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Best Parks to Hike with Your Dog in the Bay Area

Best Parks to Hike with Your Dog in the Bay Area

If you share your life with a canine pal (or two!) and are looking for a park to hike in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ve got plenty of tail-wagging fun ahead of you. Here are 10 of our favorite destinations.


1. Point Isabel Regional Shoreline (East Bay)

Join the ultimate off-leash dog-party in East Bay! Walk along the gravel path and share 23 open acres with dozens of romping and rollicking dogs. On clear days, enjoy unbroken views of the San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate Bridge. Cafe and dog wash on site. Free parking. Link: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/pt_isabel


2. Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve (East Bay)

Head out on the Round Top Loop Trail for a scenic and challenging stroll in the rolling hills. In clear weather, the drive to Sibley is highlighted by jaw-dropping panoramas of the entire San Francisco basin. Dogs are welcome off-leash. Free parking, restrooms, and water on site. Link: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/sibley


3. Chrissy Field (San Francisco)

Strolling through Chrissy Field offers dog-friendly paths literally at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk along the sea wall or throw a Frisbee across the vast lawn and enjoy a one-of-a-kind urban green space. Parking can be limited. Link: http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/crissy-field.html


4. Rodeo Beach (Marin)

The quintessential North Bay destination tucked into the Marin Headlands, complete with rocky cliffs and pounding surf. Leash the dog and hike up (literally, straight up) along the Coastal Trail and be rewarded with stunning scenery. Dogs are welcome off-leash for beach frolicking. Parking is free but can be limited. Link: http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/rodeo-beach.html


5. Cataract Trail, Mount Tamalpais (Marin)

Cataract Trail on Mount Tam delivers gorgeous views, challenging trails, and rushing waterfalls. Walk through serene woodland meadows and plunge into steep canyons. Hiking up from the falls is strenuous. Dogs must be on-leash. Parking is free but can be limited. Link: http://parks.ca.gov/?page_id=471


6. Morgan Territory Open Preserve (East Bay)

Gravel and dirt paths curve through 4,708 acres of open land, an off-leash dog extravaganza, complete with grazing cattle, wildflowers, and valley vistas. Pack a picnic and enjoy a picturesque lunch overlooking nearby valleys. Parking is free. Link: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/morgan


7. Briones Regional Park (East Bay)

Only minutes from Orinda, hike (or mountain bike) along miles of clearly marked trails, all off-leash, while you enjoy amazing views and solitude in the East Bay hills. Bring water and sunscreen. Parking fee ($3/car + $2 for dogs); restrooms on site. Link: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/briones


8. Ocean Beach (San Francisco)

Bring the Frisbee and unclip the leash to walk your dog along famed Ocean Beach. Early morning is the best time to visit this 3.5-mile swath of open sand just outside bustling San Francisco. Surfers and wanna-be surfers abound. Parking is free but can be limited. Link: http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/ocean-beach.html


9. Mori Point (Pacifica/Peninsula)

Pacifica, a sleepy surf town seven miles south of San Francisco, is home to great waves and amazing scenery. Start at Rockaway Beach, walk along the Calera Creek Trail through restored wetlands, then through the Mori Point highlands all the way to the Pacifica Pier. On-leash only. Parking is free but can be limited. Link: http://parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/mori-point.html


10. Indian Tree Open Space Preserve (Novato/Marin)

In the heart of Novato, this 240-acre preserve offers beautiful winding trails, frequented by hikers and equestrians, just begging to be explored by you and your canine companion. Dogs must be on-leash except for fire roads. Parking is free. Link: http://www.marincounty.org/Depts/PK/Divisions/Open-Space/Indian-Tree

—Lisa Marie Nelson

Lisa Marie Nelson is an amateur triathlete, entrepreneur and photographer who loves to explore the Bay Area with her family.

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