Home California Dog Friendly Hikes in San Francisco Bay Area: 6 Hiking Trails to Explore

Dog Friendly Hikes in San Francisco Bay Area: 6 Hiking Trails to Explore

written by ParoChak May 31, 2017

California, specially San Francisco Bay Area, has no dearth of hiking trails that allow dogs. Thanks to being parents to one, we have experienced many beautiful Bay Area hikes with dogs and I will be sharing some of our favorite dog friendly hikes in San Francisco and surroundings in this post. I hope pet parents or people visiting Northern California with their dogs will find this post on dog friendly hiking trails in Bay Area helpful as part of enjoying a new city with their canine companion. Please remember to be responsible on these bay area hikes with your dog. Obey posted signs and leash rules at all times and PLEASE pick up after your dog to keep these dog friendly hikes in the Bay Area enjoyable for everyone! Finally, a lot of dog friendly parks in San Francisco are also perfect venues that allow for dog friendly hikes, do check them out all in this blog post on dog friendly spots to visit in SF for valuable information on where to take your dog hiking in the city!

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Dog Friendly Hikes, San Francisco # 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 but Baker beach is nearby and is dog friendly) 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. There are many other trails for dog friendly hikes in San Francisco starting from the Presidio’s inspiration point. Simply walk down the steps next to the overlook and get on to the Ecology trail which criss crosses with several other trails as you hike onwards.

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Dog Friendly Hikes, Bay Area # 2: Inspiration Point, Orinda

Inspiration Point in Tilden Regional Park, Orinda (East Bay), 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 and is one of the most popular dog friendly hiking trails in the Bay Area. We visited the park on a hot summer afternoon (you do have to hike quite a bit under the open sun so be prepared) 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.

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Bay Area hikes with dogs # 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 hiking trails. The trail head starts from Cole Valley, a beautiful neighborhood in the southern part of the city. This is one of the most beautiful dog friendly hikes in San Francisco because not only is there so much greenery to greet you, but the canopy of trees provides that much needed shade for hiking! Here is an updated article on hiking at Mt. Sutro with more information on hiking trails that allow dogs and the trail head.

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Dog Friendly Hiking Trails, Bay Area # 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. It’s a short trail (about 1.1 miles) and is one of the most tranquil dog friendly hikes in the Bay Area. 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.

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bay area hikes with dogs, dog friendly hikes bay area, hiking trails that allow dogs, dog friendly hiking trails bay area, dog friendly hikes san francisco

Dog Friendly Hikes in the Bay Area # 5: Muir Beach Lookout

The Golden Gate national recreation 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. For example, dogs are not allowed in Muir Woods, the crazy popular Redwood grove near San Francisco. One exception, however, is the beautiful Muir beach lookout point which has fantastic views of the coastline and has dog friendly hiking trails in the Bay Area. Read my Muir Beach blog post for more details on our experience on our Bay Area hike with our dogs there.

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Dog Friendly Hiking spot # 6: Cataract and Cascade Falls

These two waterfalls are a short driving distance from San Francisco and have scenic dog friendly hiking trails leading to the falls. You can read all about these two beautiful dog friendly hiking trails in the Bay Area in my previous post which has information on trail heads, hiking trails and nearby places to grab a bite after your hike.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post and are already planning some epic Bay Area hikes with your dogs in the coming months. There are a lot of dog friendly hikes in San Francisco and beyond, so please do take some time to get your pup acquainted with the beauty of California’s outdoors!

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Best hiking trails in San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA is a great resource for hikers, nature lovers and dog parents because these are dog, pet friendly hiking trails. Featuring places in San Francisco Presidio, north of Golden Gate bridge at Muir beach lookout and many more places with spectacular views, this post is a must read for hikers and dog loversDog Friendly Hiking trails San Francisco Bay area

 

 

 

 

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17 comments

Debbie July 19, 2017 at 11:03 am

Those look like some awesome trails! I will definitely keep this post in mind if we make it out to the West coast with the pups.

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Michelle & The Paw Pack July 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Awesome post! We’ve never been to San Francisco but do love to hike with the dogs. I’ll have to bookmark this post in case we ever visit the area.

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Heather Wallace July 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Your post makes me miss the Bay Area so much! I’ve never been to San Francisco with a dog but I’ve enjoyed a few of these areas sans pets. Great information.

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Tenacious Little Terrier July 19, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Oh I want to visit so badly! Still seeing if we can make it work this summer/fall. Are the trails all on-leash?

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ParoChak July 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm

They are a mix of both actually,most dog parks have play areas where dogs can run around off leash.

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Beth July 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

I just went to San Francisco last fall and was amazed at how dog-friendly it is. I saw dogs in so many places, it was fantastic. It looks like it would be a wonderful place to explore with a dog.

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Ruth Epstein July 19, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Thanks for sharing our beautiful Bay Area as there are so many places and it is so dog friendly. I love that some of them are really close so that you can have a different option every day to do somewhere new which keeps us all fit all the time. Woof from Layla

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Sweet Purrfections July 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm

How nice to have many places to hike with your dogs! I visited San Francisco about 6 years ago and loved it! I was quite surprised how cold it was in August!

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Jana Rade July 19, 2017 at 11:53 pm

Jasmine lived for hiking. While Cookie is a hunter and doesn’t really need a lot of space as long as there are enough critters to pursue, Jasmine wanted to hike. We were lucky enough to have some good areas within reasonable driving distance to oblige.

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Rebecca at MattieDog July 20, 2017 at 12:06 am

Awesome trails – the Presidio is so gorgeous and our pups love that area! Great blog – I’m a new visitor, so will follow along!

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Sandy Kubillus July 20, 2017 at 12:22 am

About 14 years ago, I had my young springer spaniel with me when we visited relatives around the Bay area. I remember walking through Golden Gate Park and loved the views of the city – and of course the notoriously hilly streets! Although I don’t plan to visit the Bay area in the near future with my dogs, I definitely will keep your trails in mind for my next trip.

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The Daily Pip July 20, 2017 at 2:40 am

I LIVE IN CHICAGO BUT LOVE SAN FRANCISCO. I HAVE SOME FAMILY THERE AND VISIT ON A FAIRLY REGULAR BASIS – BUT NEVER WITH A DOG! MAYBE NEXT TIME I WILL BRING RUBY

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Shelby Gottschalk July 20, 2017 at 3:25 am

Beautiful photos! I’ve never been to San Fran but hope to go soon – now I know I can bring my pups. 😉

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Jeffrey July 20, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I’m planning a trip to SF, so these are great suggestions. Can’t wait to take my pup hiking!

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Shayla July 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

These trails look amazing, and the dogs look so happy! I love taking my dogs along for hikes!

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Jenna Hughson July 20, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Wow!! Gorgeous scenery, gorgeous pics!!

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Katie Allan July 20, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Beautiful trails! I would love to go hiking on the west coast with my dogs sometime. However, that might difficult since we live on the east coast!

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