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Dog Hikes In The Bay Area (Mostly the East Bay)

Updated: Jun 5

Before I get into it, please comment with any trails you recommend for hiking with dogs, and any notes on it you may have (include addresses too!) I'd be happy to add any trail in the Bay Area or near by. This post will keep evolving.


I'm an avid hiker with a dog, but more importantly, I'm a commercial dog walker. I've owned a dog walking company in Contra Costa County since 2013, and I've worked professionally in the Bay Area walking dogs since 2011 (specifically in Alameda County).

I regularly see questions on a Bay Area hiker online group I'm a part of asking about trails to use with dogs, and while there are no shortage of opinions, and no shortage of articles, and even a few dedicated dog blogs in the Bay, they're often not comprehensive enough, or they aren't specific enough, or they're really difficult to navigate. So I'm trying to create my own resource for those of you out there who like to hike with your dogs, but don't like doing so without doing a little bit of advanced research. This post will mostly focus on Contra Costa and Alameda County, but I will throw in a few spots I know of elsewhere in Northern California. Please add your own favorites in the comments and I'll add them here.


Finally, I'm going to try my best to add pertinent details and hazards of each trail: how common are fox tails, coyotes, cows, will I run into horses, will bikes run us over, will there be a million commercial dog wakers, is there shade, is it good in the rain, so on and so forth.


I suggest doing your own research too. If you're gonna visit an East Bay Regional Park, check their website first. It''s fantastically detailed, and your tax cents pay for it.




Some have additional details, and a gps map of where I actually hiked.


We're very lucky that we have all of these entities protecting land and letting us enjoy them. That you can take a hike from a WCOSF park to an EBRPD park to Mt Diablo (State Park) without so much as a locked gate in your way is special. I strongly recommend taking an active role in each of them, donating, going to meetings to voice your opinions.


In general individuals with their own personal dogs are allowed to have their dogs off leash in all of these spots as long as their dog is under voice control and they leash them in the presence of cows and wildlife. That being said, since some of these areas are larger, certain areas have different regulations around that. I'll do my best to go through specifically.


Also please don't depend on the addresses here. My suggestion is to use google maps directly to each actual trailhead name, and check the satelite to make sure it's taking you where you want to go. Addresses in the case of park trailheads are often unreliable.



Sun (and shade)

☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ ⛱️

Rain (good rain hike?)

🌧️

Foxtails (how bad)

🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

Horses (how likely)

🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎

Other dogs (rare to wow)

🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕

Coyotes (how likely)

🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺

Cows (do they graze?)

🐄🐄🐄🐄🐄

Bikes (look out!)

🚴🚴🚴🚴🚴

Water (creeks or lakes?)

🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊

Bathroom available?

🚽

Rattlesnakes

🐍

Ticks

🕷️

Leash regulations

🦮 for on leash or 🐕 for voice control



The Trails

San Francisco County


Fort Funston

Fort Funston Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132

🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Full

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕 (full of dogs)

🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊 (right on the ocean)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control.


What a blast. Tons of dogs, lots of soft sand, you can go down to the beach and your dog can dive in if they're so inclined. And it's spread out enough to find little areas to yourself. That being said if your dog isn't dog friendly, you'd be better off avoiding this spot. It also stays pretty cool since it's right on the ocean in San Francisco. Highly recommend.



Napa County


Alston Park Off-leash area

Dry Creek Rd, Napa, CA 94558

🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️☀️☀️☀️ Mostly (there seem to be some shady spots)

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕🐕 (lots of dogs) 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control.


This spot is great and wide open. There are even a couple of fenced in dog park areas if you don't trust your dog off leash. But there's lots of space for your off-leash dog as well. I must note that I didn't have a chance to explore enough of it. But as far as I know Napa County has strict leash laws, so this feels like the best you're gonna find up there to let your dog run free. Highly recommend.


Alameda County


Albany Bulb

1 Buchanan St, Albany, CA 94706

City of Albany

🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️☀️☀️☀️ Mostly (there seem to be some shady spots)

🐕🐕 (some dogs) 🌊🌊🌊 (right on the bay)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control.


One of my walkers likes this spot in summer, since it's hot and right on the water. I can't speak to it with authority otherwise.


Tilden Park

Quarry Trail, Berkeley, CA 94708

East Bay Regional Park District

🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🌊🌊 (some access to lake, but check EBRPD site for algae)

🚴 some bikes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)

Since this is the first East Bay Regional Park I'm mentioning I should note that at most of the parks dogs are allowed with owners off-leash under voice control (up to 3), so it's best to expect that. There are a bunch that allow commercial walkers with up to 6 dogs. Know before you go. Huckleberry Botanical Preserve is the one I know of that does not allow dogs period. Besides Huckleberry most of the undeveloped areas of those particular parks do allow dogs off leash.


Tilden has a number of trail options to take your dog, Some are shady, some have some elevation, some are more heavily traveled.


Commercial dogs can walk here, but it isn't super busy with them. You'll likely run into some individual hikers with dogs.


Red: Quarry/Seaview trail loop. Busy, but shady.

Green: Curran, shady, shorter, but can go down to lake.

Purple: South park drive. Closed winters.

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

6800 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611

East Bay Regional Park District

🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕🐕🐕 (plenty of dogs)

🌊🌊 (some access to lake, but check EBRPD site for algae)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes in the sunny portion

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas, check site before hand and pay attention to the signs)


Sibley starts in the shade and you can stick to it to the right, or you can go out into the sun more to the left. Commercial dog walkers love this spot, so you're likely to see a good amount of them.


I've seen rattlesnakes out in the sun as well.


There are multiple paved roads through the area that are great for rainy wet days if you want to keep your dog from getting muddy.


It's a great spot. Highly recommend. Commercial dog walkers can use it.


Red: up to the tower. Green, out into the sun. Purple: the loop


Redwood Park

Pinehurst Rd, Oakland, CA 94619

11500 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes in the sunny portions

🐎 I've seen some horses

🐺 I've seen some coyotes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Redwood Park has a number of different trailheads on the Oakland side, and deeper into the park closer to Moraga. There are more trailheads from the Oakland side that are worth exploring.


East Ridge trail from Pinehurst Rd is the one I'm most familier with.

It has good shade, decent sightlines. You can see whos there from the lot.


It can be very busy, but that's for great reason since it's a fantastic spot. Commercial dog walkers can use it.



Anthony Chabot Regional Park

15539 Skyline Blvd, Oakland

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes in the sunny portions

🐎 I've seen some horses

🐺 I've seen some coyotes 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Chabot Park tends to have less hikers than Redwood despite them being neighbors. Personally I prefer that. It's a great spot. Perhaps it's because there aren't those huge redwoods. I've run into some bikes and some coyotes, but it's a fantastic spot. Commercial dog walkers can use it.




Leona Canyon

770 Canyon Oaks Drive, Oakland

East Bay Regional Park District

🌲 Very Shady

🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕 (lots of dogs)

🐺 I've seen some coyotes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Leona Canyon has become such a favorite of commercial dog walkers that the EBRPD has seen fit to limit the walkers who can hike there on weekdays. It's shady, and it's about as close to most of Oakland as you can get, so I see why it gets the love. Personally I always appreciated being on my own with my dog or dogs so I avoided that spot.


It's worth checking out if you have a well behaved dog and aren't scared of dogs. I ran into one or two people up there who stopped cold and stood like a statue, which in case you're wondering, is about the weirdest and most alarming thing you can do in the presence of animals like dogs that read people based on body language.




Lake Chabot

2601 Fairmont Dr, San Leandro, CA 94578

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️☀️☀️☀️ Mostly (there seem to be some shady spots)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in the higher trails away from the lake)


While this is at Lake Chabot, it's up the hill from the actual lake, so I don't consider it to really be a water spot. It can be windy, and it can be steep, but it's a good spot and it has a beautiful view.


It's a cool spot. Commercial dog walkers can use it.


Knowland Park

15001-15539 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🐕🐕 (some dogs)


This is the same park Oakland Zoo occupies, but I'm specifically talking about the part along Skyline Blvd. Back in the day me and other commercial walkers in the know would go, since it was lightly traveled by really anybody. It's a great spot. I guess Oakland got wise and banned commercial walkers. But I don't know why that can't be your gain, fellow dog hiker. It's nice. It's basically like Anthony Chabot, but with less people.


Contra Costa County


Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


6531 San Pablo Dam Rd, El Sobrante, CA 94803

East Bay Regional Park District


I haven't been but I've heard good things. Commercial walkers can use the space, so expect them on weekdays with their groups of up to 6 hopefully well behaved dogs.


Sobrante Ridge Regional Park

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


5170 Coach Dr, Richmond, CA 94803

East Bay Regional Park District


Another spot I haven't been but I've heard good things. Commercial walkers can use the space, so expect them on weekdays with their groups of up to 6 hopefully well behaved dogs.


Pt Isabel Regional Shoreline

2701 Isabel St, Richmond, CA 94804

East Bay Regional Park District 🚽 (bathrooms available)

☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Lots of sun

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕 (all the dogs)

🌊🌊 (there's a canal that can be muddy and gross, but also some additional access to the bay)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control


Pt Isabel is a dog park. Maybe the biggest in the country. Expect to see lots of dogs here all day every day. It's fun to dog watch, but only go if you're very comfortable with dogs, and your dog is very well behaved. Not for beginners.


There are a couple of trailheads, as well as bathrooms, water for dogs, and even a bathing facility and cafe.





Crockett Hills Regional Park

Crockett Blvd, Crockett, CA 94525

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs) 🚴 some bikes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


This is a nice shady spot. It's not too busy, but there's a lot of downhill so expect to see some bikes. Nice for a hike with the pup.


Carquinez Regional Shoreline

Bull Valley Staging Area166 Carquinez Scenic Dr, Crockett, CA 94525

Nejedly Staging Area 2 Carquinez Scenic Dr, Martinez, CA 94553

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows.

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


This one has trailheads in Crockett and Martinez. Both connect, obviously, but they also have different characteristics. Honestly it's all nice, and has the benefit of being cool and breezy since it's right on the bay.


Commercial walkers are allowed on some of the trails, but they aren't common.

Now that we're getting into Contra Costa County, start to expect cows.





Briones Regional Park

Alhambra Staging: Brookwood Dr, Martinez, CA 94553

Bear Creek Staging: 1611 Bear Creek Rd, Lafayette, CA 94549

Lafayette Staging: Lafayette Ridge Trail, Lafayette, CA 94549 Springhill Staging: 4040 Springhill Rd, Lafayette, CA 94549 Briones Rd: 1031-1021 Briones Rd, Martinez, CA 94553

Blue Oak Trail, Lafayette, CA 94549

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️🌲 Lots of sun and lots of shady options

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows 🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐎 I've seen some horses around Alhambra Creek Staging and Briones Rd

🐺 I've seen some coyotes 🚽 (bathrooms available)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Briones is big, spanning from Orinda to Lafayette, to Martinez and Pleasant Hill. It obviously varies quite a but you can explore all of it with a dog. There are a number of trails and trailheads that allow commercial walkers. I've seen coyotes and rattlesnakes. There are spots where you may see horses (particularly around Briones Rd on the Martinez side.


From Briones Rd, it's a little quieter, which is nice.

From Alhambra Creek Staging, it can be very busy. There is a fire trail up to the left that's not bad in the rain. The creek trail is great on hot days.


Bear Creek is fairly quiet as well. There's lots of shade and multiple trails that are good in the rain.


Blue Oak Trailhead isn't too busy and there's basically only one parking lot so you can see how busy it is before starting.


Springhill is fairly quiet as well.


Diablo Foothills

1700 Castle Rock Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun but some shade

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🕷️ Parts of Diablo Foothills around Stone Valley can be heavy with ticks in winter.

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Diablo Foothills is a nice spot and has some variation depending on the trailhead. It can get very hot in summer.




Black Diamond Mine

5175 Somersville Rd, Antioch, CA 94509

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Black Diamond Mine has a couple of entrances. One near Contra Loma, and one off Somersville. It's beautiful, but can be very hot in summer.


Accalanes

North 589 Monarch Ridge Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

South 1215 Bacon Way, Lafayette, CA 94549

Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Accalanes North is a larger space, with lots of sun and great views. There's some trees, but most trails are full sun.


Accalanes South is much shorter, but has a nice view and is a little less traveled due to being out of the way.


Lime Ridge

1121 Fair Weather Cir, Concord, CA 94518

701 Navaronne Way, Concord, CA 94518

Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐺 I've seen some coyotes 🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control ( in the southern segments, but they're not allowed in the north parts, check the website for more info)


Lime Ridge has a few different portions broken up by large roads. Some of them you aren't supposed to have dogs, so I'm omitting them. Most of this space is full sun. It can be dusty, cows can be grazing, it's good coyote and rattlesnake territory. Honestly it's more of a hiking spot out of geographical necessity, but it does have it's charm. Including some nice views.



Shell Ridge

551 Marshall Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

181 Sutherland Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

1880-1898 Rockspring Pl, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

1201-1299 Sunburst Ct, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐺 I've seen some coyotes

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Shell Ridge has a number of different trailheads. It also have a great view of Mt Diablo from the Ridgetop trail.


There are some shady trails, but most is in full sun. It's definitely a haven for rattlesnakes. You'll see a bike or two, but there's good sightlines.



Borges Ranch Run Parking

Elise Ct, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐺 I've seen some coyotes 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas) 🐎 I've seen some horses


Borges Ranch is similar to the surrounding areas. It, Shell Ridge, Lime Ridge, and Diablo Foothills are all, well, foothills of Mount Diablo so they share similar characteristics. Borges has some fairly shady trails amongst the mostly sunny trails.


Sugarloaf Open Space

2434 Cutting St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

2178 Lariat Ln, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐺 I've seen some coyotes

🕷️ ticks can be common in winter 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Sugarloaf is smaller and in the middle of a neighborhood, but you can get a couple of hours of hiking in with your dog. Look out for foxtails. There isn't much shade so bring plenty of water.



Mulholland Ridge

89 Donald Dr, Orinda, CA 94563

Town of Moraga

☀️☀️ Mostly sun but some shade as well.

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows

🕷️ Ticks (I find that in the shrubby area during tick season there tend to be a lot.

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Mulholland Ridge has a number of trailheads on each side of it, from Orinda Oaks Park, to each end of Donald Drive, and some neighborhood streets as well.


It's fairly busy, but you can find some spots to yourself. The trail at the top isn't a trail, but Donald Drive, a paved road, and because of that it's fantastic for the rain and actually possible to keep your dog from getting muddy.



Wilder

18 Edgewood Rd, Orinda, CA 94563

☀️☀️ Mostly sun but some shade as well.

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


Wilder is adjacent to Sibley. It has a fire road going through the middle of it and some trails off to the side of it.


Stoneman Trailhead

2225 John Henry Johnson Pkwy, Pittsburg, CA 94565

Pittsburg Parks

☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (some foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


This is a city park, with a nice open trail out the back of it. The only shade that I can see is right at the trailhead. There are definitely foxtails, but it's a good spot if you stay on the trail.


Fernandez Ranch

1081 Christie Rd, Martinez, CA 94553

John Muir Land Trust

☀️☀️ Lots of sun and some shady options

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕 (may see a couple dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐄🐄 Definitely look out for cows.

🐍 some rattlesnakes 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas-get on leash around cows)


This is a beautiful spot that starts out in sort of an open pasture area, and then if you go to the left you can find a mostly forested area. You can hike up in the hills in either direction. There are definitely likely to be cows here.


Mount Wanda

Alhambra Ave +, Franklin Canyon Rd, Martinez, CA 94553

John Muir Land Trust

☀️️🌲️️🌲 Mostly shady trails

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕 (may see a couple dogs)

🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control I believe but it's busy enough you may want to keep them on leash.


I don't go to Mount Wanda much because it can be very busy with hikers. For that reason it's not good for commerciall walkers, but if you have a well behaved dog, it's a fun hike.


Las Trampas Regional Preserve

18012 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583

East Bay Regional Park District

☀️☀️☀️ Mostly sun

🌿 (few foxtails)

🐕🐕 (some dogs)

🚴 some bikes

🐍 some rattlesnakes 🐕 Dogs can be on leash or off under voice control (in most undeveloped areas)


I will hike Las Trampas with my wife and our dogs, but it doesn't allow commercial dog walkers so I don't go often. Still it's a beautiful hike. Moderate difficulty.


Thanks for reading,

Matt

Diablo Dog

725 Alhambra Ave, Martinez

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