best Bay Area hikes with dogs, there are a few things that you need to remember as you prepare to hike. First, stay on the trail at all times and do not pick any wildflowers. Second, come equipped with water and protection from the sun (hat/sunscreen/sunnies) since this is an open trail. Finally, please pick up after your dog as a responsible pet parent. The trail is steep and narrow in many parts and although we did not see that dogs have to be on leash, you need to carry a retractable six foot leash with you at all times.
I hope you enjoyed reading this short post on one of the most scenic dog friendly hikes in the Bay Area. This dog friendly hiking trail in Marin county is gorgeous and a must visit for hike lovers, with or without dogs! You can read more of my dog friendly hiking adventures in this dog friendly hikes to waterfalls post and six dog friendly hikes in San Francisco that you should not miss!