The below section is a catalog of some of our older hiking adventures, which I have recently moved from the home page. You can find more detailed information on them under their individual pages. We will continue our travels and posting cool places along the way, so don't forget to follow us!
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April 28, 2018 Wavecrest Open Space This morning we headed down to Half Moon Bay and enjoyed our favorite walk along the coastline. This little-known open space is huge, at 206 acres, with connecting trails to nearby parks. There are trails in the center of the open space, as well as a trail which runs along the cliffs, with gorgeous ocean views.
April 8, 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Today we explored the lesser-traveled areas of this huge park. We started at the Garretson Point Staging Area parking lot off of Zhone way and Oakport Street. We took Garretson Point Trail to Damon Marsh Trail and walked along the beautiful shoreline almost to High Street. We ended at the Tidewater Aquatic Center which has a dock and small park. During our walk there were plenty of benches and picnic areas, and although we passed a few bikers, we only passed one other dog. This area of the park doesn't get a lot of traffic and these are great trails to enjoy a peaceful walk.
April 7, 2018 Dimond Canyon Park Today we had a beautiful hike after a break in the rain at Dimond Canyon Park. When we first entered, we noticed some "caution" signs mentioning hazard trail conditions, but the trails appeared to be fine during our visit. There has been a lot of work on the trails lately, so I think they're keeping up with the problems. For our hike, we started from the trailhead, where Bridgeview Drive dead-ends. We followed the main trail until you reach the "Bridgeview Trail" sign, and hike down to your left via the Old Cañon Trail. There are several switchbacks, and the trail slopes down into the canyon and follows along the creek. The creek was in full force after all the rain. This trail will take you to the El Centro Trailhead on El Centro Ave, but you can retrace your steps at any point. You can also hike back to Bridgeview trail and continue it to Monterey Blvd.
March 25, 2018 Bailey is doing a little better, but we're still trying to take it easy. I'm happy to say that she's no longer limping and has significantly more energy. I just don't want to push her too much. We went back to the Treasure Island Flea Market today. It's the prefect, easy stroll for Bailey, all flat with scenic views along the water. There were lots of food trucks and many of the same vendors from last month. We easily spent a few hours here and enjoyed the day.
March 9, 2018 Unfortunately Bailey has been having a rough time lately. She started limping, and was acting lethargic today so I took her to the vet. The vet said it's probably a sprain and maybe some arthritis. I was told to keep her inside (no stairs or hiking) for 2 weeks. She is on some pain medicine and hopefully she gets better soon so we can continue our adventures!
February 25, 2018 Treasure Island We spent Sunday on Treasure Island, enjoying our secret, secluded beach and the dog-friendly TreasureFest flea market. The flea market was bought out since our last visit, and luckily it's still dog-friendly and has free parking, but the entrance fee has gone up to $5 per person. The set-up seemed similar, with many vendors and even more food trucks, but the food trucks had been moved to the end, and there was a lot more seating available, which was an issue during our last visit. They had bean bag toss games available for free near the food trucks, and kids "rides" near the entrance. This is the perfect place to find a gift for someone who is hard to shop for, and you'll even find some vendors especially for dogs. Many of the vendors, and even some of the food trucks offered treats to Bailey, so she was very happy. On our way out we stopped at our secret beach, and although it was a nice, sunny day, we were the only ones there. We noticed that they changed the entrance to the parking area from posts to a gate, which was open when we arrived in the afternoon.
February 22, 2018 Joaquin Miller Park Sorry for the lack of posts, we've been quite busy (and I've had a cold)! I'll have some new content soon, but we just visited Joaquin Miller Park with friends, deviated from our usual route, and parked at the main parking lot. I've always avoided this parking lot because I assumed it was crowded, or there was a fee, but it's free and there's plenty of parking with 2 separate lots. For those of you who've followed me for a while, you know I don't recommend parking on Joaquin Miller Road because vehicles often get broken into, so I usually opt to park at the Redwood Bowl parking lot, but this other parking lot is much more convenient for the lower trails. From the parking lot, we hiked a few miles via the Sinawik Trail Loop, which took us down, past the historical Pyramid to Moses, the Funeral Pyre, and then we admired the panoramic bay views from the lookout point. The hike to the lookout point is mostly exposed to sunlight, but the remainder of the loop back is a beautiful shady trail that snakes through the redwoods.
January 22, 2018 Happy Birthday Bailey! - Upper Knowland Park We just discovered that a new trail was put in at Knowland Park. We come here frequently, so I was delightfully surprised to discover this new addition to one of my favorite hidden gems in Oakland. Knowland Park is split into two separate areas by a heavily wooded area in the center, so for this hike, you have to begin at one of the entrances off of Malcom Ave. You will walk straight ahead, past the fire gate, on a mostly flat trail, which will split again. Take the wide trail to the left, which slopes steeply downhill towards the fenced-off area of the Oakland Zoo. As you approach the bottom, you will see a "public trail" sign to your left. It has recently been mowed so you can follow the narrow trail uphill. Once you reach the top, you'll see another public trail sign pointing back the direction you came. Follow the wide dirt road towards the Oakland Zoo fence, and it will begin to slope downhill and to the left. There are beautiful, panoramic views of the Bay Area from this vantage point. Retrace your steps to the beginning of the trailhead sign, and you can continue downhill and to your left to join a connecting trail. Several trails will take you down to Golf Links Road, but you can turn back at anytime for a great workout with several steep climbs and a few miles roundtrip hike.
January 20, 2018 Fort Ord Dunes State Park We just explored this beautiful park in Monterey. I've noticed this park along the sand dunes from the highway several times, and always wondered how to get to it. It was quite an adventure to find the entrance, but I now have the detailed scoop for you guys. This used to be an old army base, and there are structures and bunkers throughout the park. Unfortunately the trails up and over the sand dunes are roped off for wildlife protection, but there's a scenic paved trail that runs along the dunes for miles.
January 19, 2018 Crab Cove/ Crown Memorial Beach/ Crown Harbor Sorry for the lack of recent posts- I'm just getting over the flu following a previous week of being sick. We just enjoyed a beautiful walk at Crab Cove in Alameda, and a friend showed us a very cool little-known connecting trail. We started at the main parking lot at the end of Otis Drive, and walked right towards the visitor's center. Past the visitor's center you will come to a metal gate (open sunrise to sunset), which will take you along the shore into the Crown Harbor neighborhood. This area is reminiscent of the trail on Bayfarm Island, with beautiful views of the water and homes overlooking the cove. This trail ends on Central Avenue at Crown Drive and is a great extension to the SF Bay Trail that leads through Crab Cove.
January 1, 2018 Happy New Year! Today we enjoyed a walk at Knowland Park in Oakland. We hope everyone has a wonderful start to 2018!
December 27, 2017 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Today we hiked one of our favorite trails in Sibley, which snakes down into the canyon. Usually there is water flowing along the creek, vibrant green moss everywhere, and even colorful mushrooms. It was still a nice hike but the lack of rain left a completely dry creek bed, so it wasn't as magical as usual. However, we had this trail completely to ourselves, despite it being so busy on the trails above. The hike back up was fairly steep and a great workout.
December 26, 2017 Happy Holidays! It has been a busy month for us! We've hiked a lot but unfortunately I haven't had time to post everything. Our last hikes were at Leona Heights, Redwood Regional and Heron Bay. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy New Year!
November 28, 2017 Redwood Regional Park This morning we enjoyed a quick hike at one of our favorite local parks. All the recent rain has made the trails even more beautiful and vibrant. We parked at Redwood Bowl and hiked over West Ridge Trail and down Madrone to Starflower Trail. Hiking down here in the canyon is one of my favorite peaceful escapes. The moss-covered trees and fern-lined trails makes this place magical. You can continue to hike along via connecting trails for miles, or even make a loop and come up Redwood Peak Trail to where you started. Today we decided to turn back at Starflower, which made for a perfect moderately strenuous approximately 2 mile hike.
November 23, 2017 Leona Heights Park Happy Thanksgiving! This morning we enjoyed a beautiful hike at one of our favorite spots in Oakland. Right now the creek is flowing and trails are lined with vibrant green moss, grass and ferns. We love this park for its natural beauty, wooden bridges and towering redwoods. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it!
November 11, 2017 Greenbelt Trails Today we hiked the Greenbelt Trails in Hayward, beginning from the parking lot at the Hayward Plunge, and we took Wally Wickander Memorial Trail to Ward Creek Trail, which took us above CSUEB to Old Highland Park, where we retraced our steps back. The entire hike was approximately 5.4 miles with a challenging 1,000ft of elevation gain. We hiked for a few hours today and only encountered one other person walking their dog on the trail. This is a beautiful little-known hike with a few odd stretches, such as the end of Wally Wickander Trail, which takes you on a narrow path between two houses and makes you feel like you're trespassing, until you reach the road which shows the trailhead. You have to cross the road to reach Ward Creek Trail, which snakes up several steep switchbacks to Old Highland Park. You have several options from that trail, either to continue along to Durham Way, or take a neighboring trail to East Avenue Park. The majority of our path was entirely shaded, and snaked along a flowing creek lined with ferns and moss-covered rock walls. Don't miss the bird cage full of colorful birds at the entrance to the park, right across from the Hayward Plunge!
November 8, 2017 Dimond Canyon Park Today we beat the rain and hiked in Dimond Canyon Park. This little-known park in Oakland is definitely underrated. It features a few different trails, from flat to moderately steep, depending on your energy level. It is almost entirely shaded, and has beautiful trails running along the creek and with towering redwoods. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend you explore this park. Currently, the upper entrance is under restoration, so new plants are being added, which add to the beauty of this spot. Lots of landscaping is underway, and a bench has even been added.
November 2, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park We are back in the bay and enjoyed a short, less than 2.5 mile hike in the beautiful Oakland hills. This hike is challenging in places, but worth it. The steep trails overall have about 500 feet of elevation gain, which is the perfect short but strenuous hike. During certain times of the year you will even pass a seasonal waterfall on the Fern Ravine Trail. For our hike we parked in the Redwood Bowl parking lot, crossed the street, and took the following loop: Castle Park Trail>Big Trees>Palos Colorados>Sunset>Fern Ravine>Sequoia Bayview>Castle Park Trail.
October 29, 2017 Greyhound Rock County Park We just enjoyed a beautiful beach day at a little-known beach in Daveport, just outside of Santa Cruz. This beach has miles of trails along the coast, with a large rock just offshore. This rock is climbable at low tide, and tide pools are also present. You may luck out and have this place all to yourself during your visit.
October 23, 2017 Pedro Point We just enjoyed one of our favorite little-known hikes! Bailey and Roxy were in costume. Although it's a steep hike up, you'll be rewarded with gorgeous ocean views and a secluded forest on the way back. We began our hike on the Bluff Trail and took the Arroyo Trail back to where we started. This was a beautiful loop with a lot of changes in scenery. We also avoided having to hike a lot of uphill on our way back by taking the Arroyo Trail. The Arroyo Trail is a completely unexpected change of scenery. It's a narrow trail that snakes down through pine trees and then a eucalyptus forest lined with ferns. I would definitely recommend checking it out. We also used our trail tracker to map this hike. Click below for more info.
October 21, 2017 Leona Heights Park Today we hiked Leona Heights in Oakland. In case you saw our photos and video and wondered where exactly we were, we started at the yellow fire gate and hiked up above the houses to the ridge, which has a beautiful view of the city. There is a steep side trail here that will hook up to the main trails, and take you down to the creek, but it's difficult to find. I would recommend hiking from the traditional trailhead, which is much easier, and I have detailed directions on a separate page (click link below).
October 13, 2017 Marina Park Over the weekend we visited Marina Park and had a beautiful walk along the shoreline. Bailey and Roxy took a break and posed for pictures in costumes, as promised. Unfortunately we haven't hiked all week, due to poor air quality because of the tragic fires. I have read reports that Oakland's air quality is the second worst in the nation, next to Napa. We've been limiting our outdoor exposure.
October 8, 2017 Wavecrest Open Space This 200+ acre hidden gem feels private, and is much more secluded than some of the other trails in Half Moon Bay. The trail along the bluffs yields sweeping ocean views as far up the coast as you can see. There is also an interesting grove of trees in the middle of the park, reminiscent of the cypress tree tunnel in Point Reyes.
October 7, 2017 Half Moon Bay! Bob's Vegetable Stand & Pumpkin Farm This weekend we went adventuring in Half Moon Bay. One of our stops was a pumpkin farm, where many of the pumpkins still grow on the vine. This spot is dog-friendly and is huge, so there's plenty of room for your dog to walk. It's much less crowded than some of the other pumpkin patches in Half Moon Bay, has reasonable prices, and is definitely worth checking out!
October 4, 2017 Redwood Regional Park The lion is back! Look for Bailey hiking in costume all October long. Today we hiked our favorite trails: Redwood Peak, French and Madrone starting from the parking lot at Redwood Bowl and taking the West Ridge Trail to the connecting trails. Bailey wore her Halloween costume and looked just like a lion in the jungle!
October 1, 2017 Knowland Park - New Trail! Today we discovered a new trail within Knowland Park, right about the entrance to the Oakland Zoo. This trail is very secluded, partially shaded, and mostly flat. There's a dip in the trail and then a short but steep uphill stretch following it near the beginning. The entire trail is only about a mile round trip, but there are nearby connections to the remainder of the park. Unfortunately we couldn't safely walk along the road to reach the other trails, but they're only a few minutes drive away.
September 24, 2017 Greenbelt Trails Today we discovered a new park with some beautiful trails in the Hayward hills. This trail system snakes down into the canyon and crosses along the creek via a system of bridges. The majority of the trails are shaded by towering oaks and eucalyptus trees, and vibrant green plants line the trail. During our Sunday afternoon 2 hour hike, we only encountered 1 other person on the trails. The trails are very clean, and they appear to be a well-kept secret!
September 13, 2017 Lake Temescal This morning we went on a short but beautiful hike around Lake Temescal. If you're looking for an easy walk or it's a hot day, stick to the lower, flat trail. But today we hiked it counter clockwise, and took the upper trail which yields views of the lake from above and winds through redwoods. This hike is only a little over 1 mile, with 105ft of elevation gain.
September 8, 2017 Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve Today we hiked Claremont Canyon and headed to the labyrinth. It's a great spot to take a break and enjoy a breathtaking view. This is found by taking an unmarked, unnamed fire trail about 200 ft off the main trail. There are several trails you can take to this spot, either hiking from the bottom, near the middle, or from the top at Frowning Ridge. Either way, you're going to have some steep hills to climb. We started at the pullout behind Claremont Canyon, for a short but steep hike. It wasn't super clear today, but we still enjoyed the views!
September 5, 2017 Redwood Regional Park & Anthony Chabot It's been so hot lately that we haven't done much hiking. We've gone on a couple short, shady hikes, but nothing I've posted. Bailey prefers to be inside in front of the A/C when it gets over 90 degrees, and so do I! This morning it was nice and cool, so we made up for our lack of recent long hikes by starting at the trailhead at Big Bear Staging Area. This trailhead gave us the option of hiking through Redwood Regional or Anthony Chabot, so we did both! Both hikes start off easy, but can be made as long or challenging as you like, by hiking deeper into each of the parks. Click below for info.
August 31, 2017 Frowning Ridge - Berkeley Fire Trails I just returned from vacation. Sorry for the lack of posts, but stay tuned for some awesome new dog-friendly spots! This morning we hiked the fire trails above Claremont Canyon. This little-known spot has panoramic views of the Bay Area and a perfectly placed bench where you can stop to take in the views. The entrance to this hike, as well as the trails, are all unmarked. On some maps I've seen it labeled "Frowning Ridge," although most people just refer to them as the Berkeley Fire Trails. Since there are so many fire trails in Berkeley, I've labeled this spot Frowning Ridge. We started our hike at the pullout across from the entrance to Tilden. From here you will hike up a short but steep hill. When you reach the top, take the trail to the right, which is briefly shaded by tall pine trees. When you come down the hill you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. Take the narrow trail in the middle, which will lead you down to a beautiful bench overlooking the bay. We had the trails all to ourselves today. Not a lot of people seem to know about this spot, although during the weekdays I've seen a few dog walkers on the upper trails. From the lookout point, we hiked up the hill to your right, which took us down a very steep trail into Claremont Canyon. You could also choose to hike down to your left, which will take you on additional fire trails and eventually lead you all the way down into Strawberry Canyon. If you choose to hike this soon, go early in the morning because it's starting to heat up! It as 85 degrees here at 11AM. Check out all the dog-friendly swim spots on my site for some ideas to beat the heat this weekend.
August 24, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park - Palos Colorados Trail Today we started our hike on the lower trails of Joaquin Miller Park, and noticed some trail improvements. The wooden "gate" at the entrance is now more open, and the old, shaky bridge has been removed. The beginning of the trail has been rerouted along the hillside and a beautiful new bridge has been added to cross the creek! This is a beautiful, much needed improvement, because the old bridge was sketchy, especially in the winter when the creek was in full force.
August 23, 2017 Fairmont Ridge We haven't hiked Fairmont Ridge in a while, and although most of the grass is no longer green, it's still a beautiful hike. We took the unmarked trails to the right, which curved around the hillside. There are great views of Lake Chabot from here. We then crossed the paved trail that runs through the park and hiked to the left of it, through a cattle gate and along the other hillside, which has panoramic views of the Bay Area.
August 19, 2017 Albany Bulb We just went to our favorite swim spot (not the dog beach at the entrance). It's a more private inlet cut off from the open water, so I love that I don't have to worry about Bailey swimming too far. We had this spot all to ourselves, as usual, which is nice. I even hooked up the GoPro on Bailey while she swam. Checkout our Instagram @HikesDogsLove for the video!
August 12-13, 2017 Heron Bay Trail Today we checked out a new trail - Heron Bay Trail, in San Leandro. This is a beautiful shoreline trail reminiscent of Oyster Bay. It starts off paved, but turns into a marsh and then a rocky trail along the coast. This turns into the Bay Trail, which you can take North to Marina Park. You can also take it South to the Hayward Regional Shoreline. It's usually a little cooler, since it's near the coast, which is a good option for a warm day. We actually went back the following day, and today was sunny. You could see all the way to SF, and I enjoyed the walk even more. However, this time I noticed that there are very strict parking signs near the entrance, as it's by permit for residents only. Look carefully at signage before you park, and click the link below to learn where to park before you go. Bailey and Roxy had a lot of fun, and we even used the GoPro some more. Stay tuned for videos!
August 7, 2017 Redwood Regional Park We've been fortunate to have a few foggy mornings in a row this week, which I think makes the scenery even more incredible for a hike! The upper trails are usually the ones draped in fog (part of West Ridge and Redwood Peak), but sometimes you'll luck out with an entire misty loop. I recommend starting at Redwood Bowl and doing our go-to loop: West Ridge>Redwood Peak>French>Madrone>West Ridge.
August 5, 2017 California Canoe & Kayak Today we went for a walk and then kayaked in Jack London Square. I was so excited to find out that this place is dog-friendly! They love dogs and are very accommodating. We had a huge selection of different types and sizes of kayaks, and even stand-up paddle boards. We saw quite a few dogs out on the water with their owners. You can paddle through the canal to the park street bridge, with views of SF and the container cranes at the Port of Oakland. You can even paddle around Coast Guard Island. We walked along the Shoreline Trail, which goes from Jack London past Coast Guard Island, and enjoyed watching other dogs in kayaks and on SUPs
August 4, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park Today we hiked another one of our favorite loops, which is almost entirely shaded, and relatively short and easy. This is a perfect hike for a hot summer day. You can park at Redwood Bowl or at the pullout across from it (off of Skyline) and we took the Big Trees>Sequoia-Bayview>Big Trees Trail. The entire hike is about 1.6 miles with 230 feet of elevation gain. You can easily extend this loop and make a more strenuous hike by adding Palos Colorados Trail or Sunset Trail. This is the first time I've been unable to get my Relive app to sync with my Strava app, so so far I was unable to create one of my usual trail map videos. I still have the trail stats using other apps.
August 1, 2017 Leona Heights Park This morning we hiked one of our favorite loops, a shady, fern-lined trail running along the creek and up to an open fire road with stunning views of the bay area. This hike can be made shorter, and you can keep it almost entirely shady, but it requires a couple difficult scrambles down very steep, unmarked trails which are difficult to find. I kept this loop on the main trails, because the route is easier to find. Unfortunately this park has very few trail markings and lots of small side trails. For our hike, we started at the entrance off of Mountain Blvd, and hiked up the creek via a series of wooden bridges. Stay on the main trail and cross the bridges; do not take any of the skinny side trails up to the right or left. You will come to a wooden plank crossing the creek in about a half mile. Cross the plank and you'll have to make a short scramble up between the boulders. This will continue snaking up along the creek. The trail will split after passing a series of boulders. Take the split to your right, which takes you up a a set of wooden stairs and onto a wide open fire road. Go right, heading downhill, on the fire road. Soon after, at about a mile in, the trail opens up and some of the shade disappears. You'll soon see a glimpse of bay views to your right. Continue down the main, wide dirt trail. Do not take the splits to the right or left. This trail snakes down via a series of switchbacks and yields panoramic views of the bay area. You'll pass a few downed trees, an old cattle cage and a water tower. The trail ends at a white fire gate at the top of McDonell Ave. Follow this road down to Mountain Blvd, make a right, and it will take you back to where you parked on Mountain Blvd in 2 blocks. The first mile or so of this hike is great for a hot day, because it's entirely shaded, but I would recommend turning back before the shade disappears if it's a very hot day. Although the wide, dirt fire trail on the way down has intermittent shade, it can get hot under your dog's paws. This entire hike was about 2.5 miles with 440ft of elevation gain.
One of my followers recommended new trail tracking apps, which I used again today and posted on Instagram. These apps are free, and you can combine them to create a gif or video of your hike, and even add photos which will show up at exact points along the route. I used "Strava" to track and synced it with "Relive," which created the gif. I found this to be a really cool feature, and probably something I will use frequently on Instagram. However, the apps take a while to sync, and Relive takes a couple hours to create the gif.
July 30, 2017 Berkeley Kite Festival Today we attended the annual kite festival for the first time, which was a lot of fun. It was held at Cesar Chavez Park, with the majority of the kites roped off in sections where the off-leash dog area usually is in the middle of the park. There were a ton of kites filling the sky, and even some rare ones. They had a huge dragon which was beautifully detailed, and we found out there were only 11 of these in the world, and only 3 in the U.S. Throughout the day there were a lot of events and contests, including synchronized kite flying, and judged flights set to music. There were several food stands set up, and I enjoyed the funnel cake topped with apples. There were also a lot of activities for kids, including a free paper kite making class, pony rides, a petting zoo, an inflated obstacle course full of slides, and giant balls floating on water that kids could run around in. Parking was $10 and we had to park on the other side of the park, which was about a 15 minute walk to where the kites were. However, we were pleasantly surprised because they also offered free, constant (dog-friendly!) shuttle service from the parking lot and back. Each of the shuttles had a handicap area in the back with seats folded up, so we sat in the last row and Bailey was able to sit on the floor in the back. The event started at 10am, so we arrived a little earlier to beat the crowds. Parking already appeared to be filling up at that point, and they recommended people utilize additional parking at Golden Gate Fields. This was a fun event, but I would recommend going early if you go next year.
July 29, 2017 Alameda Art & Wine Faire We just attended the City of Alameda's annual faire, which had lots of beer, wine, vendors, live music, kids activities and food. This was our first time, but I heard that it was much larger than last year, extending down Park Street from Encinal Ave to Lincoln Ave. Most of the restaurants along Park Street were also open, with many of them offering outdoor seating. Bailey had a lot of fun and received lots of attention from everyone who wanted to pet her. I ate fried mushrooms and a beautiful mango on a stick, sculpted into a flower. They also had very large sausage dogs, which I was told were delicious and had a huge wait in the afternoon. We arrived early, by 10AM, and found a decent amount of parking 2 blocks up Park Street and in the surrounding area. It also wasn't that crowded when we arrived, but when we left around 3PM it was difficult to walk through the crowds of people. As I always recommend, going early next day will make it a much more enjoyable experience.
July 29-30, 2017 Dog-Friendly Events in the Bay Area This weekend we’re checking out two dog-friendly events in the Bay Area, the Alameda Art & Wine Faire and the Berkeley Kite Festival.
The Alameda 33rd Annual Art & Wine Faire takes place on Park Street on Saturday & Sunday from 10AM-6PM. There will be over 300 art, craft, food and beverage vendors. Beverages include mimosas, local craft beer and wine. Food includes Lockeford Sausage, corndogs, gyros, roasted corn, fried calamari, and funnel cakes. They also have a kids’ zone and live music, with their schedule posted online. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed. There’s a dog water station in front of Alameda See Spot Run on Santa Clara Ave. I’ve heard this event gets crowded, so be prepared and only bring your dog if it is good with crowds.
The 32nd Annual Berkeley Kite Festival is at the Berkeley Marina, featuring live music, a kids’ zone, food, free kite lessons and kite making. There will be a 20,000 sq ft Giant Creature Kite Expo, Taiko Drummers, and a Japanese-Style Rokkaku Kite Battle for the Skies. This event gets crowded, and they are recommending parking at Golden Gate Fields and taking a shuttle. If you plan to bring your dog, go early to find close parking. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome. You can also enjoy a beautiful walk along the water and into the dog-friendly César Chávez Park.
July 27, 2017 Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we hiked our go-to shady hike on the lower trails of Anthony Chabot. These trails are almost entirely shaded, lined with vibrant green ferns and moss-covered trees. It's a beautiful hike, which is fairly easy but has a couple hills for a short workout. It's the perfect hike for a warm day or when you're feeling low-energy.
For our hike we parked at the Big Bear Staging Area (down Redwood Road), and enjoyed a mostly flat walk along the creek via MacDonald Trail. We walked past MacDonald Gate Staging Area and took the first right onto Bird Trail. MacDonald Gate now has a sign warning that coyotes have been spotted, so keep your dog on leash. Continuing along, this scenic trail that meanders around moss covered trees and if you take the first left at the trail split, it dips down along the creek via a series of planks and bridges. We looped back, past the MacDonald Parking area and took the trail split to the left, Big Bear Trail, which snakes up along the hillside and leads to a seasonal waterfall (during winter). It ends at the road, and you'll walk a short stretch along a wide shoulder takes you back to where you parked. Please note that sections of MacDonald Trail and Bird Trail are a little overgrown. We did not have a problem with it, but if you're concerned, wear long pants. The loop we hiked is approximately 1.2 miles with 250ft of elevation gain. It can easily be extended by continuing through Anthony Chabot (you can go all the way to the lake), or crossing the street where you parked and hiking into Redwood Regional via the Golden Spike Trail.
One of my followers recommended new trail tracking apps, which I used today. These apps are free, and you can combine them to create a gif or video of your hike, and even add photos which will show up at exact points along the route. I used "Strava" to track and synced it with "Relive," which created the gif. I found this to be a really cool feature, and probably something I will use frequently on Instagram. However, the apps take a while to sync, and Relive takes a long time to create the gif. I gave it about 10 minutes and then closed it and went back a couple hours later to see that it had finished.
July 23, 2017 Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline We just walked the beautiful trails along the shore in San Leandro. This park has had signage for over a year stating that it will have many improvements, including an off-leash dog area, a bike bike skills area, and a disc golf course. A few months ago, it looked like they were making progress on the disc golf course, but during this visit, it looked the same as a few months ago. I've heard a lot of rumors, so I reached out to the EBRPD. Here is what I was told: “Development of the disc golf course is underway. A lot of work is been completed to clear targeted vegetation, plant trees in strategic locations, complete grading, and build topography for the course. Unfortunately, the District does not have an anticipated completion date at this time. A staging area, which will include parking, restrooms, and picnic facilities was recommended [near the Bill Lockyer Bay Trail Bridge].” They are also adding a special event area. “The special event area could be used for a variety of events including District interpretive programming, concerts, weddings or other ceremonies, or corporate picnics. The Land Use Plan Amendment recommended that the area be mowed so the area could be used for these purposes. Utility connections for electricity and water would need to be installed to support special events. To date, the District has not focused on these utility improvements.”
I have heard rumors that they intended to use this area for the Oakland Airport. EBRPD confirmed that that is incorrect: “To my knowledge, the District does not intend for Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline to be used by the Oakland Airport. Multiple staging areas, which would include parking, were recommended in the Land Use Plan Amendment to provide facilities for visitors to the park. “
July 22, 2017 Redwood Regional Park - More Trail Stats! This morning we hiked one of our all time favorite loops. This loop is almost entirely shaded, includes some breathtaking trails, and can be hiked in about an hour (or faster if you're in great shape). I love that that loop takes you down into the beautiful valley and then back up, for a steep hike to the ridge. It's a short hike but a great workout. For this hike we parked at Robert's Redwood Bowl. Hiked up to Redwood Bowl, and took West Ridge>Redwood Peak>Starflower>Madrone>West Ridge. The hike is approximately 2.5 miles, with about 500ft of elevation gain.
July 21, 2017 SF Gate Feature! Bailey was just featured in an SF Gate article. A friend sent it to me and said she had to do a double take and figured out it was Bailey. I love seeing the smiling face of my little star.
July 20, 2017 Redwood Regional Park - New Trail States Feature! I'm excited to announce that I'll be rolling out a new feature: trail stats! I've wanted to add mileage and elevation to our favorite loops since I started the website, and I'm finally getting around to it. I list trails as "easy, moderate or strenuous," but I know this is subjective, so I'm excited to add more detail. Today we hiked in Redwood, from the ridge down into the valley. We started at the Trudeau Center, and took Serpentine Prarie>Dunn>Baccharis>West Ridge>Graham>Dunn Trail. This loop is about 3 miles and moderate, with several steep stretches. I will be experimenting with different trip trackers, and can't wait until I have these added to every page! One of the things that makes Redwood Regional a favorite is that there are so many trails, it's easy to extend or shorten a hike depending on how you feel.
July 18, 2017 Leona Heights Park Today we enjoyed a shady, creek side hike at one of our favorite local parks. We haven't been on many hikes lately because it's been so hot and I've been busy with new projects. This was the perfect hike to start back again, surrounded by towering redwoods and the soothing sounds of the flowing creek.
July 14, 2017 Bark at the Park Last night we attended the Oakland A's annual Bark at the Park ballgame at the Oakland Coliseum for the A's vs. Cleveland game. Tickets were $15 for humans and $6 for dogs, and all dogs were confined to the Plaza Reserved level. A portion of proceeds benefitted Dogs4Diabetics and the Annual Rescue Foundation (ARF). There was a dog costume and photo contest, so it was fun seeing all the adorable dogs dressed up. There were food trucks and even a dog surfing simulator in the parking lot for owners to try. We were also given a goody bag with an AvoDerm dog food sample, a chicken jerky treat, a foldable water bowl and doggy clean-up bags. This was our first year attending, and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the event, especially because I had heard that prior years events were better. I found it to be poorly organized, beginning from an extremely long check-in line with only 1 person checking everyone and their dogs in (even though we arrived 2 hours before the game, as we were told). We had to wait an hour for the dog parade on the field, where we were sent up and down the same sets of stairs and had to wait around multiple times. I also thought we would be able to walk the whole field, but we were only able to walk one short side. There were no concessions in the area we were confined, and it took staff a long time to figure out how to let us out to the food trucks since all the readmission areas were closed off to dogs. Also, the Plaza Reserved level seats are pretty awful. I could barely see the game, and there weren't any big screens viewable from our seats. It was really loud up there but difficult to hear the announcers, and the TV screens above us were never turned on. However, Bailey had a lot of fun. It was a fun novelty event, and I liked that some of the money went to a good cause.
July 8, 2017 Back at Our Secret Beach! We escaped another hot day by cooling off at our favorite new beach! It seems that only locals know about this place, so it's not crowded, it has calm waters and beautiful views of the Bay Bridge. You'll have to go to Treasure Island and be up for about a half a mile walk to find it, but it's definitely worth it! During this visit, we noticed that there were cars parked in the closed parking lot. It appeared that people had just driven around the poles closing off the lot, but I would still recommend parking down below near the park instead of risking a ticket or tow. I even went for a swim with Bailey and can vouch that the water is perfect here!
July 7, 2017 Oakland A's Annual Bark at the Park Next Friday Bailey and I will be attending the Oakland A's annual Bark at the Park ballgame. You're allowed to bring your well-behaved dog, to watch the A's vs. Cleveland game. Your dog must remain on leash, and you must bring paperwork showing proof of current vaccines. All dogs and their owners sit in Plaza Reserved level. Tickets are $15 for humans and $6 for dogs. The game is on Friday, July 14, at 7:05 PM. A portion of proceeds will benefit Dogs4Diabetics and the Annual Rescue Foundation (ARF). There will even be a dog costume and photo contest. Click the below link to register your dog and purchase tickets. Last day to purchase tickets is Sunday, July 9th.
July 4, 2017 Happy Fourth of July! Today we went on an early morning hike at Knowland Park, in the Oakland hills. Bailey's friend, Roxy, joined us. They had a lot of fun running around the hills near the zoo, and we only ran into a couple other dogs. Hopefully they're thoroughly exhausted and it will make fireworks a little easier. Remember to keep your dog indoors if it's scared of fireworks. Stay safe and have a fun holiday!
July 1, 2017 Antony Chabot Regional Park This morning we hiked the foggy upper trails of Anthony Chabot in Oakland. If you wake up early and see fog in the Oakland hills, I highly recommend heading up to either this park, Redwood Regional, Joaquin Miller, Sibley or Roberts Park. The trails are magical during the misty, morning fog, and it's definitely something you should experience for yourself!
June 29, 2017 The Great Lawn/ Avenue of the Palms A late post from our Treasure Island adventures. If you're heading out to the beach, this is definitely worth a stop for the views. This large park offers a huge lawn, a large dog park, and a trail across the street along the water with incredible views of the Bay Bridge, SF and even the Golden Gate Bridge (if it isn't too foggy). You can take this trail all the way to the Bay Bridge Trail, and eventually to the Toll Plaza in Oakland. This is also a great place to park to reach Clipper Cove Beach.
June 27, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park This morning we enjoyed a misty, foggy morning at JM Park. We were at the park until about 10AM, and it was still quite foggy at that time. Recently, we've had quite a few foggy summer mornings and JM, Redwood Regional and Robert's Park are all magical during these times. The towering redwoods and sunlight shining through the tree tops are surreal. For this morning's hike, we parked at Redwood Bowl and walked across the street. Big Trees and Sequoia-Bayview Trails make a great loop.
June 25, 2017 Another Secret Beach! We just found another secret beach, and this has easily become our favorite. It seems that only locals know about this place, so it's not crowded, it has calm waters and beautiful views of the Bay Bridge. You'll have to go to Treasure Island and be up for about a half a mile walk to find it, but it's definitely worth it!
June 24, 2017 Treasure Island Flea Market Today we checked out the dog-friendly flea market and explored Treasure Island. They have free, abundant parking and only a $3 entrance fee. If you sign up early, they might even send you free tickets. They had just about every kind of food truck imaginable. Their website said they had 25 food trucks, but it seemed liked they had a lot more. They also had a lot of great vegetarian options and even fresh breads and pastries. There were many vendors as well, selling everything from antiques to clothes to hand made furniture. This is a great place to find a gift for someone. There were plenty of clean Porta Potties with hand washing stations, and lost of tables and chairs where you could sit and enjoy the views of the bridge. There was even a dog-friendly photo booth in an antique looking restored trailer. For $5 you could take pictures, which they printed out and also emailed to you. Find What's Up Photos at the end of the flea market. Treasure Island actually has a lot of dog-friendly parks and even a beach! Stay tuned for new hikes later this week.
June 23, 3017 Marina Park Tonight we went for a sunset walk at Marina Park in San Leandro. This is a large park which circles around the marina and has beautiful views of the bay. We even checked out the dog park on the other side of the park. This is the largest dog park I've ever seen, with separate fenced in areas for both large and small dogs, and even several obstacle courses.
June 21, 2017 Please vote HikesDogsLove for Oakland Magazine's/ Bay Woof's Beast of the Bay! I'm excited to announce that my website is a finalist for 2 categories, "Best Dog-friendly Travel Website" and "Best Dog Blog." I'm up against the big dogs, so I'd really appreciate your help! Please click the link below to be redirected to Oakland Magazine's voting site. You can scroll down to the "Web" section or just search "HikesDogsLove" to find the two areas to vote. Voting for other categories is not required. You can vote from different IP addresses (mobile/ desktop). I have included 2 links below, as some have reported not being able to get through on the Oakland Magazine website. Thank you in advance!
June 19, 2017 Secret Beach! Today we stumbled upon a secret beach in Pacifica.Although it was 96 degrees in Oakland, it was only 66 degrees here. We also lucked out with no traffic either way, but saw the stopped traffic for everyone on their way to Half Moon Bay. The beach was clean, went on for miles, and we nearly had the place to ourselves. It's only a short walk down from the parking lot, which makes this the perfect beach to have a picnic on, because you can easily bring a cooler and a lot of gear. I believe this is part of Esplanade Beach; however, the main entrances to this beach have been closed due to erosion. We found an unmarked trailhead leading down to this beach, and throughout the day we saw a few off-leash dogs. Esplanade is one of the few off-leash beaches in Pacifica. Keep an eye on the currents before letting your dog off-leash, as it can change during different times of the year.
June 18, 2017 Mussel Rock Today we escaped the 90+ degree heat of Oakland and hiked around Mussel Rock Park in Daly City. It stayed in the high 60s or low 70s for the day, and was a welcome change from the heat wave. This park has beautiful views of the ocean, as well as the famous Mussel Rock, where you might even spot some seals. Beach access is tricky here, and I wouldn't recommend it with your dog, as it requires a steep scramble and boulder hopping. However, this is still a beautiful park with hiking trails along the bluffs, and plenty of picnic tables and benches where you can stop to take in the view.
June 16, 2017 Inspiration Point This morning we checked out Inspiration Point in Tilden. I've heard a lot about this trail, but this is the first time we've hiked it. There's a large parking lot at the trailhead (off of Wildcat Canyon Rd on the Orinda side). The trailhead has trash cans and pit toilets. This 2 mile, paved trail requires dogs to be on leash but is a great hike if you're looking for a fairly easy hike with some scenery. Soon after you start hiking, you'll spot 2 benches in a grass field to your left, with a great view overlooking the reservoirs. Further down you will pass a shady redwood grove and then the trail opens up to views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This trail is mostly exposed to sunlight and since it's paved, the asphalt gets especially hot under your dog's paws. Even in the morning, Bailey had a little difficulty during the last stretch back because the trail had become so hot. I would recommend only hiking this on a cool day, or in the morning with a max temperature of about 70 degrees. At 77 degrees, asphalt has a temperature of 125 degrees and is too hot under your dog's paws. If you're looking for a shady hike in Tilden, there are plenty, and the loop around Lake Anza is especially scenic and shady.
June 14, 2017 Dog-Friendly Swim Spots It's starting to heat up again! I don't let Bailey swim in just any creek or lake - it's too risky after the blue-green algae scare and all the incredibly sad dog deaths. Swimming in the bay is usually pretty safe, but our favorite spot is a little inlet we found. It's the equivalent of a massive pool or small lake, because it's blocked off from the open ocean by a wall of rocks. Bailey loves it because it's plenty deep, and a perfect place to play ball without losing it. I love it because I can let her swim until her heart is content without the worry of rouge waves, sharks, or her just swimming too far in general. The water here is also pretty clear, without the murky sediment of the nearby Point Isabel. I rarely see other people at this spot, probably because you have to walk a while to get there, and most people prefer to stick with the dog-friendly Buchanan Dog Beach, which is right next to the parking lot. To find this swimming hole, take the main (lower trail) along the water's edge, and stay to the left as it splits. You'll hug the edge of the Bulb as the rocky trail twists around, and you may cross some shallow water (depending on the tide). You'll also encounter some interesting urban art. You'll reach this spot as you continue ahead, and you can't miss it! You can also reach this spot by taking the main (center) trail towards the water, but since none of the trails are marked, it's harder to describe. To get back, you can retrace your steps, cut through the middle, or circle the island for a longer walk. Click below for more info on this spot. To find additional dog-friendly swim spots, click the drop down menu at the top of the page titled "map view" and look for the "waves" icon to find a spot near you.
June 11, 2017 Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park - Garin Regional Park We found a new entrance to Dry Creek today. We parked towards the end of Tamarack Drive in Union City (pay close attention to street signs because there is restricted street parking here - special weekday hours and no weekend parking for a couple blocks closest to the trailhead). We started our hike on a short stretch of open trail, where we spotted some interesting old farm equipment. This trail quickly changed to a shady, tree-lined trail running along the creek. We had to cross the creek at one point, but could mostly hop across the rocks, and then there were several bridges crossing the creek during the remainder of the hike. We ended up at a large pond, which was the perfect spot to rest on a bench and enjoy the view. We then walked to the main area of the park, looped around, and hiked up on the ridge. The trail we took had one moderately steep stretch, but wasn't too bad because it had some switchbacks. We hiked over a few hills and had panoramic views of the Bay Area, and could even see SF in the distance. The loop we took was Meyers Ranch to Dry Creek Trail, (to Jordon Pond), to High Ridge Loop Trail. We ended up hiking almost 4 miles, but the beginning was shaded and mostly flat, and the ridge trail didn't have any extreme steep stretches. Although we saw cattle in the distance, we did not encounter any. This was a beautiful hike, even in summer.
June 9, 2017 Redwood Regional Park We often luck out with a few foggy morning hikes during summer, but today was especially magical because it rained last night. The trails were covered in a thick layer of fog, even down in the canyon (which we've never experienced before). The upper trails are usually the only ones draped in fog (part of West Ridge and Redwood Peak), but it was incredible to have a mystical hike the entire way. We started at Redwood Bowl and did our go-to loop: West Ridge>Redwood Peak>French>Madrone>West Ridge.
June 8, 2017 Anthony Chabot Regional Park We had a wet morning, but the rain let up and this evening we went for a hike on the lower trails of Anthony Chabot, in Oakland. We parked at the Big Bear Staging Area (down Redwood Road), and enjoyed a mostly flat walk along the creek via MacDonald Trail. We walked past MacDonald Gate Staging Area and took the first right onto Bird Trail. This is a scenic trail that meanders around moss covered trees and then dips down along the creek via a series of planks and bridges. We looped back and took Big Bear Trail, which snakes up along the hillside and leads to a seasonal waterfall. We then continued down to Redwood Road, crossed the road via the crosswalk and continued our hike into Redwood Regional Park via the Golden Spike Trail. There are multiple options to continue hiking in either park for as long as you desire.
June 4, 2017 HikesDogsLove is fortunate enough to be collaborating with Jamie from @HikingGirlWithDog. If you're planning on traveling this summer, check out her hike recommendations below, plus plenty more on her website and Instagram.
Top 5 Dog-Friendly Summer Hikes in Southern California
Solstice Canyon in Malibu This easy 3-mile (RT) hike with an option to expand has ruins to explore along the way. Whenever you can, take the side dirt trails for less travelled paths and shade. They all eventually meet with the Solstice Canyon trail, which is mostly paved. This short hike is popular all year round and starts to get crowded by 10 AM. Trailhead: 34.037814, -118.747579 (copy/paste to your GPS app) Difficulty Rating: Easy - Moderate Best Time: Early morning Parking:Free, main and overflow lots Notable: Ruins, history, ocean view
Burkhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls The trailhead is located in the Buckhorn campground in the Angeles National Forest. Follow the sign for the Day Use Parking. This easy 3-mile (RT) hike to the Cooper Canyon waterfalls is partly shaded. A short steep decline to the waterfalls could be challenging if you have a knee issue. Hike along the creek and enjoy the cooler temperature at 6,296 ft. Trailhead: 34.347520, -117.911028 Difficulty Rating: Easy Best Time: All day Parking: California Adventure Pass ($5/daily) required Notable: Waterfalls, stream crossing, paved road to the campground is closed to cars during off season
Mt Islip in Angeles National Forest This 7.5-mile (RT) hike is one of our favorite hikes. First ⅔ of the trail is mostly shaded but the last mile to the peak is totally exposed. This out-and back trail gains 1,561 feet in 3.75 miles. Enjoy the unparalleled 360-degree view of the nearby peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains from the summit (8,250 ft) and the cooler temperature. Trailhead: 34.356975, -117.850516 Difficulty Rating: Moderate - Challenging Best Time: Early morning or late afternoon Parking: Islip Saddle lot; California Adventure Pass required Notable: View, ruin, switchbacks
Portuguese Bend Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes For many good reasons, Portuguese Bend is a popular hiking location in South Bay. With many trail options, whether you are a beginner or an avid hiker, you are sure to find a route that suits you and your pup. Download a trail map before you go. Most trails are shared by hikers, mountain bikes and horses so be sure to look out for them for everyone’s safety. Trails are well maintained. Trailhead: 33.757652, -118.367308 Difficulty Rating: Easy - Moderate Best Time: Sunset Parking:Free street parking Notable: Ocean view, no shade, seasonal wildflowers, rolling hills, popular trail and get crowded at a peak time
Vincent Gap to Mt Baden Powell This is a beautiful hike if you and your pup are up for the challenge. Starting at 6,626 feet with 2,726 feet of elevation gain in 4 miles (8 miles RT), this hike is not recommended for beginners. The single trek is predominantly shaded and due to high elevation, the air is cooler too. If you like switchbacks, this one is for you! Enjoy the stunning 360-degree view from the summit (9,406 ft) and take a photo with the flag. Trailhead: 34.373348, -117.752013 Difficulty Rating: Difficult Best Time: All day Parking: Vincent Gap lot; California Adventure Pass required Notable: View, switchbacks, hikers must be used to hiking in high elevation
About: HikingGirlWithDog.com is Southern California’s #1 source for comprehensive dog-friendly hiking guides and gear reviews. Their gear reviews can be also found at dogsthathike.com and hurtta247.com. Unless noted, you can be sure that all trail write-ups are dog-friendly. Jamie, the writer/photographer of the blog, is always looking for a new trail to explore with her fur baby Xena. The blog started casually as a place to store trail information but soon it became a place for her passion. Hiking Girl with Dog was featured in DogSync.com and received Feedspot’s Top 100 Hiking Blogs award last October and it continues to make the list. Jamie hopes her and Xena’s adventures inspire more people to get out and explore with their pups and experience the joy of the great outdoors.
June 3, 2017 Pints for Paws! On Saturday, from 2-5pm, we came out to drink beer and save animals! This was an awesome event with 80+ beers from over 20 local breweries. They even had several ciders, artisanal wine, local food trucks, vendors and live music. The best part is that 100% of proceeds went to Berkeley Humane. Leashed, well-behaved dogs were welcome so there were tons! Bailey and I spent the morning at Berkeley's Aquatic Park, and then walked to the event from there, so she was pretty tired upon arrival. When we got there, we were given a choice of 2 different beer glasses. Thanks to Yelp, we got to cut the huge line and go straight through VIP. There were so many beers and ciders to choose from, and they were all included in the ticket price. Most vendors gave 3oz pours, but several gave an entire glass. You could drink unlimited beer all day. We only paid for lunch from a food truck. They had Filipino, grilled cheese, Whole Foods, and even a pizza food truck with a real clay oven. They had two kiddie pools where the dogs could cool off, any many of the vendors offered treats and free doggy supplies.
May 29, 2017 Garin Regional Park Today we hiked the trails of Garin Regional Park, above CSU East Bay. We found a new entrance beginning in a cul-de-sac at the end of Ziele Creek Drive. The open trail quickly descended into a vibrant forest with a creek running along the trail. From Ziele Creek Trail, we hiked through the cattle gate and up on the ridge to the Vista Loop Trail where there were panoramic views of the bay area. Although we saw some cattle, they weren’t aggressive and kept their distance. This trail currently has some overgrowth but is undergoing trail maintenance. During our hike we saw a couple trees being removed that were obstructing the trail.
May 27, 2017 Redwood Regional Park This morning we were back at our favorite local park. We started at Redwood Bowl and did our go-to loop: West Ridge>Redwood Peak>French>Madrone>West Ridge. This hike is mostly shaded and the towering redwoods and vibrant green ferns make it a scenic hike the entire way. Also, the goats are back at Joaquin Miller Park! You might see them near Joaquin Miller's House on the way up JM Road.
May 26, 2017 Upper Knowland Park Today we went for a hike with Roxy at Upper Knowland Park. The zoo has been doing a lot of construction, and it appears that they flattened out the center of the park, but luckily they haven't fenced off any more off it. It was the perfect sunset hike because there are beautiful views of SF. It appeared that there were some new trails, but most of them were quite overgrown with weeds. Be careful here because some of the trails have tall, high grass, and it's already starting to dry out. Pretty soon it may be covered in foxtails, so keep an eye on your dog.
May 25, 2017 Leona Heights Park Leona finally got a new bridge! No more worrying about the shaky bridge that seemed to be missing another plank every time we visited. Last month we saw that it was under repair, and they quickly replaced the entire bridge. This is a wonderful summer hike, as the creek flows year-round and most of it is shaded, which is perfect on a hot day.
May 23, 2017 Lake Merritt We enjoyed a leisurely walk around Lake Merritt tonight with Bailey and her new friend, Roxy. It was nice to feel the temperature finally cooling off and was actually a bit chilly in the evening. This 3.4 mile walk around the lake was beautiful at sunset, and still incredible in the evening. We enjoyed a dog-friendly dinner at Holy Land restaurant on Lakeshore, and then headed back as it got dark. The lake was lit beautifully by a string of lights surrounding it, and a nearby building showed its towering reflection on the lake, lit by blue and golden yellow colors in support of the Warriors.
May 20, 2017 Dimond Canyon Park This morning we went for a shady hike on this hot day. Even at 10AM it was starting to heat up, so we were glad we picked this easy trail that kept us out of the direct sunlight. We were surprised to find a huge landslide on the main trail. You can still hike here, but the once-wide trail is now narrow right after the Old Canon Trail split. Unfortunately my mother is back in the hospital after being out for less than a week, so my posts will once again be sporadic for a while.
May 15, 2017 Vargas Plateau Regional Park re-opens! Today, this beautiful park in Fremont re-opened after being closed for 10 months due to a lawsuit. We attended the surprisingly quiet grand re-opening, and we were actually the first ones in the park. There were only two other vehicles in the parking lot when we arrived. When we left, there were only 5 vehicles in the parking lot. It seems that most people were unaware of the re-opening. It took over 23 years to open this park, and had to close only 2 months after it's grand opening last year due to a dispute with neighbors. This park has 1,249 acres of hillside trails and has incredible views of the Bay Area. Since its closure, EBRP has widened the one-lane road leading up to the park, which was a big issue upon opening. I felt much safer during the drive on the one-lane stretch than I did previously, but please drive slowly and carefully, especially around the bends in the road. There is still limited parking in the lot, so I recommend hiking on a weekday or very early on a weekend.
May 13, 2017
Hayward Regional Shoreline
This morning we enjoyed Bay views at the Hayward shoreline. This large open space has a cement and gravel trail hugging the shore, as well as a large, undeveloped open space with trails in the center. The center trails are on a slight incline, which yield panoramic views of the bay and surrounding hillside.
May 11, 2017 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Tonight we went on an evening hike after work at Sibley, home to Oakland's 10-million-year-old volcano, Round Top. The weather quickly changed as we approached the 1,763 ft peak. 10 minutes downhill, near Montclair in Oakland, there wasn't any fog in sight. When we reached the peak we could barely see the trail ahead, and the mist started sprinkling down on us. Even as we hiked down around Round Top Loop, we could not se the valley below. It was a beautiful, surreal hike. We saw a lot of large banana slugs, a few birds, and even two bunnies on the trail. We even checked out the labyrinth during our loop back. Right now, the gates stay open until 10PM and sunset isn't until 8PM. We were there until nearly 8PM and had plenty of light. There were only a handful of cars in the parking lot, and we only passed a few people on the trails, probably because most websites have the incorrect winter closure hours which show a 6PM closure. This is great evening hike with plenty of trails to choose from.
May 6, 2017 Lafayette Community Park Today we explored the trails surrounding the 68-acre Lafayette Community Park. These little-known trails are peaceful, and there are shady "nature trails" as well as hilltop trails with views of the surrounding rolling hills. One of the trails follows Las Trampas Creek, and if you're lucky you may even find the waterfall! And good news, my mother is finally out of the hospital today after over a month! I will still be busy helping out for a while, but should finally have more time for hikes!
May 1, 2017 Dimond Canyon Park Today we went for a shady hike along the creek. We chose to start our hike at the lower entrance at the El Centro Trailhead (off of El Centro Ave), near the Rec Center. This trail is mostly flat and runs entirely along the creek. Most of the trail is shaded by towering trees and hanging ivy. There are several upper trails and loops you can take, but just be careful when crossing the creek. You'll need to cross to get to the Old Canon Trail, but there's a board you can use that will keep you out of the water so long as there hasn't been a huge rainstorm recently. We noticed one sign on a tree (that we nearly missed) warning people to stay out of the water because it may contain raw sewage (eek!). I'm not sure how old this sign is, but I wouldn't take any chances and you should keep your dog out of the water.
April 29, 2017 Redwood Regional Park Today we went on a quick morning hike at our favorite park. At 9AM, it was already starting to get hot, so we opted for a shady hike. We started our hike at Moon Gate (pullout parking off of Skyline Blvd), and we took the West Ridge Trail down to Tres Sendas, over French Trail, and back up to West Ridge. The entire hike was only about 2 miles, most of it was shady (except for the intial short stretch of West Ridge), and although there was some incline on the way up, it wasn't too bad, and was much easier than going up Madrone or Redwood Peak trails. This is a beautiful hike that runs down along the creek and into the canyon. The trails are a vibrant green, lined with ferns and towering redwoods.
April 26, 2017 Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we hiked the upper trails of Anthony Chabot. These wide dirt trails offer views of the canyon and surrounding hills. There's also a cool hidden bench you can find that overlooks the valley. Take MacDonald Trail, stay to your right at the split, and then look for the shaded Brittleleaf Trail that will be on your left.
April 25, 2017 Redwood Regional Park I apologize for the lack of posts. My mother is still in the hospital, but fortunately she is improving. We haven't had much time to hike, but hope to be back at our regular hikes soon. Today we hiked the lower trials of Redwood Regional. We parked at the Big Bear Staging Area, crossed the street, and started on Golden Spike Trail along the creek. The first short stretch up the hill was very muddy, and my boot actually got stuck in the mud in one section. Bailey had no trouble though, and had fun running up the hill in the mud. Once we got past that stretch, the remainder of the trail was fine. We hiked over both the right and left sections of Golden Spike, and eventually to Toyon Trail as well. A lot of these lower trails are mostly shaded and run along the creek. Right now they're also lined with beautiful wildflowers. These trails are usually much less crowded than the upper trails, so it's a great option on a busy weekend. You can also hike the lower, shady trails of Anthony Chabot from here.
April 16, 2017 Happy Easter! We hope everyone has a wonderful Easter! I chose the scenic backdrop of Dimond Canyon Park's Bridgeview Trail, on the Monterey Blvd side, for Bailey's Easter pictures. The creek is still flowing quite nicely, and you can't beat the views in the shady canyon.
April 14, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park Today we took a short break to enjoy the beautiful bay views on this clear day. We started at the little-known trailhead off of Woodside Glen Ct. A short hike up through the steep but shady Sinawik Trail took us to the lookout point, with beautiful views of the bay. If you continue up the paved trail, you will find 3 structures still standing built by the poet Joaquin Miller. One is the Pyramid to Moses, built in 1892, which symbolizes his belief in the 10 commandments. Another is the Funeral Pyre, where he hoped to be cremated. You can also find the Browning Monument, built in 1904 to honor his fellow poet friends. We took the shady Sinawik Loop trail back down to where we started.
April 12, 2017 Redwood Regional Park Today we took a short break and went for a run at our faorite local park. We started our hike from the Trudeau Center and took the Serpentine Prairie Trail down to Dunn and to Golden Spike Trail. The trails are still a vibrant green and the hillside is dotted with wildflowers.
April 9, 2017 I apologize for the lack of recent posts. My mother was rushed to the ER on Tuesday, she has had two surgeries, and is currently in the ICU. I've pretty much been living at the hospital, so unfortunately we haven't had much time for hiking. I hope you can bear with me until I can get back at it. Please take the time to explore my website. There are over 150 adventures on here to check out!
April 3, 2017 Leona Heights Park - Oakland We just hiked one of our favorite local parks and were pleasantly surprised to find that the first bridge is finally being repaired! We've watched it dilapidate over the years, most recently losing one, and then both railings and even a plank. Our recent hikes there have been a little sketchy, so we're glad to see it's being fixed. Unfortunately you can't cross it right now, but if you walk to the right of the bridge, you'll see people have created their own trail up the hill and across from the creek. You can easily cross the creek by rock hopping right now, because it isn't too deep- just be careful! We enjoyed a beautiful hike along the creek, a snack on a huge boulder in the middle of the creek, and then we went up on the hillside for views of the bay area. On our way down, we took a side trail to the right that took us through some concrete remnants of a building, now decorated with beautiful street art, and even a small rock climbing wall. This trail led us down a few steep stretches to the yellow fire gate which is only a short distance from the initial entrance to the park.
April 2, 2017 Frowning Ridge - Berkeley Fire Trails We just hiked the fire trails above Claremont Canyon. This little-known spot has panoramic views of the Bay Area and a perfectly placed bench where you can stop to take in the views. The entrance to this hike, as well as the trails, are all unmarked. On some maps I've seen it labeled "Frowning Ridge," although most people just refer to them as the Berkeley Fire Trails. Since there are so many fire trails in Berkeley, I've labeled this spot Frowning Ridge. We started our hike at the pullout across from the entrance to Tilden. From here you will hike up a short but steep hill. When you reach the top, take the trail to the right, which is briefly shaded by tall pine trees. When you come down the hill you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. Take the narrow trail in the middle, which will lead you down to a beautiful bench overlooking the bay. We practically had the trails all to ourselves. Not a lot of people seem to know about this spot, although during the weekdays I've seen a few dog walkers on the upper trails. From the lookout point, we hiked up the hill to your right, which took us down a very steep trail into Claremont Canyon. You could also choose to hike down to your left, which will take you on additional fire trails and eventually lead you all the way down into Strawberry Canyon.
April 1, 2017 The Labyrinth -Claremont Canyon Today we hiked Claremont Canyon. We were there by 8 AM and encountered only a few people. I wanted to take advantage of the great weather, and I knew there would be great views of the bay because it's so clear today. We headed to the labyrinth. It's a great spot to take a break and enjoy a breathtaking view. See below screenshot I took from Google Maps for exact location. This is found by taking an unmarked, unnamed fire trail about 200 ft off the main trail. There are several trails you can take to this spot, either hiking from the bottom, near the middle, or from the top at Frowning Ridge. Either way, you're going to have some steep hills to climb. We started at Frowning Ridge and it was a steep hike back, but worth the beautiful views that lasted nearly the entire hike.
March 26, 2017 Cataract Falls! This morning we hiked Cataract Falls. This is a gorgeous hike through vibrant moss-covered trails with pools of water and a huge cascading waterfall throughout most of the hike. I recommend getting an early start because this is a popular one! Due to closure of Fairfax-Bolinas Rd, we had to start at the upper trail head, and hike down, and then back up. The total hike was about 9 miles. It's steep in some stretches and there's a lot of stairs, but it's definitely worth the workout!
March 19, 2017 Ring Mountain We just hiked the beautiful Ring Mountain in Corte Madera. This beautiful 367-acre open space has stunning 360-degree views, including Mount Tam, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Tiburon, and even SF. It currently has vibrant green rolling hills dotted with wildflowers, including the Tiburon Mariposa Lily, which is found nowhere else on earth. There's an abundance of interesting rock formations throughout the preserve. You and your dog can even scale the huge Turtle Rock, which yields stunning views of the SF side of the mountain.
March 17, 2017 Happy St. Patrick's Day! This morning we hiked the beautiful Leona Heights Park in Oakland. The creek was flowing and there were several small waterfalls along the hike. Since our last visit a couple weeks ago, the first bridge has continued to dilapidate, and is now missing both side rails, as well as a plank of wood in the middle. Be especially cautious crossing, and make sure your dog doesn't get its paw stuck in the hole. There has been some trail maintenance performed, so the fallen trees are easier to cross.
March 13, 2017 Sugarloaf Open Space We just hiked Sugarloaf Open Space from the Youngs Valley Road side. This park has beautiful views of the surrounding hills, as well as a lot of history. Unfortunately they had signs posted stating that cattle have returned to the park, and they are using electric fences to keep them in certain areas. The length of the Ridge Top Trail now has an electric fence, and although it has explicit warning signs posted along it, it could be dangerous. I'm not sure if cattle will be removed later in the year, but for now, please exercise extreme caution if hiking that trail. Keep your dog on leash, and don't chance it if your dog is unruly.
March 12, 2017 Sycamore Valley Open Space Preserve Today we are hiked a new park! It is actually two separate parks, with about 6 miles of combined trails but no connecting trails in between. The Sherburne Hills Unit is 328 acres of grassland, while the Short Ridge Unit is 361 acres of hilly grassland with large oak trees, scattered ponds, and a creek. Hiking to the ridge is worth the views!
March 9, 2017 Redwood Regional Park We had a beautiful, foggy hike at our favorite local park! The creek was flowing and it made for a hike that was even more magical than usual. We hiked our go-to loop of Redwood Peak, French and Madrone Trails. Check it out and you'll realize why it never gets old!
March 6, 2017 Caves! For some reason, I thought we had already explored this park, but it turned out to be an exciting new adventure. Las Trampas Regional Wilderness is enormous- at over 5,300 acres- and it has a lot to offer. There are incredible panoramic views of the Bay Area at 1,800ft, but it requires you to hike some challenging ridge top trails. We also found some wind caves on the hillside, which were an interesting sight to explore. But to be candid, this hike isn't for the faint of heart. Getting to the main set of caves was strenuous, and required a sketchy scramble to the top. However, you can still view them from below and even follow the trail as it climbs up and over a few small caves and descends to the valley below. Our hike was over 6 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain, so be prepared for a workout! Several miles of hiking only covered a small area of this park, so we will definitely be back to explore more.
March 5, 2017 Shell Ridge Open Space We just hiked Shell Ridge from the opposite side that we hiked before. It's so lush and green right now, with plenty of hillside trails offering great views. This is Walnut Creek's largest open space, at over 1,400-acres with 31 miles of trails. For our hike, we parked at the Borges Ranch Staging Area. You will have to walk through Bob's Pond/Hanna Grove, where dogs are required to be on-leash, but it's a very short stretch. You will come to a cattle gate in about a tenth of a mile, which enters Shell Ridge Open Space, where your dogs are allowed off-leash. We took Costanoan Trail up, which provides beautiful views of the hills behind you. We hiked around the Ridge Trail, which has brief views of the city and panoramic views of the rolling hills. You can loop back via a number of trails depending on how long you'd like to hike.
March 4, 2017 Diablo Foothills Regional Park Today we escaped the rain in Oakland and headed to Walnut Creek. We started at the Orchard Staging Area off of Castle Rock Road. It sprinkled briefly and only the initial hike up was muddy. We hiked up to the Shell Ridge Trail and over to the Diablo Scenic Trail. The hike to the top was a short but very steep section, which I highly recommend for the incredible views of the rolling hills at the top. We encountered a few cattle, but they were far enough away from the trail that they didn’t seem to mind us. We intended to hike down to the Borges Ranch Trail and into Shell Ridge, but unfortunately cattle were congregating near the staging area so we didn’t chance hiking down into it. We were able to make a loop back to where we started, although there was quite a bit of storm damage on the trail on our way back down.
March 3, 2017 Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area Following our hikes in Hayward, we decided to hike Cull Canyon in nearby Castro Valley. This is an easy hike with connecting trails into nearby parks. The trails were a little muddy in some stretches, and unfortunately the lake appears to have mostly been drained, but it's still a beautiful park. I did some research and it looks like the lake has been drained because of a seismically unsafe dam. There's still a stretch of water remaining, which looks more like a river, with plenty of ducks and geese enjoying what's left. On the other side, near the parking lot, the creek is flowing and you'll get wet crossing.
March 2, 2017 Five Canyons Open Space Preserve We just hiked Five Canyons, a huge, little-known park with diverse trails. You can hike the rolling hills with panoramic views of the bay, or down in the shaded canyon along the creek. Today the creek was flowing and there were lots of mini waterfalls. Newt Pond Trail and Shady Canyon Trail run along the creek and are definitely worth checking out. You can easily extend your hike (and see a waterfall) by hiking down into the nearby Don Castro Regional Recreation Area (see below), via the Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail.
February 28, 2017 Don Castro Regional Recreation Area Today we hiked this 100-acre park in Hayward, which has miles of hiking trails around the lake, and even a waterfall from the overflow of San Lorenzo Creek. The creek is in full force right now, and the trails are a vibrant, beautiful green. You can also easily connect to the nearby Five Canyons Open Space to extend your hike.
February 25, 2017 Joaquin Miller Park I'm still sick (I've been sick for over a week with pneumonia), but I'm slowly getting better and trying to hike. I hope to be back to my normal hikes soon. Today we hiked the lower, less crowded trails of Joaquin Miller Park. We started on the Palos Colorados Trail. We love this trail because it runs along the creek, which makes for a very scenic hike. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the plank at the entrance (that runs across the creek) has been replaced with an actual bridge. About a quarter mile up a large tree fell, which has left a deep hole in the narrow trail. It's still passable, but make sure to be extra careful. Keep your dog on leash and don't attempt it if you feel unsafe. You can always retrace your steps back to the entrance, cross the street, take the tunnel under the freeway, and you'll be at the entrance to Dimond Canyon Park where you can continue your hike.
February 19, 2017 Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we put on our rain boots and went for a beautiful hike on the Oakland side of the lower trails of Anthony Chabot Regional Park. I've had a bad cold for the past few days, so I wanted to start with an easy hike to judge how I was feeling. We parked at the Big Bear Staging Area (down Redwood Road), and enjoyed a mostly flat walk along the creek via MacDonald Trail. We walked past MacDonald Gate Staging Area and took the first right onto Bird Trail. This is a scenic trail that meanders around moss covered trees and then dips down along the creek via a series of planks and bridges. I was feeling decent at this point so we looped back and took Big Bear Trail, which snakes up along the hillside and leads to a seasonal waterfall that was in full force right now. We then continued down to Redwood Road, crossed the road via the crosswalk and continued our hike into Redwood Regional Park via the Golden Spike Trail. There are multiple options to continue hiking in either park for as long as you desire.
February 15, 2017 Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park Yesterday we hiked this beautiful 4,700-acre park in Hayward. This expansive park offers trails to multiple peaks at nearly 1,000 ft and panoramic views of the bay below. The rolling hills are beautiful in winter and spring, and although cattle roam the park, we only encountered a few and it was easy to find alternate trails around them. During our hike we chose to hike the Vista Peak Loop trail, to the peak at 934ft. The trail from the parking lot started off along a creek, and then quickly snaked up along the hillside. We took the trail to the left on the way up, and hiked down the other side. The other side was quite muddy, and we had to hike up above the actual trail to avoid slipping. There was so much mud and water on the trail that we actually saw frogs hopping along the trail. Although most of the trails are open and exposed to sunlight, there are a few shady stretches and places to take a break in the shade.
February 14, 2017 Leona Heights Park - Happy Valentine's Day! We enjoyed a beautiful hike along the creek, which was the perfect setting for a few cute Valentine's Day pictures. Be extra careful, as the trail has a lot of recent storm damage. The first bridge you'll cross upon entry has become quite a bit shakier, and is also missing a hand rail. Two large trees have fallen across the trail further up, which appears to be due to erosion from the recent rain. You can still hike the trail, but it's tricky in some parts, especially transversing the fallen trees where there are slippery, muddy stretches of trail. Make sure to keep your dog on leash to prevent any injuries.
February 12, 2017 Berkeley Today we hiked some of the gorgeous trails in the Berkeley hills. This little-known spot has panoramic views of the Bay Area and a perfectly placed bench where you can stop to take in the views. The entrance to this hike, as well as the trails, are all unmarked. On some maps I've seen it labeled "Frowning Ridge," although most people just refer to them as the Berkeley Fire Trails. Since there are so many fire trails in Berkeley, I've labeled this spot Frowning Ridge. We started our hike at the pullout across from the entrance to Tilden. From here you will hike up a short but steep hill. When you reach the top, take the trail to the right, which is briefly shaded by tall pine trees. When you come down the hill you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. Take the narrow trail in the middle, which will lead you down to a beautiful bench overlooking the bay. This morning we practically had the trails all to ourselves. Not a lot of people seem to know about this spot, although during the weekdays I've seen a few dog walkers on the upper trails. From the lookout point, you can turn around and hike up the hill to your right, which will take you into Claremont Canyon. You could also choose to hike down to your left, which will take you on additional fire trails and eventually lead you all the way down into Strawberry Canyon.
February 11, 2017 Five Canyons Open Space Preserve Today we enjoyed a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, and views for days. This little-known park offers panoramic views of the bay, green, grassy hillsides where your dog can romp, and even shady trails along the creek.
February 6, 2017 Redwood Regional Park Today we lucked out because the fog never wore off, so we had a magical evening hike at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. We started our hike from the parking lot at Redwood Bowl, hiked down into Robert's Park, and then back to Redwood. We checked out Redwood Peak and Madrone trails, which we've found to be the most majestic during the fog.
February 5, 2017 Dublin Hills Regional Park Today we enjoyed a beautiful break in the rain and had trails practically to ourselves, thanks to the Super Bowl. The rolling green hills, and views from the valley all the way to SF made for a perfect hike. We explored some peaks and the steep trails were worth it for the views. We checked out a pond and saw newts and frogs. Although we saw signs of cattle, we did not encounter any. However, we did see 4 coyotes on the Donlon Loop Trail. They saw us, paused briefly, and then went back to wandering. Luckily they had no interest in us, but keep your eye out for coyotes here!
February 2, 2017 Redwood Regional Park We had a scenic evening hike on the trails in the Oakland hills. This is our go-to spot for after work hikes because there's a free parking lot with safe parking under surveillance, the trails are beautiful, and there are views of the city. It's a great spot to catch the sunset, and the wide open trails make it easy to see the trail up until the last bit of light. This park is open until 10PM, although we've never hiked that late. We park at the Trudeau Center parking lot off of Skyline Blvd, near the Serpentine Prairie area.
January 28, 2017 Wildcat Canyon Regional Park Today we hiked Wildcat Canyon in Richmond, a huge, 2,427-acre park with sweeping views of the bay and lush green trails with ponds and streams running in between. Be careful near the ponds, because there's a lot of frogs, so be careful where you step!
January 26, 2017 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve We checked out our favorite trail in Sibley today. This trail passes through Huckleberry, and although dogs aren't allowed in Huckleberry, they can pass through on this trail. There's a lot of moss lining the trails, a view of the valley, and plenty of shade. To reach this trail, head up the main trail from the parking lot, take the first unmarked trail split to the right (across from the garbage cans). Take the next split to the right and you'll see the Bay Area Ridge Trail trailhead marker. Keep right (don't take Round Top) and head down into the canyon. You will soon see colorful red mushrooms to your left. Just a reminder to not let your dogs eat any mushrooms. Many are poisonous. I'm fortunate that Bailey has no interest in them, but if your dog tends to eat everything in sight, I would recommend keeping it on leash and under close watch. Continue hiking down and you'll eventually reach a flowing stream with beautiful cascades.
January 23, 2017 Anthony Chabot Regional Park - Happy Birthday Bailey! Today we celebrated Bailey's birthday with a beautiful hike at Lake Chabot. The trails were a little muddy, but most of them weren't too bad. We started on the Oakland side and took Goldenrod Trail to the lake. The trail starts out open and sunny, but then passes through shady trails lined with ferns and moss-covered trees. It then opens up again when you reach the lake. We intended to loop back via Bass Cove Trail, but as suspected, it was impassible. The creek had literally turned into a flowing river, covering the trail in a few feet of water, so we had to turn back. Even though we had to turn back, this trail was worth the hike. We even saw several mini waterfalls on the trail. We retraced our steps back to the beginning and ended up hiking almost 5 miles. It started raining at the end of our hike and we were rewarded with a beautiful double rainbow!
January 21, 2017 Stern Grove We spent the day in SF and enjoyed a walk at Stern Grove. This large park has shady trails in a forest of trees, a large lake, and a huge off-leash lawn where dogs can play. There are always plenty of dogs here to play with, and Bailey enjoys the escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
January 19, 2017 Berkeley Aquatic Park Sorry for the lack of posts- I injured my tailbone during a fall hiking over the weekend and have been in a lot of pain. Hope to be back to our regular hikes soon! Aquatic Park is one we checked out recently that I've wanted to post about. It's nearly 100 acres, surrounding a large lake with wetlands. It’s a nice, mostly flat walk along the lake, with trails winding through the woods. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables, and even a short boardwalk leading out on the water. It’s also a great place for nature watching, as you’ll see ducks, egrets, herons, robins, butterflies, and maybe even turtles and gophers. To extend your walk, you can cross the foot bridge over the highway and continue on the SF Bay Trail. This park also features an 18-hole disc golf course with the lake as a beautiful backdrop. It's a challenging course, but a lot of fun!
January 13, 2017 Dimond Canyon Park Sausual Creek is flowing at Dimond Canyon as well! We love this quiet park for the diversity of trails and beautiful ferns and towering redwoods. You can also connect to Joaquin Miller Park to extend your hike!
January 11, 2017 Tres Sendas Trail - Redwood Regional Park This morning we hiked one of our favorite trails in the park. A close friend of mine has always said that she wouldn't be surprised if fairies appeared because this trail is so beautiful. Everything is covered in moss, green ferns line the trail, and the creek flows down along it. Today in particular the creek was raging from all the rain we had, and Bailey had a blast playing in the water. Surprisingly, our hike wasn't terribly muddy because the trail is rocky. However, the trail was washed out at a couple points and required shallow creek crossing. We began our hike at the parking lot at Redwood Bowl, hiked over West Ridge Trail past the Chabot Space & Science Center, down Tres Sendas and back up French Trail.
January 10, 2017 Monterey Bay Coastal Trail During our visit, we also checked out the beautiful coastal trail, which runs 18 miles along the coast. It is divided from the street above, you will be able to enjoy a serene coastal walk near the aquarium, cannery row, and even Lover's Point.
January 8, 2017 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach This has been called "one of the most scenic drives in the world," and although it's a private toll road, it's worth at least one visit if you've never seen it before. There are 21 scenic stops to visit, which can take you anywhere from a couple hours to a half day. You will see plenty of birds, seals, and some of the most stunning beaches and coastline you've ever seen. You can stop at all the points of interest and walk around, and many of the stops have walking paths in between them, so you and your dog can walk a few miles. Your dog will also enjoy a romp on the gorgeous Fanshell Overlook beach, which is even more beautiful at sunset.
January 5, 2017 Redwood Regional Park - Waterfalls! There's so much water flowing here after the storm that it's even more picturesque than usual. We had a gorgeous hike, which was worth the muddy trails, because everything was covered in neon green moss and vibrant green ferns. Water was flowing in many places throughout the hike, and could be heard in the distance through most of it. If you keep your eyes peeled and look to the right and left of the trails you'll also see bright red and orange mushrooms and colorful turkeytail fungi attached to tree stumps and tree bark. For this hike, we parked at the parking lot off of Skyline Blvd at the Trudeau Center, hiked up Dunn Trail, and at the split-off, continue down Dunn Trail. As you're hiking down Dunn, keep your eyes out on the left for vibrant red mushrooms growing up the hill. Where Dunn flattens out you'll see your first stream and the top of the waterfall we found in the canyon. Continue hiking down Dunn until you reach a split; take Golden Spike Trail to your right. You'll soon see a bridge and gushing water. Continue along and you'll find two more spots with gushing water and the waterfall near the creek. As you come to the end of the trail, you'll see one more area with gushing water. When you reach another split in the trail, continue up Dunn to find your way back to the parking lot. This loop is a little over 2 miles and definitely worth the mud after a good rain. Dogs must be on-leash at the beginning and end of the Dunn Trail, as this is a resource protection area, but are allowed off-leash the rest of the hike. This hike can easily be extended into a longer one by taking connecting nearby trails.
January 4, 2017 Asilomar State Beach This beautiful beach in Pacific Grove has a trail snaking along the coast with stunning views of the rocks, dunes and Pacific Ocean. The sandy trail features sections of wooden boardwalk with lookout points. It also has rock trails leading down to the beach. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset walk and even saw a family of deer enjoying the beach on our way back.
January 2, 2017 Jack's Peak During our recent Monterey trip, we also checked out the beautiful trails at Jack's Peak. This is a relatively small park with 11 trails totaling 8.5 miles. The summit towers over 1,000 ft above Monterey with great views of the city below. The dirt trails are mostly shaded by towering pines and beautifully lined with vibrant green ferns.
December 30, 2016 Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course We just played an awesome new disc golf course in Monterey. This huge, 29-hole dog-friendly course has plenty of hills and some beautiful trails. It's well-maintained and has some stunning scenery.
December 29, 2016 Garland Ranch Regional Park We just hiked this beautiful park in Carmel. This is a wonderful hike with over 4,400 acres of trails to explore. This park has easy trails, steep, challenging trails, ponds, a waterfall, and fields of wildflowers. Although the waterfall wasn't currently flowing, the trail was still breathtaking.
December 27, 2016 Monterey Bay Kayaks We just returned from Monterey and had a blast checking out some new dog-friendly adventures! I'll slowly be adding them to my site. I think our favorite adventure was kayaking with sea otters on the beautiful Monterey Bay!
December 25, 2016 Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather on some hikes! We just hiked Leona Heights and the Oakland entrance of Knowland Park.
December 18-22, 2016 We're currently in Monterey! Stay turned for lots of new dog-friendly spots in and around this beautiful city!
December 14, 2016 Fairmont Ridge Today we snaked along the hillside trails of Fairmont Ridge and enjoyed the views of the bay and Lake Chabot. This is the perfect rainy day hike, because the main trail from the parking lot is paved, so you'll have time to remove mud from paws and shoes before getting in the car. There are miles of trails on the hillsides on either side of the main trail.
December 10, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we hiked our go-to loop of Redwood Peak, French and Madrone Trails. We also hiked part of the West Ridge trail because it was foggy this morning and the line of trees always looks so cool in that section. We started our hike from Redwood Bowl, and although it was pouring for much of our hike, it wasn't too bad. There were quite a few puddles and streams of water running down the steep sections, but the thick tree cover kept us a little drier than hiking in the open. The first tenth a mile or so of this trail is also paved form the parking lot, so it's a great place to end your hike and get the mud off of your shoes.
December 7, 2016 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve This morning we hiked our favorite trail in Sibley. This trail passes through Huckleberry, and although dogs aren't allowed in Huckleberry, they can pass through on this trail. There's a lot of moss lining the trails, a view of the valley, and plenty of shade. To reach this trail, head up the main trail from the parking lot, take the first unmarked trail split to the right (across from the garbage cans). Take the next split to the right and you'll see the Bay Area Ridge Trail trailhead marker. Keep right (don't take Round Top) and head down into the canyon. After a good rain you'll find a lot of colorful mushrooms dotting the trail. We've seen red, purple and yellow.
December 4, 2016 Moraga Commons Park Today we played disc golf in Moraga. This course has a few hills and some 9 beautiful holes to enjoy. Your dog is welcome to join you on-leash for a great workout. We saw several happy dogs playing disc golf with their owners today.
December 3, 3016 Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline We enjoyed bay views and a nice hike near the water today. This park has some construction going on and will soon have trail improvements and even a disc golf course.
November 30, 2016 Redwood Regional Park This morning we were back at our favoirte local park and we hiked our go-to loop. Starting from the parking lot at Redwood Bowl, we took West Ridge Trail>Madrone Trail>French Trail>Redwood Peak Trail. This is a very scenic hike, which dips down into the valley and surrounds you in vibrant green ferns and redwoods. You will hike along the creek and then a fairly steep section of of Redwood Peak to return to where you started. This hike is approximately 2 miles but can easily be extended into longer hikes via several connecting trails. I highly recommend taking French Trail if you wish to extend your hike. This was my first real hike back after being sick for a few weeks with pneumonia, and I'm definitely feeling it in my chest today. I hope to soon return to my regular daily posts.
November 28, 2016 Upper Knowland Park Today we visited the San Leandro side of Upper Knowland Park (we usually start from the Oakland side on Skyline Blvd). Sadly, the zoo has begun its expansion and has already built a chain link fence, which cut off access to some of the trails. This is still a beautiful off-leash hike with views of the city, but this side of the park is significantly smaller and now there are less hills to hike due to the fence. You can still loop the entire park, and there's also an Oakland entrance to this park, but you can't hike through because the two sides are cut off by a valley. Click below for more info.
November 27, 2016 Leona Heights Park Today we hiked one of our favorite hidden gems in Oakland. This is a great, mostly secluded hike along the flowing creek and among the redwoods. It requires crossing some wooden bridges, planks, and boulder hopping. We noticed that the first bridge is now missing a railing on the right side, so be careful there. The remainder of the bridge appears to be in good shape, but be careful crossing. You can make this hike into a loop, but the trails are mostly unmarked and it's easy to get lost. Follow the link below for detailed information.
November 26, 2016 Shoreline Park Today we opted for an easy walk along the shoreline, and enjoyed views of SF and even saw a rainbow. We like this park because the trail is scenic and continues on for miles. Part of it is paved and it doesn't get very muddy, so it's a perfect walk for a rainy day.
November 24, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park: Palos Colorados Trail Today we started our Joaquin Miller Park hike at our favorite entrance, just off of Joaquin Miller Road. We love to start hiking in Dimond Canyon Park and cross over to Joaquin Miller for a longer hike. We noticed a new, fancy bridge crossing the creek at the entrance, where random planks have been for quite a while. The trail was muddy but green and beautiful, after so much recent rain. This is a shady hike with a few hills. You'll have a scenic, moderate workout and can hike up through Joaquin Miller Park for as long of a workout as you desire.
November 22, 2016 Bailey was on the KRON news tonight! She was featured for my review of the dog-friendly kayak spot, 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael. Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I've been fighting a cold I just can't seem to shake. I hope to be back at our regular posts soon!
November 13, 2016 Lafayette Reservoir This morning we hiked the Upper Rim Trail of the Lafayette Reservoir, starting from the trailhead in Moraga. There is free, abundant neighborhood parking at this entrance and you can hike the 4.7 mile rim loop with views of the reservoir, Mount Diablo and the Briones Hills.
November 12, 2016 EBMUD Trails Sorry for the lack of posts, I'm getting over a cold. Today we decided to go for an easy hike, and avoid the crowds at nearby parks. We opted for a hike on the EBMUD trails in Moraga. You need a permit to hike (only $3/day or $10 for an entire year), but this keeps the trails from having a lot of traffic. We started at the Valle Vista Staging Area and hiked along the reservoir. The trail is mostly flat until you get into the mossy hills above the reservoir, but even this isn't a strenuous hike. There are great views of the water and surrounding hills, plenty of places to sit and birdwatch, and you can even get up close and personal with some horses along the trail.
November 8, 2016 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Today we hiked our favorite trail in Sibley. This trail passes through Huckleberry, and although dogs aren't allowed in Huckleberry, they can pass through on this trail. There's a lot of moss lining the trails, a view of the valley, and plenty of shade. To reach this trail, head up the main trail from the parking lot, take the first unmarked trail split to the right (across from the garbage cans). Take the next split to the right and you'll see the Bay Area Ridge Trail trailhead marker. Keep right (don't take Round Top) and head down into the canyon. After a good rain you'll find a lot of colorful mushrooms dotting the trail. We've seen red, purple and yellow.
November 3, 2016 Upper Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we hiked the upper trails of Anthony Chabot from the trailhead at Parkridge Drive, off of Skyline Blvd in Oakland. There are several trails to choose from, and views of the surrounding canyon. You're miles from Lake Chabot, so you can rest easy that your dog can run off-leash and not worry about toxic algae from the lake. From the parking lot, take the MacDonald Trail to your right and then look for Brittleleaf Trail to your left. There's a peaceful, perfectly placed bench surrounded by manzanitas overlooking the canyon at the dead-end of the Brittleleaf Trail. See my map below.
October 31, 2016 Angora Lakes Trail Happy Halloween! We just hiked the Angora Lakes in Tahoe and had the place practically to ourselves. It's a beautiful, easy hike which takes you to two different lakes. These lakes are dog-friendly and your dog can go for a swim with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop. The trailhead requires a 30 minute drive from the highway, with no reception so it's easy to get lost. Click below for insider tips!
October 29, 2016 Horsetail Falls We just hiked a beautiful 500-foot waterfall. This was a challenging hike with a lot of boulder hopping required to reach the waterfall; however, you can enjoy an easy hike with scenic views and just appreciate the waterfall from a distance.
October 27, 2016 Bijou Community Park We had a blast playing disc golf in Tahoe with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop. This dog-friendly 27-hole course snakes through the forest with incredible views and also has a large dog park and agility course. If you haven't played before, pickup a couple $5 disc golf frisbees and have fun! The course is free and you can get by with using just a long-range "driver" frisbee and a putter "frisbee"
October 25, 2016 Cascade Falls We just had an incredible hike in South Lake Tahoe culminating with a 200 ft waterfall and views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. This is a relatively short hike with only a couple hundred feet of elevation change, but it requires some boulder hiking. It is definitely worth it for the views.
October 20-24, 2016 Lake Tahoe! We're currently on a road trip and hiking around Lake Tahoe. Stay tuned for lots of new dog-friendly Lake Tahoe activities.
October 22, 2016 Mt. Tallac Today we hiked the beautiful Mt. Tallac. This is the best spot in Tahoe with views of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, and the snow-covered mountains surrounding you. During our hike we even found some snow on the trails!
October 17, 2016 Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we hiked the upper trails of Anthony Chabot, starting at the Oakland entrance, and we hiked about 1.5 miles down to the lake. The lake still has a toxic algae problem, so remember not to let your dog in the water. You can enjoy the lake views and retrace your steps for an approximate 3 mile hike, or loop the entire lake in about 12 miles. However, there is currently some construction and the main trail is closed at the dam.
October 15, 2016 Upper Knowland Park Today we enjoyed an early morning hike before the rain started, and it was a beautiful, clear day. We could see all the way to SF. We started our hike off of Skyline blvd; one of the many entrances to the park. This is a little-known, off-leash park with stunning views.
October 9, 2016 Albany Bulb We cooled off with a swim at the Buchanan Dog Beach in Albany, and then a walk around the bulb and some more swimming at our favorite spot on the other side of the bulb. There were lots of happy dogs running off-leash at the beach, and we were even able to watch the Blue Angels and had a great, clear view of the city and the Golden Gate & Bay Bridge. We enjoyed all the urban art around the bulb, and as always, we were pleasantly surprised by the new additions.
October 8, 2016 Tilden Regional Park We enjoyed a shady hike along the Selby Trail, off of Wildcat Canyon Rd. in Berkeley. There's a large pullout off of the road where you can park, and this mostly shady trail takes you all the way to Lake Anza. It has a few short hills and some steps, but overall the trail is not that challenging. During your hike you'll pass through large oak trees and groves of towering redwoods. We even found the perfect bench to relax on among the redwoods.
October 7, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park This morning we had a beautiful hike on the less crowded side of Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. We started our hike on the Palos Colorados Trail. This is a narrow trail that runs along the creek and is surrounded by towering redwoods.
October 5, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we hiked our favorite trails: Redwood Peak, French and Madrone starting from the parking lot at Redwood Bowl and taking the West Ridge Trail to the connecting trails. Bailey wore her Halloween costume and looked just like a lion in the jungle!
October 3, 2016 Devil's Slide Trail We just checked out the Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, as well as the cool WWII concrete army bunker nearby. This was one of 5 fire control stations built in the area as lookout points. When they spotted Japanese ships, they alerted gun batteries at Fort Funston and the Marin Headlands. You can walk inside the bunker, but the best views surround it, where you can see for miles down the coast on either side.
October 2, 2016 Pedro Point Headlands We just hiked our favorite hidden gem in Pacifica. Although it's a steep hike up, you'll be rewarded with gorgeous ocean views and moss-lined trails along the bluffs. This time we checked out a new trail, beginning on the Bluff Trail and taking the Arroyo Trail back to where we started. This was a beautiful loop with a lot of changes in scenery. We also avoided having to hike uphill on our way back by taking the Arroyo Trail. I can't believe it's already October! Bailey and I are very excited for halloween, I think she will be hiking in costume for most of October!
October 1, 2016 Lands End We just hiked the beautiful Lands End in SF and were fortunate to have a warm, sunny day. This hike offers gorgeous views of the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. You can also hike down to the labyrinth and all the way to Sutro Baths, which is also a wonderful spot to explore.
September 29, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park I'm excited that it has finally cooled off, and was surprised to see the fog roll in this morning. We enjoyed a magical hike through foggy redwoods and even saw some rabbits this morning. We started our hike at Redwood Bowl, crossed the street and hiked for a few miles in the fog. I enjoyed getting lost in the woods, and I can't tell you the exact locations of all the photos, but I know I was on the Big Trees Trail for some of the hike, as well as side trails connecting to it which had park benches and picnic tables running through the trails. Most of the upper trails were foggy this morning, and it was a wonderful hike!
September 27, 2016 Dimond Canyon Park This morning we escaped the heat and had a shady hike in Dimond Canyon Park in Oakland. We parked on Leimert and took one of Oakland's hidden staircases up to the park in order to avoid the awkward parking situation, as the trailhead is at the dead-end of a narrow street. We started our hike on the main Bridgeview Trail, which is mostly flat until the end. There's a wooden staircase at the end which winds down below towering redwoods. We then took the Old Canon Trail down to the creek and ended up hiking a few miles before returning to where we started.
September 25, 2016 Portland, OR I'm currently in Portland! I'll be back in the Bay soon, but I had to post about some nearby dog-friendly waterfalls. We just visited Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls, just outside of Portland. Multnomah is the 2nd highest waterfall in the U.S.! This was an incredible hike up about 600 feet to the top of the waterfall. If you're up for an even longer hike, you can connect to nearby trails and view 10 different waterfalls!
September 23, 2016 Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline This 307-acre park has flat trails looping around a saltwater lagoon with views of the S.F. Bay and the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge along with plenty of picnic tables and BBQ pits. Across the roadway there are several miles of hiking trails snaking up into the hills. There are views from Mount Tam to the hills of the East Bay.
September 21, 2016 Albany Bulb The Albany Bulb is a great little easy hike with incredible views, swimming opportunities and some very interesting art work. Although there isn't much shade, it usually stays cool because of the bay breeze. If your dog gets too hot, it can always dip into the water to cool off. There's a circular inlet around the back side of the bulb that is partitioned off by rocks positioned in a circular pattern. This spot is safe from the open ocean, and one of our favorite spots to swim.
September 20, 2016 Buchanan Dog Beach It was the perfect day to go for a swim, so we headed to the Buchanan dog beach in Albany. This is a great little off-leash dog-friendly beach with views of SF, including the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can let your dog dry off during a hike by extending your walk into the nearby Albany Bulb. There are also some other great swim spots within the Bulb.
September 16, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park Today we started our hike at Redwood Bowl, crossed Skyline and hiked down the Castle Park Trail. Most of this hike was shady or partially shaded. In 0.6 miles we reached Castle Drive, where you'll see a trash can. Hike down the steep trail but be careful here. There is loose dirt and the trail is slippery. This trail will eventually take you to another split. If you continue down to your right it's a very steep trail; I'd recommend taking the unmarked trail to your left which has gentler switchbacks. When you reach the bottom it's labeled Cinderella Trail. Continue to your right to find Sunset Trail. You will cross a bridge and once you come around the bend you'll have gorgeous views of most of the Bay Area. We could see the Mormon Temple directly below us and all the way out to the Bay Bridge and San Francisco. We hiked down this trail and enjoyed different views of the bay. There's even a perfectly placed bench overlooking the view. Unfortunately this trail ends on Castle Drive, so you have to retrace your steps. It's definitely worth the detour for the views. If you return the way you came it's approximately a 3 mile hike with some steep hills on the way back. You can loop back via some different trails for a change of scenery. Walk back to the bridge and take the trail to the right. This will take you above the Sinawik Cabin. When you reach a creek with a wooden gate-like structure to the left of it, walk through it. This will take you up a steep trail above the creek. Hike up the Cinderella Trail until it joins the Bayview Trail. Although the trail to the left was not named, we hiked it and very shortly it rejoined the section of the Castle Park Trail that we began on. Overall this hike was about 3 miles and had a few challenging hills. It can easily be extended into a longer hike. There were trash cans at the trailheads but no restrooms or running water available during this hike as described.
September 15, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we hiked some of our go-to favorite trails: Redwood Peak, French and Madrone Trails. This is a shady, scenic hike that we'll never get tired of hiking. It's a great, short workout with some steep sections.
September 13, 2016 Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve Today we enjoyed a shady hike at a nearby off-leash park, which has 3 different trails to choose from behind Merritt College. The main trail is easy and follows along the creek. There are two offshoots you can take uphill for a more challenging hike. At dusk, we often see bats catching insects above the pond near the entrance.
September 12, 2016 Leona Heights Park This evening we had a beautiful, scenic hike along the creek at Leona Heights in Oakland. This is a great, mostly secluded hike among the redwoods which requires crossing some wooden bridges, planks, and boulder hopping. We noticed that the first bridge is now missing a railing on the right side, so be careful there. The remainder of the bridge appears to be in good shape.
September 9, 2016 Camino Alto Preserve This 170-acre open space has trails that include a variety of terrains, with many shaded trails lined with Redwoods, Oaks and Douglas Firs. The Camino Alto Fire Road also offers great views of Mount Tam and SF. Dogs are allowed off-leash if under voice control on all fire roads.
September 7, 2016 Shady Hikes for Hot Days It's heating up again! I would recommend early morning hikes to beat the heat. Remember to bring plenty of water to keep your pooch hydrated! If you can't hike in the morning, I have a few shady Bay Area hikes I can recommend. Remember not to tackle anything too strenuous, because even if it's shady it can still be a difficult hike for you dog. Also, test trails and asphalt with the palm of your hand. If it's too hot to hold your hand on the ground, it's too hot for your dog's paws! Here are my recommendations for easy, shady hikes and walks:
Redwood Regional Park, Oakland: Park near Redwood Bowl and you can hike down Graham Trail for about half a mile in almost complete shade. The hike back is not too strenuous. You could also hike Madrone Trail to French Trail to Redwood Peak Trail. This is about a 1.4 mile scenic hike which dips down into the shaded valley and follows the stream. It has a steep incline on the way up for a great workout, but usually stays cool since you're hiking down into the valley floor. Just make sure it's not too hot because it's a steep hike back. Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland: Hike the 2 mile loop combining the Big Trees Trail and the Sequoia Bayview Trail. This hike is mostly shady, it has a couple hills but is not challenging. You will hike through towering redwoods and you can hear the stream below the trail. Robert's Park, Oakland: This is a large park with easy hiking trails snaking through groves of redwood trees. You and your dog are free to explore Robert's Ridge Trail, Graham Trail, and the Manzanita Loop Trail. Dimond Canyon Park, Oakland: This is a great park with shady trails, and you can hike the mostly flat Bridgeview trail for an easy, less than 2 mile hike. Montclair Railroad Trail, Oakland: This is a beautiful hike in the Oakland hills, above Montclair Village. The 1.5 mile paved Montclair Railroad Trail was once part of the route of the Sacramento Northern Railway, which took passenger between Oakland and Chico from 1912 to 1957. The trail is mostly shady and an easy stroll for a hot day. Temescal, Oakland: This park has a scenic 1-mile trail looping around the base of the lake with plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy the view. You can start your walk at the base of the lake on the Eastshore Trail or Landvale Station Trail to the Dam Trail, and then you can hike uphill on the Oak Bay Trail and that will take you back to the parking lot. Although there’s a steep grade ascending and descending the Oak Bay Trail, it’s still an easy hike and there is significant shade along the route. Just remember to keep your dog out of the water, as it has been contaminated with algae. Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Oakland: Starting from the Big Bear Staging Area, off of Redwood Road, you'll have a shady, scenic hike along the creek and through groves of moss-lined trees. The beginning of the hike is mostly flat and shaded on MacDonald Trail, from here you'll cross the Macdonald Staging Area and continue along the creek. Take the Bird Trail to your right, and follow it along the creek, over planks and bridges. It will loop back to your left and you can take MacDonald Trail back. Right before you return to where you parked, take the Big Bear Trail on your left, and it will climb up and loop around about 0.4 miles and en at a fire trail gate just a little up from where you parked. Walk the shoulder of the road back. This hike is a little less than 2 miles with a few steep sections and some stairs. You can easily extend this hike if it isn't too hot via nearby trails. Albany Bulb, Albany: The Albany Bulb is an interesting place, because once you loop around the bulb, you'll encounter some huge eclectic art installations along the water. Although it's not all shaded, it usually stays pretty cool because of the bay breeze, and your dog can also take a dip in the water to cool off. The Buchanan Dog Beach is also a swimming option, located near the parking lot. Martin Canyon Creek Trail, Dublin: Easy walk along the creek, mostly shaded, with options to connect to Dublin Hills Regional Park. You can hike roughly 4 miles roundtrip in the shade.
September 6, 2016 King Mountain Loop Trail This is a beautiful trail that skirts along Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve. Much of the trail is lined with vibrant green moss-covered trees and ferns. There are also several spots where the trail opens up for views of the bay and mountains.
September 3-5, 2016 Yosemite! I'm currently camping in Yosemite. I have already compiled the most comprehensive guide to dog-friendly Yosemite. You'd be surprised how much you can do with your dog here. Click below for more info.
September 1, 2016 Point Molate Beach Park This park features 1.4 miles of shoreline and views of the bay, including Mount Tam, Mount Saint Helena and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The beach is clean and expansive, with gentle waves where your dog can dip its feet. It’s a nice spot to walk your dog along the beach or on the grass area above.
August 31, 2016 Claremont Canyon This morning we hiked the beautiful Claremont Canyon, which has panoramic views of the bay and some steep hills for a great workout. It was an especially clear day today, which made for incredible views of SF and the surrounding area.
August 29, 2016 Devil's Slide Coastal Trail We just explored the beautiful Devil's Slide trail, which used to be the site of the old tunnels. It has been repurposed into a walking path. There are beautiful views of the ocean and you can easily extend this into a hike by checking out the bunker on the hill or hiking to Pedro Point.
August 28, 2016 Half Moon Bay Kayak Co. We just went kayaking in Half Moon Bay and had a blast! This super dog-friendly spot had large kayaks with plenty of room for Bailey. During our trip we saw numerous seals. At one point our kayak was surrounded by 6 very curious seals. You also might see leopard sharks in the shallows, and it's a great place to bird watch. Bailey had so much fun seeing all the wildlife surround her.
August 27, 2016 Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve Today we checked out the beautiful trails of Ring Mountain in Corte Madera. This 367-acre park has miles of trails with views of the bay including the Richmond Bridge, Tiburon and SF. Both the hike up and the hike down are incredibly scenic, with views from both sides of the mountain. You can hike to the top of Ring Mountain at 602 feet and even scale Turtle Rock, which is a great spot to stop and admire the views.
August 25, 2016 Redwood Regional Park This morning we decided to hike Redwood Regional again, because when I woke up this morning I could see thick fog in the hills. I knew it would be a beautiful morning hike. We parked at Redwood Bowl and hiked Redwood Peak and Madrone Trail. We've had some foggy mornings this week, but I was surprised to see that the fog didn't die off until after noon today. I highly recommend checking out Redwood Regional on a foggy morning for an incredible, magical hike.
August 23, 2016 Mussel Rock Park This park has beautiful trails along the bluffs with ocean views as far as the Farallon Islands. Mussel Rock is a jagged rock formation close to the coast where birds gather. We saw seals swimming below it during our visit. We also saw whales in the distance. There are a few unmarked trails along the coastline and although I wouldn't recommend it, there is access to the beach below. It requires a steep rock scramble and boulder hopping, which would be difficult for your dog. However, it's still a beautiful spot to take in panoramic views of the coastline.
August 21, 2016 Pedro Point Headlands This is a hard to find hidden gem, and has become one of my favorite hikes in the bay area. This park has beautiful trails hugging the bluffs with panoramic views of the ocean. It also offers great lookout points to whale watch.
August 20, 2016 Grand View Park Today we did some urban hiking in SF. We finally checked out the tiled staircase and continued all the way up to Grand View Park, which has panoramic views of SF. This one is definitely worth a visit!
August 19, 2016 Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve Today we enjoyed a shady hike at a nearby off-leash park, which has 3 different trails to choose from behind Merritt College. The main trail is easy and follows along the creek. There are two offshoots you can take uphill for a more challenging hike.
August 16, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park Today we started our hike at the dead-end of Woodside Glen Ct (behind Woodminster Market), and entered Joaquin Miller Park near the bottom, via Sinawik Trail. This trail starts of shady and opens up to Lookout Point, which has panoramic views of the bay area. If you start your hike here, please be respectful of residents, as it's all residential parking. We love starting our hike here because it's a little-known starting point, and we've actually never run into anyone on this trail. You can continue your hike up Sinawik Trail and hike for miles up, even into Redwood Park, or take Sunset Trail down, cross the tunnel under the freeway, and continue your hike in Dimond Canyon Park on the Bridgeview Trail.
August 13, 2016 EBMUD Trails This morning we escaped the crowded weekend trails and enjoyed a peaceful hike on the EBMUD trails. A trail permit is required to hike here, for only $10 a year. This is definitely a hidden gem, and worth checking out if you haven't already. We started out at the Valle Vista Staging Area, 10 minutes down the road from the main Redwood Regional Park entrance, and enjoyed the intermittent shade along the trails. We saw a few bunnies cross the trail, lots of lizards, and Bailey even stopped to say hi to her horse friends at the stables along the trail. After a great view of the reservoir, we continued along the edge of the the reservoir on the Kings Canyon Trail, which is green and vibrant and mostly shaded in that section. That part of the trail has some elevation gain, but nothing strenuous. We returned to the bench at the edge of the reservoir and enjoyed bird watching. We saw lots of egrets and what appeared to be a very large Great Blue Heron.
August 11, 2016 Kayaking! We found a super dog-friendly Kayak rental place in San Rafael and had a lot of fun paddling in the canal on their sit-on-top-type kayaks. Bailey was very comfortable bird watching in the kayak, and we had a great trip in the calm waters. For more adventurous people, you can even kayak out to the Marin Islands.
August 6-7, 2016 Doran Regional Park We camped at a beautiful park in Bodega Bay with views of the ocean from our campsite. There were miles of trails along the beach and through the sand dunes. We even saw some seals on the beach. This was one of my favorite camping trips to date and Bailey had a blast.
August 5-7, 2016 Road Trip! Stay tuned for our adventures!
August 3, 2016 Palos Colorados Trail Today we enjoyed a shady hike amongst the redwoods and above Sausal Creek in Joaquin Miller Park. We have our own secret parking area for this trail, so it feels much different than the main trails of Joaquin Miller. We often don't even run into anyone else during our hike, which makes it a serene hike with only the sound of the flowing creek in the background.
August 1, 2016 Hi everyone, I just found out that I have been diagnosed with an illness. I'm receiving treatment but it makes me very tired and I haven't been feeling well. My posts will probably be more sporadic until I finish treatment in a few weeks, but I will still try to post as much as I can. Stay tuned for a cool adventure this weekend!
July 29, 2016 Indian Rock We finally checked out Indian Rock, and, to be expected, this wasn't much of a hike, but it had fabulous views of the bay. You can usually find parking on the same block, walk up a set of stairs carved into the rock, and enjoy the view. The other side of the street houses the other half of the park, which also has some rock formations and a picnic table. If you're looking for an easy urban walk in Berkeley, or a nice place to relax after a long hike, check out Indian Rock.
July 28, 2016 Hillside Nature Area (El Cerrito Memorial Grove) Today we hiked a new park in El Cerrito. It's reminiscint of Claremont Canyon, minus the crowds. It has sweeping views of the bay area and even a labyrinth. Although it's a small park, we managed to get a good workout in on the hills and hiked about 2 miles.
July 24, 2016 Mori Point Today we hiked Mori Point, one of the most beautiful hikes in the Bay Area. You can walk along the beach if you're looking for something easy, or head uphill and hike along the bluffs for a more challenging hike with incredible views of the bay below. During our visit we even saw 4 whales off the coast. They had quite a crowd. If you sit on the bluffs you just might view some feeding down below.
July 22, 2016 Dublin Hills Regional Park Today we hiked a new park, and I was pleasantly surprised by all the greenery. I'm expected the typical dry trails with dead grass in this area during summer, but it turned out to be quite beautiful. We hiked a shady trail which was lined with tall, moss-covered trees and green ferns. We even noticed some remaining water in the creek below the trail. During our hike we saw numerous deer, and the shady trails made me feel like I was hiking in Marin or on the trails of Redwood Regional. We eventually reached a ridgetop trail with beautiful views of the surrounding hills and cities.
July 21, 2016 Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Today we hiked a volcano in Oakland. If you're not familiar with Sibley then yes, you heard that correctly. There are also multiple labyrinths, created by local artists, that you can hike down into. In addition to ridgetop views, there are also some shady trails you can hike in the forest. This is a huge park with something for everyone.
July 20, 2016 Upper Knowland Park Today we hiked the trails of Upper Knowland Park in Oakland, just below Skyline Blvd. We started our hike at the bottom this time and hiked up. This park offers wide, off-leash trails with sweeping views of the bay.
July 18, 2016 Diablo Foothills Regional Park We just hiked a new park in Alamo, and enjoyed the wide open space, incredible views, and abundance of trees. We were surprised to finally find a pond with some water left in it, and some greenery in general around the park. I even spotted a juvenile blue-tailed skink as I took a break on some rocks. I've only seen one of those in my life before today, so it was really special.
July 17, 2016 Sugarloaf Open Space Today we explored the other side of Sugarloaf Open Space, starting from the trailhead on Lariat Lane in Walnut Creek. We started on the Ridge Top Trail and explored the Bottom Springs Trail. Unfortunately the pond was dried up, but we did see a lot more trees and even found some shade on these trails. It was a steep hike up the Bottom Springs Trail, so we got a good workout. When we reached the top, we stopped at the shady bench at the 520ft peak and admired the views of the surrounding mountains.
July 15, 2016 Vargas Plateau Regional Park - CLOSED East Bay's newest park, opening only 2 months ago was closed by court order today. Residents were concerned about traffic, as you can only reach the park via a narrow road. This is sad, but I had a feeling something like this would happen the first time I visited. I visited on a weekday when it wasn't crowded, and even recommended not visiting on a weekend. Very limited parking and a long, narrow road made this a difficult park to reach. Let's hope they reach a solution and it reopens soon!
July 15, 2016 Redwood Regional - Beat the heat! We enjoyed a shady hike amongst the redwoods on some of our favorite trails within the park. We usually start from the Redwood Bowl Staging Area and hike down into the valley and back up via the Madrone and Redwood Peak trails. It's a steep hike up, so you'll get a great workout, but the entire hike is shady. This is the perfect hike to avoid the hot trails above that are in direct sunlight. You can easily extend your hike by taking one of the numerous surrounding trails.
July 13, 2016 Acalanes Ridge Open Space Today we hiked both the North and South Acalanes Ridge parks, which are separated by residential housing in between. Both of these parks offer stunning views of he surrounding area. The North side is larger and begins on a shady trail along the creek. If you're up for hiking up 370ft to the peak, you'll be rewarded with 360 degree views of Mount Diablo, Walnut Creek, Shell Ridge, Lime Ridge, Briones Park, the Carquinez Strait and the delta.
July 12, 2016 Sugarloaf Open Space We just hiked Sugarloaf in Walnut Creek. This hidden gem has black walnut trees, a display of antique farming equipment and views of downtown, Mount Diablo, and Shell Ridge. The ridge top trails will give you a nice workout, and there's even a perfectly placed bench for panoramic views.
July 11, 2016 Shell Ridge Open Space We hiked Walnut Creek's largest open space, which has over 30 miles of trails and offers panoramic views of Mt. Diablo, the Carquinez Strait and the delta. Thank you to Mary & Cassie for reminding me about this park. We will be back to hike more of it! Stay tuned for more hikes in this area- I'll be adding more this week.
July 10, 2016 Lafayette Reservoir This evening we hiked around the Lafayette Reservoir once it cooled off a bit. The trails have little shade and some are very steep and challenging, so it's not a good hike for the middle of a hot day. During July the Reservoir is open until 9PM, so you can enjoy the sunset and even spot some deer during your hike. There are many options to make this an easier or more challenging hike, as there is a paved trail around the reservoir, an upper Rim Trail, and connecting trails in between.
July 9, 2016 Fairmont Ridge This afternoon we snaked along the hillside trails of Fairmont Ridge and enjoyed the cool breeze and the views of the bay and Lake Chabot. I wouldn't recommend hiking this on too hot of a day, but it was 75 degrees out today and enjoyable because there's always a nice breeze on the hillside. My hat even flew off a couple times! We started our hike on the first unmarked trail to the right after entering. It took us up along the hillside and eventually we had views of Lake Chabot from above. We hiked around the hillside for a while and then crossed the paved trail, went through the cattle gate, and hiked around the other hillside facing the bay. It was surprisingly empty today, and we enjoyed the miles of unmarked trails on the hillside.
July 7, 2016 Redwood Regional Park We enjoyed a misty, foggy, wet morning hike at our favorite local park! It's so cool to still have these foggy mornings during Summer. Redwood Regional is such a unique park, which is why it's our favorite. Start from Redwood Bowl to experience these foggy trails on a cloudy morning. Redwood Peak Trail is our favorite for experiencing the fog.
July 6, 2016 Albany Bulb Today we were at our favorite swim spot at Albany Bulb - and no, not the dog beach near the parking lot. It's like Point Isabel minus the crowds of people and mud, with cool artwork, and you can actually get a hike in if you explore all the cool artwork around the Bulb. We managed to walk nearly 3 miles and you can climb up and and down the trails in the center. There's a spot in the back that's huge, but we always seem to have it to ourselves. It's a large circular inlet, surrounded by rocks, which is mostly cutoff from the bay so you don't have to worry about rough waves or your dog swimming too far out. A little bit of water still flows through, so the water is moving, but it's more like a lake. You can reach it by taking the main trail hugging the coast all the way around the Bulb. Follow the yellow brick road, and when you can't go any further, you'll see it in front of you. If you walk around it, and head to your right, you can usually cross a rock bridge to the other side of the Bulb (if the tide isn't too high). There are some cool metal sculptures on that side. Otherwise, you can head up one of the trails before you reach the inlet, and check out the concrete structure and connect to the main trail.
July 5, 2016 Fort Funston We had a beautiful hike at Fort Funston, the city's largest off-leash dog park. We walked along the sand dunes and along the sandy bluffs with beautiful views of the ocean. It's a steep hike down to the beach, and you'll get your workout in on the hike back up.
July 4, 2016 Sycamore Grove - Fireworks Hike! Last night we went on a fireworks group hike, organized by the parks department. Ranger Amy led us on a 5-mile round trip hike from the parking lot, over Bobcat Bridge, up past the Cattail Pond to the lookout point. We sat on the hillside with blankets and snacks and enjoyed the fireworks from a distance. I'll admit we didn't have spectacular views, but we saw some fireworks and enjoyed it. We were far enough away so that Bailey didn't mind the noises, and when we returned home Bailey was tired enough to fall right asleep, despite some fireworks still going off in our neighborhood. Normally Bailey just paces around all night if she's kept inside, so this was a much better option for her to keep calm. The parks expected a small group, but I think over 100 people showed up. I only spotted 3 other dogs, and heard lots of people comment "I should have brought my dog!" after seeing Bailey. The 2 1/2 mile hike was long enough to get people spread out during the hike, so it didn't feel too crowded. It was nice to watch the sunset during our hike up, which included 1 steep hill and 2 other moderate hills. We enjoyed hiking back by moonlight and the stars. I believe this is going to be an annual event, so if you're looking for something different, check it out next year!
July 3, 2016 Best of the East Bay Award - Best Hiking Resource! www.HikesDogsLove.com received a "Best of the East Bay" award for "Best Hiking Resource" from Diablo Magazine. Check out the article they did on us in the July issue of Diablo Magazine. We are also in their "Best of the East Bay" special addition! I am beyond excited to receive such a coveted award. I've put in so much hard work on this website, and I'm so happy it's bringing joy to so many people. Thank you to everyone for your support from the beginning!
July 2, 2016 Claremont Canyon We spent the morning hiking the beautiful trails of Claremont Canyon. This is one of my favorite workouts because it has steep trails with rewarding views. I would consider this park to have one of the best views in the Bay Area.
July 1, 2016 Dimond Canyon Park This evening we hiked around Dimond Canyon Park, which is a hidden gem. Some of you have mentioned that parking is crazy. This place never seems to get crowded, but the trailhead is at the dead-end of a narrow street, so parking can be tricky there. We never have that issue because we always park on Leimert Place or Oakmore Road, where there's plenty of free parking. We walk up one of Oakland's secret staircases on Arden Place (behind Red Boy Pizza), and it's only about a 500 ft walk to the trailhead. Below are pictures so you can easily find the staircase. Right now is also a great time for blackberries! There's a huge field of them to your right after you enter the Bridgeview Drive trailhead. Every year I spot people with buckets collecting them around this time of year, so enjoy them while you can!
EBParks Toxic Algae Update - as of June 25, 2016 EBParks has finally provided an update as to which lakes still have toxic blue-green algae. Basically, all the lakes are still infected and even if some are open for swimming, do not allow your dog to swim in them. EBParks recommended that you keep your dog OUT of Lake Anza, Lake Chabot, Temescal, Quarry Lakes, Lake Del Valle, and Shinn Pond. Check out the "Map View" tab above to find other safe swimming spots for your dog.
June 29, 2016 MacKerricher State Park - Camping! We camped and hiked at the beautiful MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg. It is right on the beach, with boardwalk trails lining the cliffside. This is a great place to seal watch and explore tide pools. The campsites are large and have a secluded feel, and the park rangers are friendly and love dogs. I highly recommend a stay at this park.
June 28, 2016 Skunk Train! Take a scenic train ride through the redwoods and along the river on the dog-friendly Skunk Train in Willits, near Fort Bragg. This train ride covers 40 miles of the same historic "Redwood Route" it has covered since 1885. You can sit inside one of the covered cars, or stand outside in the open air car where your dog can enjoy the sites and smells. A ticket for your dog will only cost you $10.
June 24-26, 2016 Road Trip! We just returned from a road trip, and one of the highlights was riding down the river in Mendocino on a dog-friendly canoe! It was a beautiful trip and Bailey thoroughly enjoyed all the sights and smells on the paddle down the river. More to come this week on our road trip!
June 22, 2016 Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve Today we hiked the beautiful, partially shady trails along the creek at Leona Canyon in Oakland. You can stay on the main Leona Trail and hike all the way to Merritt College and back, which is about 2.6 miles. There area also options to take split offs of the Artemisa or Pyrite Trails, which are short but steep and more challenging.
June 18, 2016 Redwood Regional – Ladybugs! Today we hiked at our favorite park and found thousands of ladybugs still hanging around! The ladybugs usually come in winter every year, and we see them from November until around February. We were surprised to spot some on the trail today. It’s incredible to have something catch your eye on a trail, take a closer look, and realize the trail is moving! During our hike we were coming down Tres Sendas Trail, crossed the creek onto Stream Trail, and spotted the ladybugs pretty soon after to our right, near the creek. We spotted them mostly in a stretch of a few hundred feet, and also could see them flying around us. If you missed the ladybugs earlier this year, now is the time to go back and see them! Although they are not completely covering the trail like they were earlier this year, it’s still worth the visit. If you park at Redwood Bowl, you can hike down Redwood Peak and Starflower Trail, but it’s a steep hike back up. You can also park at the main entrance on Redwood Road (parking fee applies here), and it's a mostly flat walk up Stream Trail. Check out the ladybug location map below (map courtesy of EBRPD), and I have marked an “x” where you can find the ladybugs.
June 14, 2016 Leona Heights Park Today we had a beautiful, scenic hike along the creek at Leona Heights in Oakland. This is a great, mostly secluded hike among the redwoods which requires crossing some wooden bridges, planks, and boulder hopping.
June 9, 2016 Redwood Regional Park We went on an evening hike at our favorite local park, Redwood Regional. Our followers have been asking us a lot about foxtails recently, and unfortunately I've seen too many dogs with recent foxtail injuries (up their noses or in their eyes). I'm fortunate that Bailey usually stays on trails and hasn't had any issues so far, but I know it's a common problem and not worth the risk. I myself get them stuck in my shoes, socks and pants. Most parks have grassy hillsides which are all dry right now and covered in foxtails. Redwood Regional has many shady trails that snake down into the valley floor. These trails stay lush and green year round, and you won't see any foxtails there. I would recommend parking at Redwood Bowl and hiking any combination of these trails to avoid foxtails: Redwood Peak, Madrone, French, Star Flower, Tres Sendas, or Stream (dogs need to be leashed on this trail). We also hiked Dunn and Golden Spike, which is mostly safe. The short portion of Dunn from the parking lot to the intersection of Graham is wide but dry until it starts descending down into the canyon, and there are some foxtails on the hillside.
June 8, 2016 Coyote Hills Regional Park Today we hiked a park we've been wanting to explore for a long time, and I wish we had hiked it sooner! This park has hills overlooking the picturesque salt marsh and the bay, and since it's on the water there was a nice breeze blowing during our hike. We hiked to the top of the peaks within the park and down along the shoreline.
June 7, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park Today we hiked around Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. We enjoyed shady trails, trails along the creek, and even a trail with stunning panoramic views of the bay. We started our hike by parking at Redwood Bowl (off of Skyline Blvd). We crossed Skyline at the crosswalk and started our hike on the Castle Park Trail. Most of this trail was shady and snaked through the hillside. In 0.6 miles we reached Castle Drive. From here we hiked down a steep trail, and when the trail split, we walked over the bridge to our right. This took us to the Sunset Trail. Once we came around the bend we had gorgeous views of most of the Bay Area. We could see the Mormon Temple directly below us and all the way out to the Bay Bridge and San Francisco. We hiked down this trail and enjoyed different views of the bay. There's even a perfectly placed bench overlooking the view. Unfortunately this trail ends on Castle Drive, so you have to retrace your steps. It's definitely worth the detour for the views. From here we walked back to the bridge and took the trail to the right. It took us above the Sinawik Cabin and we came to a creek with a wooden gate-like structure to the left of it, which we walked through. This led us up a steep trail above the creek. We kept hiking up Cinderella Trail until it joined the Bayview Trail. Although the trail to the left was not named, we hiked it and very shortly it rejoined the section of the Castle Park Trail that we began on. Overall this hike was about 3 miles and had a few challenging hills. It can easily be extended into a longer hike. There were trash cans at the trailheads but no restrooms or running water available during this hike as described.
June 6, 2016 Dimond Canyon Park We spent the afternoon hiking all the trails of Dimond Canyon Park in Oakland, and gathering video footage for our YouTube archive of hikes. If you're not familiar with this hike, it's definitely a hidden gem. I have lived in Oakland my entire life and did not discover this place until about 5 years ago. The trails are mostly shaded, you have options for a mostly flat stroll or more challenging hike, and there are multiple changes in scenery throughout the hike. The trails running along Sausal Creek are peaceful and stretches of the trail are lined with towering redwoods. We started our hike on the main Dimond Canyon Trail, and took the mostly flat trail to the end, where a set of stairs takes you down among the redwoods and to the creek. We hiked back up, retraced our steps back to the trail split off and took the Old Cañon Trail down. This quickly led us over the creek, and then the trail climbed back up and eventually snaked back down along the creek. We stuck to the Old Cañon Trail which will lead you out to El Centro Ave/Hanly Rd. We usually choose to park on Oakmore Rd and take one of Oakland's hidden staircases up to the park, since the entrance on Bridgeview drive is a narrow street that's difficult to turn around on. From where we exited on El Centro Ave, it's only a few blocks back to where we parked. However, you can also choose to retrace your steps through the park to reach where you started. We ended up hiking about 3 miles through the park today.
June 4, 2016 Lake Temescal Today we enjoyed a leisurely hike along Lake Temescal in Oakland. Although it has started to cool off today, it was still warm and muggy, so this was the perfect easy hike for today. You can walk the lower loop around the lake in a little less than 1 mile, but we also hiked the upper loop, which has some stairs and steep sections, for a total hike of just under 2 miles. A lot of the lower trail is shady, and there's even some shade on the upper trails. The trail closest to the freeway is paved and can get hot under your dog's paws.
June 3, 2016 Leona Heights Park This morning we enjoyed a shady hike along the creek at Leona Heights Park in Oakland. This trail transverses the creek several times via log bridges. It also has some log stairs and steeper sections to give you a short workout on a hot day. You can hike all the way to the top for views overlooking the bay, but on a hot day I recommend turning back at the top and retracing your steps. The hike down on the other side of the park is a dirt trail that is mostly exposed to sunlight and will get too hot under your dog's paws. Even if you turn back at the top, you should be able to make it into a 1.5 to 2 mile hike.
Shady Trail Recommendations for Hot Days I would recommend early morning hikes to beat the heat. Remember to bring plenty of water to keep your pooch hydrated! If you can't hike in the morning, I have a few shady Bay Area hikes I can recommend. Remember not to tackle anything too strenuous, because even if it's shady it can still be a difficult hike for you dog. Also, test trails and asphalt with the palm of your hand. If it's too hot to hold your hand on the ground, it's too hot for your dog's paws! Here are my recommendations for easy, shady hikes and walks:
Redwood Regional Park, Oakland: Park near Redwood Bowl and you can hike down Graham Trail for about half a mile in almost complete shade. The hike back is not too strenuous. You could also hike Madrone Trail to French Trail to Redwood Peak Trail. This is about a 1.4 mile scenic hike which dips down into the shaded valley and follows the stream. It has a steep incline on the way up for a great workout, but usually stays cool since you're hiking down into the valley floor. Just make sure it's not too hot because it's a steep hike back. Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland: Hike the 2 mile loop combining the Big Trees Trail and the Sequoia Bayview Trail. This hike is mostly shady, it has a couple hills but is not challenging. You will hike through towering redwoods and you can hear the stream below the trail. Robert's Park, Oakland: This is a large park with easy hiking trails snaking through groves of redwood trees. You and your dog are free to explore Robert's Ridge Trail, Graham Trail, and the Manzanita Loop Trail. Dimond Canyon Park, Oakland:This is a great park with shady trails, and you can hike the mostly flat Bridgeview trail for an easy, less than 2 mile hike. Montclair Railroad Trail, Oakland:This is a beautiful hike in the Oakland hills, above Montclair Village. The 1.5 mile paved Montclair Railroad Trail was once part of the route of the Sacramento Northern Railway, which took passenger between Oakland and Chico from 1912 to 1957. The trail is mostly shady and an easy stroll for a hot day. Temescal, Oakland: This park has a scenic 1-mile trail looping around the base of the lake with plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy the view. You can start your walk at the base of the lake on the Eastshore Trail or Landvale Station Trail to the Dam Trail, and then you can hike uphill on the Oak Bay Trail and that will take you back to the parking lot. Although there’s a steep grade ascending and descending the Oak Bay Trail, it’s still an easy hike and there is significant shade along the route. Just remember to keep your dog out of the water, as it has been contaminated with algae. Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Oakland:Starting from the Big Bear Staging Area, off of Redwood Road, you'll have a shady, scenic hike along the creek and through groves of moss-lined trees. The beginning of the hike is mostly flat and shaded on MacDonald Trail, from here you'll cross the Macdonald Staging Area and continue along the creek. Take the Bird Trail to your right, and follow it along the creek, over planks and bridges. It will loop back to your left and you can take MacDonald Trail back. Right before you return to where you parked, take the Big Bear Trail on your left, and it will climb up and loop around about 0.4 miles and en at a fire trail gate just a little up from where you parked. Walk the shoulder of the road back. This hike is a little less than 2 miles with a few steep sections and some stairs. You can easily extend this hike if it isn't too hot via nearby trails. Albany Bulb, Albany: The Albany Bulb is an interesting place, because once you loop around the bulb, you'll encounter some huge eclectic art installations along the water. Although it's not all shaded, it usually stays pretty cool because of the bay breeze, and your dog can also take a dip in the water to cool off. The Buchanan Dog Beach is also a swimming option, located near the parking lot. Martin Canyon Creek Trail, Dublin: Easy walk along the creek, mostly shaded, with options to connect to Dublin Hills Regional Park. You can hike roughly 4 miles roundtrip in the shade.
May 30, 2016 2.2 Mile Urban Hike SF: Ina Coolbrith Park, Hidden Stairwells of SF, Lombard St Today we went on an urban hike in SF, which took us through several parks, some hidden stairwells of the city, and even onto the famous Lombard Street. I definitely consider this a hike, because it took us up some very steep streets and it was a great workout. Ina Coolbrith Park has incredible views of the bay bridge, downtown SF, Alcatraz, and the bay. Finding the hidden stairwells and beautifully decorated alleyways was a lot of fun. Walking down Lombard Street was pretty cool, and so much more enjoyable than driving. We even ended with a picnic in the sun at a dog-friendly park. I mapped out our route with a detailed description, pictures, and how to find the hidden stairwells and alleyways. Click below for more info.
May 29, 2016 Interior Greenbelt We hiked the Interior Greenbelt, part of Mt. Sutro, from a very cool urban entrance that you'd most likely miss if you weren't looking for it. You can access it via a wooden stairwell located between two houses, and almost immediately you'll be transported into a huge forest surrounded by towering blue gem eucalyptus trees. Follow the Historic Trail to Mount Sutro, and you'll have 72 acres of trails to explore.
May 26, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park - Palos Colorados Trail Today we hiked the beautiful shady trails snaking above the creek and through the redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park. We love this trail because it's not well known and less crowded than the rest of the park. It also has it's own entrance on Joaquin Miller Ct.
May 20, 2016 Crockett Hills Regional Park Checkout our beautiful hike at the 1,900+ acre Crockett Hills Regional Park. This park offers breezy trails with intermittent shade, views of the San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Bridge, Mount Diablo and Mount Tam.
May 19, 2016 Buchanan Dog Beach Today we hiked and finished our day at the beautiful Buchanan Dog Beach in Albany. This beach has warm water, gentle waves, and friendly, off-leash dogs. It also has views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. After swimming at the beach, you can walk to Albany Bulb and view some interesting art while your dog dries off. Check out our video below.
May 18, 2016 Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area This morning we checked out the mostly shaded trails surrounding the lake at Cull Canyon. This was a beautiful, easy hike, that was perfect for today since it was heating up.
May 16, 2016 Anthony Chabot Regional Park Today we had a beautiful hike on the lower Anthony Chabot trails, beginning our hike at the MacDonald Staging Area in Oakland. The MacDonald Trail starts off shady, and we soon took the Bird Trail to the right. This took us over a plank and a few bridges, crossing the stream and meandering through moss-lined trees and fern speckled trails. Eventually we ended up back on the MacDonald Trail, which took us up the hillside via a number of switchbacks. The trail soon opened up, and steep stretches yielded canyon views. We hiked up to Parkridge drive and back, which about a 3-mile roundtrip hike. You can continue your hike all the way to Lake Chabot, but it is several miles away. During our hike we saw a harmless ring-necked snake. I've seen 5 of these on trails this year. Fortunately we have not seen any rattlesnakes, and Bailey has no interest in snakes. Keep an eye out on sunny dirt trails, because you'll often see snakes sunning themselves. Most snakes are not aggressive and they usually feel you approaching and will slither away before you reach them. Just keep an eye out so you don't startle one. Check out the video clips below from our hike.
May 14, 2016 New Map Features! I've been working on a new feature by request of some of my followers and I'm pleased to announce it's up an running! I further customized the map I created by adding new icons so that you can easily view if a park is off-leash or requires a leash. Below are some screenshots showing the new features. Click the link to view the full map with over 100 adventures spanning Northern California. I realize that there are quite a few categories, so refer to the map key to learn the icons. You can also click on the map key embedded in the map by clicking on the arrow, and if you click on an individual icon, it will highlight all of those on the map (refer to third screenshot). Please read the individual adventure page specifications for leash requirements. Some parks are mostly off-leash but have specific trails that require dogs to be leashed on. I have noted this under the "regulations" section of each hike description.
May 12, 2016 Don Castro Regional Recreation Area - Waterfall Hike! I knew this park existed for a while, but had no idea it had actual hiking trails until I visited. I was pleasantly surprised by everything it has to offer. It has miles of hiking trails and spans about 100 acres. It even has a waterfall that was flowing pretty well despite not having any recent rain. You can loop around the entire lake on mostly shady trails and you can even connect to the nearby Five Canyons Open Space Preserve. I created a short video of clips from our hike (see below).
May 10, 2016 Anthony Chabot Regional Park (Lake Chabot) This morning we started our hike from the Clyde Woolridge Staging Area in off of Grass Valley Rd and Skyline Blvd in Oakland. We followed Goldenrod Trail down to Bass Cove Trail and were at the edge of the lake in about 1.5 miles. The Castro Valley side of the lake is very popular and the parking lot is always a zoo, so we prefer to start on this side where there's a large parking lot with free parking, and it's usually not very crowded. You can hike the entire lake from here, looping all the way to Castro Valley and back. Watch for mountain bikers zooming down some of the steep trails. Also, on a small section of the paved Goldenrod trail there's a warning about golf carts. The golf course adjacent to the park uses this small stretch of paved trail, and you may see a golf cart riding by. Today was the first time we've encountered one and Bailey had fun running after it.
May 9, 2016 Redwood Regional Park This morning we had a wet, foggy, beautiful hike through the redwoods. If it's a cloudy morning, the forest is often covered in a thick cloud of fog in the early morning. Hiking in the fog through towering redwoods and vibrant green ferns transports me back to the rainforests of Washington. I highly recommend an early morning hike to get a glimpse of this beauty. We usually start from the Redwood Bowl Staging Area and hike down into the valley via the Madrone and/or Redwood Peak trails. The Redwood Bowl Staging Area parking lot will be closed tomorrow, May 10th, for maintenance.
May 7, 2016 Morgan Territory Regional Preserve This morning we hiked an incredible hidden gem in Livermore, thanks to a recommendation from one of my followers, Ben. Thank you, Ben, for sharing such a special place. I may not have found it without you! This 4,708-acre park is a hidden gem with a lot to offer. There are shady, moss-covered trails running along the creek, open meadows filled with wildflowers, and ridgetop views of Mount Diablo, St. Helena and the Sierras. Only a few minutes into our hike, we passed through a forest running along the creek that was lined with moss-covered boulders. Our magical hike began and I was already in love with this place. We hiked down into the valley and up onto the ridge, and ended up catching some rain and getting soaked, but it was well worth it.
HikesDogsLove YouTube Channel! I'm excited to announce that I will now try to feature short videos showcasing the highlights of each of our new hikes! Check out the Hikes Dogs Love YouTube channel and our first video on Vargas Plateau below.
May 5, 2016 Vargas Plateau Regional Park - Grand Opening!! Today we went to the grand opening of Vargas Plateau Regional Park in Fremont. Bailey was one of the first dogs to ever hike this park! We had a lot of fun and only encountered a few people on the trails. This park has panoramic views of the bay area, from San Jose all the way to the San Mateo Bridge. There are steep hills in this park, great vista points, and even a few ponds spread throughout the park. However, getting here is a little tricky. Click the link below for all the info you should know before you visit.
May 3, 2016 EBMUD Trails Today we hiked the beautiful, secluded EBMUD trails. An inexpensive trail permit is required to hike these trails, but you can purchase one for $10 and it will give you access for a full year (plus you can bring guests for free!). Today we started from the Valle Vista Staging Area, signed in and headed left on the trail. At the next split off, we headed left again, which took us down along a tree-lined trail, over a bridge, and along some horse stables. We had a beautiful view of the reservoir during our hike and found a peaceful bench to sit on a bird watch at the edge of the water. The trails we took were part of the Riche Loop Trail to the King's Canyon Loop Trail that follows along the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. The trails are dog-friendly for 3.6 miles, and then you will have to turn back at the Rancho Laguna Park Staging Area. The entire hike would be 7.2 miles, but you can turn back anytime. I highly recommend this peaceful, scenic hike!
May 2, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we hiked the lesser-traveled lower trails of Redwood Regional. I'm a big fan of hiking these trails on weekends, because we usually have them all to ourselves. Today we didn't pass anyone, only some deer and about 10 horses in the stables. You get to walk right past them on the Golden Spike Trail. Most of the lower trails are shaded and run along the creek, and at the top you'll have ridge views of the canyon. For this hike, park at the Big Bear Staging area, cross the street at the crosswalk and you'll cross a bridge over a stream and head to your left when the trail splits. The trail will split again to your right, and take Toyon Trail up. You will end up on the West Ridge Trail. Be careful here, as you'll have to walk up a few hundred feet of the steep trail, and bicyclists often come flying down. It's a short stretch, so just keep your dog close by. The trail will flatten out and you'll take the Tate Trail to your left. This heads downhill and to the horse stables at the intersection of the Golden Spike Trail. Take this trail back to where you started. This entire loop is only about 3 miles with an elevation change of about 800ft up to 1000ft, and you can easily extend it into a longer hike by taking nearby trails.
May 1, 2016 It's going to be another hot one today! Remember that sunny trails get hot under your dog's paws. If you haven't already gotten in an early morning hike, stick to shady/easy trails, or even check out a beach or swim spot where your dog can get some exercise and cool down.
April 29, 2016 Cesar Chavez Park This morning we were at Caesar Chavez Park. A less crowded nearby alternative to Point Isabel (although it does get busy in the afternoon on weekends). Although dogs are required to be leashed around the perimeter of the park, there is a large off-leash area in the center. This park has gorgeous views of the bay and is highly recommended.
April 28, 2016 Fernandez Ranch Today we checked out a new park in Martinez. This park is little-known and even hard to find. It's is a beautiful dog-friendly 700-acre park where your dog can run off-leash and you can take in ridge top views. You can hike up along the hillside, dotted with purple and yellow wildflowers, until you reach a lookout point with views of the bay. Although we saw grazing cattle from the lookout point, we did not encounter any on the trails. Thank you to Pete for another great recommendation.
April 25, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we're back at our go-to park, which never disappoints. I'm most fortunate to have this park so nearby. We chose to hike the loop from Redwood Bowl>West Ridge>Madrone>French>Fern and back up the West Ridge Trail. Most of this hike is shady (except the West Ridge section), and you'll be hiking towards the valley floor among towering Redwoods and vibrant green ferns. This hike is not too strenuous. The end of the French Trail has steep sections but many switch backs, so it isn't too bad. You will have to climb two short hills up the West Ridge Trail to return to where you started. This hike is about three miles but can easily be extended by finishing the loop on nearby trails.
April 24, 2016 Leona Heights We spent the morning at the picturesque Leona Heights in Oakland. My friends actually wanted to take their engagement photos here. It has beautiful, shaded trails running along the creek and several wooden bridges crossing the water throughout the hike. You can hike the entire loop for a great workout with some steep sections, and even Bay views at the top. Click the link below for more info.
April 22, 2016 Earth Day & Mighty Mutt March! Happy Earth Day! Today we hiked Dimond Canyon Park in Oakland. The trailhead now has a new bench, and the habitat restoration looks more complete with a cool little garden nearby. It's a shame that people aren't able to keep our beautiful trails clean, but we always try to pick up some trash on our way to the garbage. We got quite the haul today!
On another note, tomorrow is the Mutt March at Crissy Field! It's a protest to keep our bay area parks dog-friendly and off-leash. 11AM-1PM. Golden Gate National Recreation Area has been fighting hard to cut dog walking in the area by 90%, so please stop by for this important event. I've provided a link below.
April 21, 2016 Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Today we hiked a new park and Bailey had an incredible time. This park is like the East Bay's version of Fort Funston, or a larger version of Point Isabel, except it doesn't have the crowds! It's also very close to Point Isabel, so this will probably become our Point Isabel replacement. There are miles of mostly flat, off-leash trails and a huge beach with gentle waves for swimming. This place is definitely worth checking out! And thank you to Pete for the recommendation!
April 15-19, 2016 Washington! I went on some amazing hikes in the state of Washington! I am in the process of bringing you guys more amazing dog-friendly vacation hikes!
April 14, 2016 Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline We spent the morning at the beautiful Oyster Bay, a park with something for everyone. You can take an easy stroll along the water's edge, have a BBQ picnic in the grass, or run around on some some off-leash fields and small hills in the center of the park. You will also be able to find some cool art installations. There has been a lot of construction at this park during the last year, and I've heard that it may not be around much longer. Enjoy it while you can!
April 13, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park Today we started our hike from our secret starting point. We never park on Joaquin Miller Road because there are so many car break-ins. Last year, we went for a short hike around 4pm and parked on Joaquin Miller Rd near Bishop's Walk Trail. When I came back my car window was smashed in for no apparent reason (I never leave anything in my car, and nothing was rummaged through). I started paying attention to all the broken glass on Joaquin Miller Rd, read some Yelp reviews, and realized it's a very common occurrence. We now start our hikes from safer spots: the Redwood Bowl parking area, Joaquin Miller Ct (off of Mountain Blvd), or near Woodminister Lane, like we did today. There's a trailhead for Sinawik Trail right off of Woodside Glen Ct. After a steep but shady hike up a short paved trail, you'll reach Bishop's Walk Trail, which will take you to the Lookout overlooking the city. You can continue on Sinawik Trail for a shady hike under the trees, or follow the main paved trail up (Sanborn Dr), to see the unique structures built by the poet Joaquin Miller: The Funeral Pyre, Pyramid to Moses, and the Browning Monument. Below is a picture of the Pyramid to Moses, built in 1892. It's an easy and fun hike to find all the structures in the park.
April 12, 2016 Fairmont Ridge Today we hiked the scenic Fairmont Ridge in San Leandro. Although the EBParks trail map shows that this park only has one short paved trail running through the center, there are miles of trails on the hillsides to the right and left of the paved trail. This park has panoramic views of the bay as well as views of Lake Chabot from above. Although it's mostly exposed to sunlight, there's usually a nice breeze at the top, and the hillside facing the bay gets windy. However, I still wouldn't recommend hiking this on a very hot day.
April 10, 2016 Tilden Regional Park: Waterfall hike! Today we went hiking in search of the waterfall at Tilden! We had a beautiful, shady hike along the creek and found the waterfall, an large waterfall (spillway), flowing from Lake Anza. This waterfall is wider than it is high, with about an 8ft tall section, but small cascades totaling about 20ft. The pictures don't do it justice because there was a significant flow, but it also wasn't in full force. To reach it, park at the Lake Anza parking lot, begin your walk around the lake and take a right over the first bridge. Take a left on Wildcat Gorge Trail. You will soon hear the water, and after a steep hike down (this section can get muddy & slippery), you will see the waterfall on your left. Above the waterfall and to your left you can find a huge rock face with a small cave. From here you can continue your hike down, opposite the waterfall, via the trail near the small stone cabin. This trail continues along the stream and is mostly flat, and it crosses the stream twice. After a little less than a mile, you can make a right on the Meadows Canyon Trail, which has some steep sections. After 1.43 miles, make a right on Curran Trail, and in 0.62 miles you will be back to where you started on the Wildcat Gorge Trail. This loop is approximately a 3 mile, moderate hike. WARNING: Please pay attention to signs around the lake throughout the year. During the summer months Lake Anza was contaminated with toxic Blue Green Algae, and runoff from the lake cascades down the spillway. Keep your dog on a leash and do not let you dog drink from or swim in the water if it is contaminated, as this could be deadly.
April 8, 2016 Leona Heights Park Today we hiked the little-known Leona Heights Park off of Mountain Blvd (not to be confused with Leona Canyon Park). This is a beautiful park with a trail that runs along a stream, crosses it multiple times via some cool bridges, and even yields views of the bay at the top. You can hike this park in less than an hour, but it has some steep sections for a great workout.
Hiking in the Heat The Bay is going through a little heat wave right now, and it's supposed to be especially hot tomorrow! I would recommend early morning hikes to beat the heat. Remember to bring plenty of water to keep your pooch hydrated! If you can't hike in the morning, I have a few shady Bay Area hikes I can recommend. Remember not to tackle anything too strenuous, because even if it's shady it can still be a difficult hike for you dog. Here are my recommendations for easy, shady hikes and walks:
Redwood Regional Park, Oakland: Park near Redwood Bowl and you can hike down Graham Trail for about half a mile in almost complete shade. The hike back is not too strenuous. You could also hike Madrone Trail to French Trail to Redwood Peak Trail. This is about a 1.4 mile scenic hike which dips down into the shaded valley and follows the stream. It has a steep incline on the way up for a great workout, but usually stays cool since you're hiking down into the valley floor. Just make sure it's not too hot because it's a steep hike back. Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland: Hike the 2 mile loop combining the Big Trees Trail and the Sequoia Bayview Trail. This hike is mostly shady, it has a couple hills but is not challenging. You will hike through towering redwoods and you can hear the stream below the trail. Robert's Park, Oakland: This is a large park with easy hiking trails snaking through groves of redwood trees. You and your dog are free to explore Robert's Ridge Trail, Graham Trail, and the Manzanita Loop Trail. Dimond Canyon Park, Oakland:This is a great park with shady trails, and you can hike the mostly flat Bridgeview trail for an easy, less than 2 mile hike. Montclair Railroad Trail, Oakland:This is a beautiful hike in the Oakland hills, above Montclair Village. The 1.5 mile paved Montclair Railroad Trail was once part of the route of the Sacramento Northern Railway, which took passenger between Oakland and Chico from 1912 to 1957. The trail is mostly shady and an easy stroll for a hot day. Temescal, Oakland: This park has a scenic 1-mile trail looping around the base of the lake with plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy the view. You can start your walk at the base of the lake on the Eastshore Trail or Landvale Station Trail to the Dam Trail, and then you can hike uphill on the Oak Bay Trail and that will take you back to the parking lot. Although there’s a steep grade ascending and descending the Oak Bay Trail, it’s still an easy hike and there is significant shade along the route. Just remember to keep your dog out of the water, as it has been contaminated with algae. Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Oakland:Starting from the Big Bear Staging Area, off of Redwood Road, you'll have a shady, scenic hike along the creek and through groves of moss-lined trees. The beginning of the hike is mostly flat and shaded on MacDonald Trail, from here you'll cross the Macdonald Staging Area and continue along the creek. Take the Bird Trail to your right, and follow it along the creek, over planks and bridges. It will loop back to your left and you can take MacDonald Trail back. Right before you return to where you parked, take the Big Bear Trail on your left, and it will climb up and loop around about 0.4 miles and en at a fire trail gate just a little up from where you parked. Walk the shoulder of the road back. This hike is a little less than 2 miles with a few steep sections and some stairs. You can easily extend this hike if it isn't too hot via nearby trails. Albany Bulb, Albany: The Albany Bulb is an interesting place, because once you loop around the bulb, you'll encounter some huge eclectic art installations along the water. Although it's not all shaded, it usually stays pretty cool because of the bay breeze, and your dog can also take a dip in the water to cool off.
April 6, 2015 Anthony Chabot Regional Park We were looking for a mostly shaded, not too strenuous hike today and decided on Anthony Chabot. We started our hike at the Big Bear Staging Area, off of Redwood Road in Oakland. This is a shady, scenic hike along the creek and through groves of moss-lined trees. The beginning of the hike on MacDonald Trail is shady and mostly flat. You'll cross the Macdonald Staging Area and continue along the creek. Take the Bird Trail to your right, it will head uphill and you'll have to climb several short sets of stairs. Follow it along the creek (to the left when it splits), and the trail will cross the creek several times, over planks and bridges. It will eventually loop back to your left via another bridge, and you can take the MacDonald Trail back. Right before you return to where you parked, take the Big Bear Trail on your left, and it will climb up and loop around about 0.4 miles and en at a fire trail gate just a little up from where you parked. Walk the shoulder of the road back. The EBParks map is not very accurate for these trails, which is why I provided the description. This hike is a little less than 2 miles with a few steep sections and some stairs. You'll definitely break a sweat, and it's a great, short workout. You can easily extend this hike if it isn't too hot via nearby trails.
April 5, 2016 Strawberry Canyon We continued hiking in Berkeley today with a morning hike in Strawberry Canyon. This is a beautiful hike with some strenuous hills for a great workout. You'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the bay after a strenuous hike. The upper trails can get hot, so I'd recommend this as an early morning hike.
April 4, 2016 Claremont Canyon This morning we had a gorgeous sunrise hike at Claremont Canyon. We started at the lower entrance, near the Claremont Hotel and hiked all the way up to Tilden park. Most people stop at the the bench overlooking the city, but the trail that continues up is gorgeous and definitely worth the strenuous hike.
April 3, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park: Palos Colorados Trail Today we started our Joaquin Miller Park hike at our favorite entrance, just off of Joaquin Miller Road. We love to start hiking in Dimond Canyon Park and cross over to Joaquin Miller for a longer hike. Today the beginning of the trail was a little washed out from the creek, which I've never seen before, but I was glad to see so much water despite any rain over the last few days. This is a shady hike with a few hills. You'll have a scenic, moderate workout and can hike up through Joaquin Miller Park for as long of a workout as you desire.
April 2, 2016 Leona Canyon Open Space Preserve Today we picked up some friends and went on a group hike at Leona Canyon. My friends were looking for a moderate, shady hike, so this was the perfect spot! We stayed on the main Leona Trail and hiked all the way to Merritt College and back, which was about 2.6 miles. There area also options to take split offs of the Artemisa or Pyrite Trails, which are short but steep and more challenging. During out hike we found a very old, rusty car in the creek. As many times as we've hiked here, this was the first time we've noticed it. There's also an old hunter's cabin and you can spot the stone chimney on the opposite side from the creek, a little past the Pyrite trail head. It's so strange to think about what this park used to look like and how a car landed in the creek, so far from the road!
March 30, 2016 Lake Merritt Today we took it easy and had a picnic and sunset walk at Lake Merritt. Looping the lake is a little over 3 miles, and it's a great place to walk when you're not up for a hike. Tonight there was even a saxophone player, who sat by the lake for a couple hours and provided live music. The lake is beautiful, with ample benches and picnic tables, and you'll even see people reading books in the grass. I especially love walking the lake at sunset, because it's lit up by a string of lights and looks incredible.
March 29, 2016 Mori Point This incredible 32-acre park offers hikes with panoramic coastal views, red-legged frog ponds and even a dog-friendly beach. You can choose to make this a leisurely stroll along the coast, or a more challenging hike up the cliff side.
March 28, 2016 McNee Ranch State Park (Montara Mountain) We had a gorgeous hike along the coast in San Mateo County. The Gray Whale Cove Trail is an easy hike, and it snakes along the cliffs above the ocean, providing gorgeous views. The trail is lush and green, and dotted with purple iris flowers. There are more difficult trails you can connect to within the park for a more strenuous hike, even up 2,000ft to the top of Montara Mountain.
March 27, 2016 Happy Easter from Bailey and I! We're currently on a road trip. Stay tuned!
Yosemite! I've completed my ultimate guide to dog-friendly Yosemite! I did a ton of research before my trip last week, but couldn't find much compared to what I documented in person. Yosemite has over 10 miles of dog-friendly trails, along with plenty of roads dogs are allowed on. Unfortunately you're not allowed to hike to the top of any waterfalls, but you and your dog can get some breathtaking views of just about all the landmarks in the park. These trails are also stroller-friendly, so Yosemite would make a great relaxing vacation for the entire family.
March 22, 2016 Five Canyons Open Space Preserve 300-acres may seem small, but this little-known park has a lot to offer! You'll have quite a variety: panoramic ridge-top views overlooking the bay, moss-lined shady trails along a flowing creek, relatively flat trails, and steep trails for a great workout. You can hike through this park to Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area, to Don Castro Regional Recreation Area, and trail improvements will soon link Garin, Dry Creek, and Mission Peak Regional Preserve.
March 20, 2016 Marin Headlands Today we explored some dog-friendly trails in the Marin Headlands. Although there are only a few dog-friendly trails, it's definitely worth the trip. The Coastal Trail yields views of SF, the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. Your hike on the hillside around Slacker Hill is lush and green, and you won't even feel like you're near the city until your get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge!
Unfortunately the NPS has proposed a rule to ban dog-walking in a significant amount of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including some of the Marin Headlands. Please take a minute to sign the Change.org petition so that dogs can continue to enjoy hiking in this area, spanning over 80,000 acres of land (link below).
March 17-19th, 2016 Yosemite! I was in Yosemite for several days and pleasantly surprised by how much of the park is dog-friendly I am currently working on the ultimate dog-friendly guide to Yosemite. Pics and updates to come this week!
March 16, 2016 Claremont Canyon This morning we soaked up the sunshine and hiked Claremont Canyon. We stopped and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the bay on one of our favorite trails, which appears on new maps as the "Side Hill Trail." I've rarely seen anyone else on this trail, probably because you wouldn't be able to find it if you didn't know where to look. From the upper Claremont Canyon parking pullout, hike uphill 0.35 miles, turn right at the fork, continue until you come to the first bend and look for a curved tree to your right. If you look closely, you'll see a trail in the bushes. There's a log at the entrance, and you'll have to duck under some tree branches, but soon you'll come out onto the open ridge dotted with wildflowers. Hike up the rock and dirt trail a bit and turn around for amazing views of the bay and a great view of the Bay Bridge. If you go further, up to the bend, you'll be able to see over the hill with views of the city on either side. You can take this trail up 0.45 miles, and cut over the East West Trail and retrace your steps for a total hike of just under 2 miles. For a longer hike, you can also hike into Tilden from the top of the Side Hill Trail, or even down into Strawberry from the fork Canyon. The beginning stretch of this hike is currently muddy, but manageable.
March 14, 2016 Joaquin Miller Park Today we took advantage of the extra hour of daylight and hiked in Joaquin Miller Park. We started at the trailhead off of Skyline Blvd and hiked a couple of our favorite trails: Big Trees and the Sequoia Bayview Trail. You can hike this loop in a 2 mile round trip, or connect to nearby trails for a longer hike. It's a beautiful, mostly shady hike through redwood trees, and it's a great loop for trail running.
March 12, 2016 Upper Knowland Park Today we visited the San Leandro side of Upper Knowland Park (we usually start from the Oakland side on Skyline Blvd). Sadly, the zoo has begun its expansion and has already built a chain link fence, which cut off access to some of the trails. They also have a permit to cut down 50 oak trees. This is still a beautiful off-leash hike with views of the city, but this side of the park is significantly smaller and now there are less hills to hike due to the fence.
March 11, 2016 Redwood Regional Park Today we hiked one of my favorite local parks. It began pouring rain shortly after we started hiking, and the trails were very foggy. The mist and fog created an eerie beauty that made me not even think twice about getting soaked during our hike. The trails are often foggy in the early mornings on cold days. I would highly recommend an early morning hike for a glimpse of this scenery!
March 10, 2016 EBMUD Trails - Oursan Trail This morning we beat the rain and hiked another EBMUD trail - this time starting from the Bear Creek Staging Area in Lafayette. The trails were pretty muddy in certain areas, but the hike was incredible with green hills and views of the Briones Reservoir! An inexpensive trail permit is required to hike this trail ($3/day or $10/year), but it's well worth it.
March 8, 2016 Dimond Canyon Park Today we hiked one of our favorite parks in Oakland, Dimond Canyon. This is a hidden gem, which currently has a gushing creek and always has shady, green trails. You'll find the trailhead just off of Leimert Blvd in Oakland.
March 6, 2016 Fairway Falls We've just been on local hikes for the last few days, but decided to do something exciting today. If you've been following me, you know I've been trying to complete just about every dog-friendly waterfall hike in Marin, and these two in particular were wonderful. This is a scenic hike to a 30-ft cascading waterfall in Ignacio Valley Preserve. It's an easy hike, mostly in the shady forest which is lined with towering moss-covered trees. The creek cascades along much of the trail, making this a gorgeous hike.
Indian Valley Open Space Preserve I'm not even sure if the waterfall itself was the highlight of this hike, because the entire hike was so beautiful. Everything was green and the creek was flowing along just about the entire trail. The cascading creek seemed to create mini waterfalls in several spots. There are over 500 acres of trails in this preserve, and dogs are allowed to be off-leash on the fire trail that runs through the park.
March 3, 2016 Briones Regional Park Today we hiked Briones Regional Park in Martinez. This park spans over 6,200 acres and has ridge trails with views of the city, shady oak trails and grassy hillsides that go on for miles. There are even several ponds and a creek, which makes this park reminiscent of Wildcat Canyon. We saw a lot of newts on the trail, and although cattle roam freely, they don't bother people or dogs. NOTE: During the week of March 7, Briones will be spraying the herbicide "Milestone" by helicopter to prevent the growth of a highly invasive plant, yellow star thistle.
March 2, 2016 EMBUD Trails Today we hiked some EBMUD trails and enjoyed a secluded, scenic hike through grassy hills and with views of the San Leandro reservoir. There are a few dog-friendly trails above Redwood Regional Park and Tilden Park that are owned by EBMUD, and you must have a permit to hike them. The fee is $3 for a one-time day hike or only $10 for an entire year of hiking (plus your guests can come for free). The fees get even cheaper ($30 for 5 years). I usually avoid hiking places where I have to pay a fee because there are so many free places to hike, but it's definitely worth $10 for an entire year of hiking these trails. I will continue to hike more of these trail in the near future. Click below for everything you'll need to know about these trails.
March 1, 2016 Anthony Chabot Regional Park - Puppies! Today we stopped for a shady hike at Macdonald Staging Area and I noticed a furball run near Redwood Road. I parked and walked over and saw two little puppies near the side of the road. They were drooling profusely and appeared sick. I got some treats out of my car and some water and coaxed them away from the road to a grassy area for snacks. They seemed friendly but were very skittish and I couldn't get closer than about 3 feet from them. I spent about an hour trying to gain their trust, but I couldn't get any closer. I heard a whimper across the parking area and found a third puppy, who eventually came over to get treats as well. Two nice people stopped their hike and came over to help. We were able to catch one puppy, but the others ran down in the thick blackberry bushes near the creek. Some of my Instagram followers came out to help (thank you!), and EBRPD came out to help. We were wading in the creek and getting cut up by thorns, but after 3 hours we caught all of them. They were scared, but you could see how friendly and cuddly they were after we caught them and they interacted with us. EBRPD told me that they would review video footage to see if they could find who abandoned the puppies and prosecute them. They said that a rescue wouldn't take them until they were in the shelter system, and offered to take them to the Dublin animal shelter since it's less crowded than Oakland. I wish I could have kept them, but I wouldn't know where to start with three feral puppies.
UPDATE: They have been saved by the awesome Tri-Valley Animal Rescue and are currently with a foster family!
February 28, 2016 Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve This morning we hiked Sobrante Ridge, which is close to Wildcat Canyon and just down the street from Kennedy Grove. It's a beautiful park with a shady manzanita forest, ridgetop views of they bay, and perfectly placed picnic tables. We only passed 2 other people during our entire hike, but we saw multiple deer, and one even came close to us while we stopped for a break at a picnic table! We ended up hiking every trail, so click below for all the details and pictures.
February 27, 2016 Wildcat Canyon Regional Park Today we finally made it to Wildcat Canyon, and I'm glad we did because it was even better than expected! This park is HUGE- nearly 2,500 acres- with bay views and wide open space for as far as you can see. We ran into a couple cows, but we just kept our distance and it was fine. Some of the trails are a little hard to follow because there are so many side trails, but it makes it feel less crowded and your dog has more space to run free.
February 26, 2016 Claremont Canyon - Willow Trail & Summit House Trail Checkout these little-known trails on the opposite side of Claremont Ave from Panoramic Trail. These trails aren't even on the EBParks website, but it's a beautiful, peaceful hike along the creek! You can make this into a short loop or hike all the way down to another little-known trailhead.
February 25, 2016 Frowning Ridge Fire Trails Wonder where I took the picture of the panoramic view of the bay, which is on my homepage (at the top of this page?) It was on the firetrails above UC Berkeley at Frowing Ridge. These unmarked firetrails are beautiful and yield breathtaking views of the bay. From these trails you can hike below the Grizzly Peak lookouts, down into Claremont Canyon, Strawberry Canyon, and even into Tilden Park. Since these trails are unmarked, I have mapped out detailed routes so you can easily follow. Click the link below to see detailed maps and pictures.
February 24, 2016 Anthony Chabot Regional Park We love the Oakland entrance to the park because there's a free parking lot, and it's not crowded like the Castro Valley side. We can stay up in the hills, and Bailey can run off-leash without having to worry about her having contact with the toxic blue-green algae in the water. There's also the option of hiking down to the lake, but I always make sure to leash Bailey when she's near the water. Don't take any chances because sadly, in the past, dogs drinking the water have died from the toxic algae. You can let you dog frollick in these hills and safely view the beautiful lake from a distance.
February 23, 2016 Upper Knowland Park This is a 500-acre open space in the Oakland hills with grassy fields, hilly trails, and panoramic views of the bay. It has several entrances, but is a little difficult to find if you aren't familiar. You should enjoy this park while you can, because unfortunately it may not last. The Oakland Zoo has plans to expand and take away much of this open space from the public. However, Knowland Park Supporters are fighting to preserve this land.
February 20, 2016 Cascade Falls We found a new dog-friendly waterfall hike! This was a beautiful hike, reminiscent of Cataract Falls, except a much easier hike. Parking is a little tricky, so I suggest going early. The hike starts out along a creek, which was flowing well after all the rain. You'll follow this creek and eventually cross over a make-shift bridge, and then another (real) bridge, until the trail starts heading uphill. After turning a corner you'll be surprisingly rewarded with the 25 ft Cascade Falls, which flows into a small pool below. You can walk up to a second bridge and even view it from the top.
February 19, 2016 Cataract Falls We took advantage of the rain we've had lately and decided to hike Cataract Falls. To our delight, it was in full force. This is a beautiful hike, abundant with trees, vibrant green ferns and moss-lined trails. The beginning of the hike snakes around the gorgeous Alpine Lake. If you hike this trail after the rain, you will follow the stream and the lower falls for most of the hike. There are a lot of stairs, and a decent incline, but you can reach the top of the falls in about 1.5 miles. There are additional trails after the falls, should you wish to extend your hike.
February 18, 2016 Redwood Regional Park This is my first day back from vacation, and Bailey and hiked one of our favorite loops. We parked at Redwood Bowl and hiked Madrone Trail to French Trail to Redwood Peak Trail. This is about a 1.4 mile scenic hike which dips down into the shaded valley and follows the stream. It has a steep incline on the way up for a great workout. This loop can easily be extended by taking one of the many connecting trails. We personally love French Trail.
February 10-February 17, 2016 I was gone for a week, visiting New Jersey, New York and Iceland. I will soon add Liberty State Park in NJ and Central Park in NY. I also met up with my instagram friend Stella and her dog Kaffon, in Iceland. It was an amazing trip but I'm happy to be home hiking with Bailey again!
February 8, 2016 Fairmont Ridge This 280-acre park is gorgeous with panoramic bay views and views of Lake Chabot. A steep, paved hill takes you up along the ridge with plenty of unpaved trails to your right and left. This is part of Anthony Chabot Regional Park, but there is no lake access. It's a great alternative to hiking the lake trails if you're concerned about your dog and the toxic blue-green algae. There's free parking in the paved staging area, right off of Fairmont Drive.
February 5, 2016 Sibley Volcanic Park (Huckleberry Regional Botanic Preserve) Today we confirmed that our favorite trail, leading from Sibley down into Huckleberry is dog-friendly! We've been hiking this trail for years, but after the last time we hiked it, some of you raised some concerns since dogs are not allowed in Huckleberry. We confirmed that dogs are allowed to pass through Huckleberry on the East Bay Skyline Trail. This is one of our favorite trails because it is magical in winter. It's lined with moss, has interesting rock formations, a dragon-shaped tree, a flowing creek and even colorful mushrooms dotting the trail. It's a steep hike back up, but isn't too challenging.