4 Favorite Dog-Friendly Hikes

Apr 17th, 2019

Dog-friendly Ridge Trail Hikes
Looking to bring your furry friend on your next adventure? Check out four of our favorite Ridge Trail hikes that both you and your four-legged friend can enjoy!


Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve
County: Marin
Distance: 8.4 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate
The largest of Marin County Open Space District’s holdings, these nearly 1600 acres of oak savanna and grasslands are interspersed with dense woodlands. Start your day at O’Hair Park’s aptly named Dogbone Meadeow, and climb through grasslands dotted with ancient oaks to spectacular vistas of North Bay ridges from the 1558-foot peak of Mt. Burdell.

Dogs: On leash on trail, under voice control on fire roads.

Directions: Starting from Ohair Park’s Dog Bone Meadow, start your hike at the Dwarf Oaks Meadow Trail head just north of the park across Novato Blvd. Follow the Dwarf Oaks trail north about 2 miles to the San Andreas fire road and continue north to connect the Deer Camp fire road. Follow the Deer Camp fire road for about 2 miles and continue to on the Cobblestone fire road. Follow the Cobblestone fire road just over 2 miles to reach the trail junction. Take a left to reach the Mt. Burdell summit and return back the way you came

Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve Map
More info on Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve

Penitencia Creek
County: Santa Clara
Distance: 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip)
Difficulty: Easy
If your pup’s not ready to leave the city, Pentencia Creek is a great stroll that crosses San Jose neighborhoods and ends at the eastern edge of Santa Clara Valley. This mostly paved urban trail is full multiuse and covers 134 acres, passing through Pentencia Creek Park and Pentencia Creek Gardens. Enjoy views of the western face of the Hamilton Range and Alum Rock Canyon and make some more dog friends along the way.

For Dogs: On leash

Starting from Penitencia Creek Road and Toyon Avenue follow the Penitencia Creek trail east 3.5 miles to King Road and Commodore Drive and return back to your starting point via the Penitencia Creek trail.

Penitencia Creek Map
More info on Penitencia Creek


Vargas Plateau Regional Park
County: Alameda
Distance: 2 miles (4 miles round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate
A perfect escape for dogs looking for a little fresh air, the Vargas Plateau Regional Park opened in May 2016 a offers some fantastic views without the arduous climb. The plateau parking lot starts at an elevation of 1,000 feet above the streets below and overlooks Niles Canyon, Fremont, Union City, Newark and the San Francisco Bay beyond. 

For Dogs: Under voice control on East Bay Regional Park District trails and fire roads. Make sure to bring some water with you, there’s none available at the park.

Directions: Starting from the Vargas Plateau Staging Area on Upper Morrison Canyon Road, follow the Golden Eagle trail .7 miles and continue east on the Upper Ranch trail as it loops around to bring you back to the Golden Eagle and Upper Ranch junction.

Vargas Plateau Regional Park Map
More info Vargas Plateau Regional Park


Fernandez Ranch
County: Contra Costa
Distance: 1.5 miles (3 miles round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate
Fernandez Ranch is a quintessential California landscape, with over a thousand acres of open grassland and oak woodlands. Fernandez Ranch also hosts a new 1-mile accessible trail, picnic sites, and a major new staging area. Dogs can be off-leash on the ranch’s trails, so let your pooch go loose and burn some energy. Visit in the spring to see the green hills covered in poppies, lupine and Mt. Diablo sunflowers.

For dogs: On leash in picnic areas and under voice control on trails.

Directions: Starting from Fernandez Ranch Trailhead at Christie Rd, cross the metal bridge over Rodeo Creek and follow the Windmill trail for about half a mile and turn left and continue on the Whipsnake trail for 0.1 miles. Turn right Woodrat trail and continue for 0.7 miles to the end of the park.

Make it a loop: Break up the scenery on the way back and make it a loop. Return back via Woodrat trail. At the Woodrat and Whipsnake trail junction take a right and follow the Whipsnake trail to the Black Phoebe trail to complete your 3-mile loop.

Fernandez Ranch Map
More info on Fernandez Ranch


Looking for more curated adventures? Check out the Official Guide Book to the Bay Area Ridge Trail – it’s packed full of useful information for planning hikes, backpacking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trips with maps, detailed trail descriptions, curated trips and more.


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