We’re dog lovers. For many of us at POST, a trip to our open spaces isn’t the same without our furry friends. But knowing where you can or can’t take your dog can be challenging, so we’ve made this helpful guide.

Below you’ll find 12 featured hikes, brought to you by our staff’s opinionated four-legged friends. They’ve all spent a lot of time on our trails and know these open spaces better than we do!

Please respect preserve rules and other guests by keeping these tips in mind! Dig in and find your next dog-friendly hike.

Wondering why dogs aren’t allowed on certain trails? It’s a complex issue, but you can learn more here.

Pillar Point Bluff

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
1.4 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
100 feet
Hiking Time
1 hour
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

The Jean Lauer Trail at Pillar Point Bluff County Park is named in memory of a former POST staffer. It’s an easy, ADA-accessible walk, and it’s a great spot to see the world-famous big-wave surf break Mavericks. If you’re leaving your dog at home, stop by the nearby Fitzgerald Marine Reserve for some tide pooling!

“So much good sniffing on this trail. A cornucopia of coastal scents mixed with a surprising variety of K-9 flavors. Like, whoa.”

-Bentley

Pulgas Ridge

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
1.5 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
300 feet
Hiking Time
45 minutes
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

In the center of this preserve is a large off-leash dog area and this trail takes you right to it. This is a great spot if your pooch needs to let loose and really burn some energy. Go, dog, go.

“Sometimes nature calls when you’re on the trail. But my person knows what’s up and always packs out waste.”

-Roxy

Wavecrest

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
1.5 miles
Elevation Change
Flat
Hiking Time
45 minutes
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

With sweeping views of the Pacific, it’s no wonder this trail is a favorite for local dog walkers. The birding here is great too. In the winter, this is one of the most important nesting sites for raptors in the entire Bay Area, so bring your binoculars.

“I’m a local coastsider so let me tell you—this is one awesome spot. But let’s keep it that way by observing the rules of the trail and staying on leash.”

-Peppy

Windy Hill

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
7.5 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
1400 feet
Hiking Time
2-3 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

Climb to the top of Windy Hill for a panoramic view of rolling hills stretching west to the Pacific Ocean. The site of POST’s first land protection project, this preserve is a favorite among many of our staff (and their dogs).

“Having grown up near this preserve, I know this trail like the back of my paw. I highly recommend it!”

-Tito

Pearson-Arastradero

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
3.7 miles
Elevation Change
300 feet
Hiking Time
2 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

Close to Highway 280, access to this preserve is relatively easy, especially for residents of the Peninsula. On this hike, you’ll enjoy ancient oaks, abundant wildlife and sweeping vistas from the western hills to the Bay; it’s a great place for a sunset walk.

“Arastradero is my go-to when I need to burn some calories and clear my head. And I always hydrate at the trailhead’s built-in water bowl—no celebration for dehydration, right?”

-Aspen

Coal Creek

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
3 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
700 feet
Hiking Time
2 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

This hike has a little bit of everything: a winding trail through an oak forest, spectacular views and a small waterfall. It’s an ideal spot for a relatively short hike with just enough elevation to keep things interesting.

“The views on this hike are certainly something to howl about. I can even see my house in Menlo Park!”

-George

Fremont Older

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
2.6 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
500 feet
Hiking Time
3 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

A hike to the top of Maisie’s Peak is a must, especially for South Bay residents. Wind through a beautiful forest and rolling hills to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding open spaces.

“I love rolling around when I’m out in nature and there are some great spots here for just that. Gets my coat just the way I like it.”

-Mango

Bean Hollow

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
1.6 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
250 feet
Hiking Time
45 minutes
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

This is a magical spot, especially for your K-9 friends. Both the beach and short trail along the coast are dog-friendly. The parking lot can get full on the weekend if the weather’s nice, so try to get there earlier in the day if you can.

“Dude, this is one totally rad spot. I like to hit the waves and feel the sand between my paws—need I say more?”

-Arlo

Sanborn

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
6 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
600 feet
Hiking Time
5-6 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

Enjoy a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, views of the South Bay and a beautiful mixed Douglas fir and redwood forest. Most of this hike is in the shade, making it a great choice in the warmer, summer months.

“I’m pretty furry, so I prefer to hike in the shade when I can, which is why this trail is one of my faves.”

-Trixie

Sierra Azul

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
14.1 miles round-trip
Elevation Change
3300 feet
Hiking Time
9-10 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

Escape into one of the Bay Area’s largest open space preserves. Just minutes off Highway 17, access to this trailhead is easy, especially for residents of the South Bay. On clear, bright days you’ll have great views of Mount Hamilton, too.

“I love the chaparral and gnarled live oaks of Sierra Azul. And coming from San Jose, we’re there in just a few wags of the tail.”

-Dingo

Almaden Quicksilver

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
3.9 miles
Elevation Change
600 feet
Hiking Time
3 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

All of the trails in this park are dog-friendly, so take your pick. This loop trail that starts at the Mockingbird Hill entrance is our favorite, taking us through the heart of the preserve and leading past the entrance of the San Cristobal Mine, a Gold Rush era mercury (”quicksilver“) mine.

“Dang, it gets mad-hot in the South Bay. So, be cool y’all, hook your friends up with some water when tongues start to hang.”

-Victor

Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
Location
[hike.location]
Length
4 miles
Elevation Change
600 feet
Hiking Time
1.5 hours
Difficulty
[hike.trail_type]

This trail weaves through golden hills sprinkled with towering valley oak. With spectacular views of the South Bay, this is a must-see piece of the iconic California landscape. Great for fall walks when the weather is cooler.

“At fourteen, I’ve reached a point in my long hiking career where I prefer to stick to my favorite go-to trails. And let me tell you, this is one of them.”

-Sitka

Keep It Classy

Here are a few guidelines for dog-friendly hiking:

  • Limit yourself to three dogs per person.
  • Keep your dogs out of streams and ponds to help protect wildlife.
  • A six-foot leash is required for leashed areas — self-retracting leashes are usually allowed with a maximum extended length of 25 feet.
  • Keep your dogs from harassing wildlife or other visitors.
  • Please remove dog waste by packing it out.
  • Always ask before approaching dogs on the trail.

The land in POST’s working area has been home to many distinct communities of Native people since time immemorial. We work to conserve and care for these lands — the ancestral territory of at least four contemporary Indigenous communities: the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Muwekma Ohlone, Ramaytush Ohlone and Tamien Nation. These groups have survived centuries of oppression and displacement, and are the past, present and future caretakers of this land.

Explore our other guides
Hiking Guide - POST
Coastal Hikes - POST
Hiking Calendar - POST
Top Rides - POST
Bay Area Birds guide cover
Local Food Guide - POST
Vistas guide cover image.
Easy Summer Escapes - POST
Grow Harvest Cook - POST
Wildflower Walks - POST