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Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog
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Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog on 03/25/2013 14:49:51 MDT Print View

Hey Everyone,

I posted on here last year about places to go that are close to SF and I got GREAT feedback. I ended up going to Emigrant Wilderness and we all had a blast. AND it was BEAUTIFUL!

I just got a dog and now I pose the same question but with a dog caveat. I was wondering if anyone knows any beautiful, short weekend trips, with lakes, that are dog friendly. I live in SF and I would rather spend the bulk of the weekend in the wilderness instead of the car it would be great to find places that are relatively close. Where I could head out friday night and back sunday night. Anyone have suggestions for specific areas, specific trails, etc, that are dog friendly? Anything would help.

Thanks in advance for the help!!


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog on 03/25/2013 15:09:29 MDT Print View

I don't have any specific suggestions, but look for areas that are in National Forests. They usually allow dogs.

National Parks and State Parks in California never allow dogs.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog on 03/25/2013 15:14:02 MDT Print View

I was going to propose the East Bay Regional Parks as offering short trips including some around lakes but when I checked their website,

dogs are allowed only during the day time. I suspect it may be, in part, because of their 20-30-person group camps. I know I hate being a campground when someone else's dog is barking all night.

Pity for you, as you could get to many of those parks on public transit - Lake Chabot for instance, from Bayfair BART station and then walk or talk AC Transit over Fairmont Drive. The campgrounds are on the other side of the lake, about 4 to 7 miles from the road, depending on which way you walk.

So store that info away for some time you are looking for a day hike with your dog. Or backpacking without your dog. The shortest loop of Lake Chabot is about 9 miles. If you go through Chabot, Redwood, Huckleberry, Roundtop, Sibley, Tilden, Wildcat Canyon and return, that's more than 100km. It took 21 hours when I last did, but I was half my age then.

While a little further away, the Ohlone Wilderness trail is more remote and a much longer road-free trail.

But again, dogs only during daylight hours.

Get out early, hike hard, sleep in your own bed.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with a Dog on 03/25/2013 15:27:43 MDT Print View

Like Justin said... generally most of the National Forests allow dogs.

So while it's a little bit more of a drive, that means you've got options like Los Padres NF to the south (from Big Sur area clear down to Ventura), Tahoe and El Dorado NFs inland and Mendocino NF to the north.

I've done a few trips with my dog in the Desolation Wilderness out of Tahoe area and I hike regularly with my dog in Los Padres NF.

Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Thanks! on 03/26/2013 11:27:29 MDT Print View

Ok great!!! Good to know. I didn't know that National Forest was fair game. Sounds good. I have only really been visiting wilderness areas anyways. Thanks for the advice!!

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Emigrant Wilderness on 03/26/2013 11:52:09 MDT Print View

Ya like everyone said, NF are the way to go. But if you liked the Emigrant Wilderness head back there....dogs are welcome!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog on 03/27/2013 21:35:06 MDT Print View

Yeah, National Forests and certain wilderness areas are probably the way to go for overnights. The main issue is that some dogs harass the wildlife. Also they don't follow LNT practices, not even German shepherds, and they are smart! They do UL just fine though.

Best place this time of year may be south of Monterrey. Since horses are usually allowed I assume dogs would be ok. Check first though. Signs are this year may be a bigger than usual tick season, and that area is already known for its tick population, so plan accordingly. That area is really beautiful in March and April. 2 to 3 hours at most from most places in the bay area (17 to Hy 1) south, or 101 south to enter from the east side.

You could check out the book "Hiking the Big Sur Country: The Ventana Wilderness" by Jeffrey Schiller. Bit old but pretty good for some decent starting ideas in that area. Ventana has lakes and hot springs as well as rugged mountains and rivers.

I did the Ohlone Wilderness Trail a few years back. I didn't know dogs where allowed, but if so that would also be especially nice this time of year as well. Camping only in designated spots however. No lakes (a cattle pond or two) but there is a waterfall.

Edit: Ah, OK I see the footnote from a previous post that Ohlone is day dog only. Not a bad place to day hike though.

Unfortunately the immediate bay area may have the worst combination of easy access great places to hike, and worst places for backpacking, especially with dogs in the US. You would be hard pressed to find many places that would be considered in the bay area proper that will allow dogs away from the entrance/car camp areas, and probably none that would allow them off leash. Probably a good rule since it would most likely ruin the parks with such a high population. Since the sierra national forests are a bit far for weekend trips, I would say that probably leaves the coastal range in the Big Sur area as one of the few places for weekend overnights w/dog.

Wow, for some reason I have been obsessed by this issue for the past hour! I love dogs but don't have one anymore. I never though about dog backpacking before. Anyway, going to move onto my next obsession. LOL. However, have you seen this web page:

Edited by millonas on 03/27/2013 22:22:46 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Short Weekend Trips from the Bay Area with A Dog on 03/27/2013 22:47:53 MDT Print View

+1 for The Ventana Wilderness with the caveat that there is a "healthy" tick population there.


Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Thanks! on 04/10/2013 12:09:27 MDT Print View

Great!! I'll look into that! And thanks for the responses! I'm super excited to take him for his first trip!!