As the blazing heat of summer begins to wane, fall is a great time of year to head outdoors with the pooch and hit some of the best East Bay trails. With no shortage of open space and varied terrain, walking and hiking trails abound. Choose from easy strolls along the water to challenging mountain climbs with views of the entire Bay Area. Even though the weather may have cooled, always remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for everyone.
Briones Regional Park
2537 Reliez Valley Road
Martinez, CA 94553
With a $2 fee per dog, Briones Regional Park has over 6,000 acres of mostly off-leash, dog-friendly open space. The majority of trails are mixed-use dirt fire roads and offer moderate hiking and fantastic views of the bay and Mt. Diablo. Wildlife abounds, so keep an eye out for hawks, deer, wild turkey and the occasional bobcat. Beware of grazing cattle, and make sure to keep a leash handy in case Fido gets particularly excited around cows. Drinking water and a spigot are available only in the staging area.
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
2701 Isabel St.
Richmond, CA 94808
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline boasts one of the largest and most popular dog parks in the country. A veritable doggy heaven, the park sees roughly half a million visitors annually. Most of the park allows dogs off leash and has 23 acres of open space for Fido to run as well as swim. There are plenty of walking trails, beach access and even hoses available for rinsing off dirty doggies. After a day of frolicking in the sun, check out Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, where one can further spoil the pooch with treats, toys and doggy spa pampering.
Tilden Regional Park
2501 Grizzly Bear Blvd.
Orinda, CA 94563
With 40 miles of mostly mixed-use trails, Tilden Regional Park trails have some of the best 360-degree views in the Bay Area. With no dog fees, this is a great park to hike for views of Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate Bridge. Located on Lake Anza, the park also offers fishing, swimming, camping, a carousel, botanic garden and steam train. Dogs are allowed off leash in undeveloped areas of the park.
Related: Best Dog Parks On The Peninsula
Del Valle Regional Park
7000 Del Valle Road
Livermore, CA 94550
The dog-friendly Del Valle Regional Park contains a five-mile-long lake and has over 4,000 acres of open space to enjoy with Fido. There is a $2 per dog fee, and most trails are for leashed dogs, with undeveloped areas allowing off-leash play. The park links up with the 28-mile-long backwoods Ohlone Wilderness Trail, and is teeming with wildlife and free-grazing cattle. Check out the camping area that includes a dog run and plenty of space for the pooch to play in Lake Del Valle.
Mission Peak Regional Preserve
E. Stanford Ave.
Fremont, CA 94539
Mission Peak Regional Preserve, and the Mission Peak Trail, are not for the faint of heart. This steep, challenging trail is best for the experienced dog-human hiking team, and rises roughly 2,000 feet over the course of the three-mile climb. Aim to begin a hike in the early morning, as the mixed-use trail can become extremely hot and dry later in the day. Bringing plenty of extra water and snacks for both dogs and people is a must for this aggressive hike. All the hard work will be well rewarded at the top of Mission Peak, where one can see amazing views of the entire Bay Area.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.