The Best Places to Sit, Stay + Play with Your Pooch

8 Scenic and Dog-Friendly Hikes Near San Francisco

San Francisco is a city that loves its dogs. With a wealth of parks and trails where pets are more than welcome, it’s no surprise that it’s considered a top city for dog owners. Ready to discover some of the best dog-friendly hiking trails in the Bay Area?

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We’ve got just the guide for you! Our roundup includes all the trails that promise great adventures for you and your pup. Read until the end to find out where you can enjoy the great outdoors together on these dog-friendly hiking trails!

1. Miwok Trail

Miwok Trail, part of the Marin Headlands near San Francisco, is a paradise for dog-owning hikers looking for a blend of challenging terrain and breathtaking views. Stretching over 5.2 miles and featuring climbs with over a thousand feet in elevation gain, the trail offers a rewarding experience for both owners and their leashed pets.

It is particularly known for its accessibility to dogs under voice control or on leash in certain areas, enhancing the enjoyment of nature without compromising on safety. The trail meanders through scenic landscapes, from rolling hills to coastal views, making every step a photogenic moment for you and your furry companion.

Challenge Rating: Intermediate

Trail Configuration: Out-and-Back

Location: 591 Tennessee Valley Road., Mill Valley, California | More Info

2. Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts

Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts offer a captivating 3.9-mile loop trail that’s a haven for dog lovers in San Francisco. This easy, flat route skirts the scenic dunes and shoreline of Crissy Field, providing spectacular low-angle views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and the vast Pacific Ocean. Dogs can enjoy stretches of off-leash beach time in designated areas, making it a joyful excursion for your furry friends.

The trail also encircles the architecturally stunning Palace of Fine Arts, where leashed dogs are welcome, adding a touch of historical splendor to your walk. With its combination of natural beauty, pet-friendly facilities, architectural allure, and breathtaking ocean vistas, this trail is esteemed among both locals and visitors as a top spot for an enjoyable day out with your dog.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Loop

Location: 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, California | More Info

3. The Embarcadero to Oracle Park and McCovey Cove

The Embarcadero to Oracle Park and McCovey Cove trail in San Francisco offers a delightful outing for dog owners looking for a scenic and accessible urban hike. This 2.9-mile out-and-back route, recognized for its easy terrain, allows you and your furry friend to enjoy a leisurely walk with an average completion time of about 51 minutes.

Along this waterfront trail, you’ll encounter vibrant cityscapes, notable sights like the historic Ferry Building, and the bustling Oracle Park. It’s an ideal spot for social dogs, as the area is frequented by both locals and visitors engaging in various activities from bird watching to road biking. As one of the top dog-friendly trails in the city, it promises a mix of cultural and sensory delights that are sure to enhance your walking experience.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Out-and-Back

Location: Embarcadero, San Francisco, California | More Info

4. Blue Oak Trail

Blue Oak Trail, a part of the Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve near San Carlos, is a haven for dog owners in the San Francisco Bay Area. This trail is known for its dog-friendly atmosphere where pups can enjoy a 17.5-acre off-leash area in the heart of the preserve, providing plenty of space for your four-legged friends to explore and play​​. The preserve itself is nestled within a landscape of oak woodlands and offers picturesque trails perfect for a leisurely walk or an energetic hike with your dog​​.

For those looking to extend their adventure, the trail connects to other scenic routes within the preserve, allowing you and your pooch to enjoy a diverse range of natural sights. The area is also well-regarded for its maintenance and accessibility, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for both dogs and their owners​​. Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, Blue Oak Trail provides a welcoming and invigorating environment to create memorable moments with your pet.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Out-and-Back

Location: Blue Oak Trail, San Francisco Peninsula, California | More Info

5. Presidio Ecology Trail

The Presidio Ecology Trail in San Francisco offers a delightful outing for dog owners, especially during the summer months when the landscape is lush and vibrant. This 1.4-mile loop trail promises easy hiking and stunning views, particularly from Inspiration Point where you can gaze out over the Bay and Alcatraz​​. As you wander with your four-legged friend, you’ll traverse a trail flanked by towering redwoods and Monterey pines, a real treat for nature lovers​​.

The trail is recognized for being particularly dog-friendly. While your furry companion needs to be on a leash, the path still offers ample freedom and excitement for them. Be aware, however, that it’s a popular trail, so you’ll likely encounter other hikers and their canine pals, making it a social experience as well​​​​. In addition, the area is managed as a designated off-leash area in certain parts, allowing for more free-spirited exploration at times​​.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Loop

Location: Ecology Trail, San Francisco, California | More Info

6. Glen Canyon Park Trail

Glen Canyon Park Trail in San Francisco offers a delightful retreat for dog owners and their furry friends. This dog-friendly trail winds through a 70-acre park, nestled in a natural canyon filled with lush vegetation and native wildlife​​​​. The park features a variety of trails, including easy strolls along Islais Creek and more challenging hikes up to scenic viewpoints, ensuring options for dogs of all energy levels and ages​​​​. Notably, the park’s terrain showcases intriguing chert rock formations and colorful wildflowers in spring, making every visit visually rewarding​​.

Leashed dogs are welcome, but it’s advised to keep them close due to the occasional presence of coyotes​​. The park’s atmosphere is often described as a peaceful escape from the urban hustle, providing both mental and physical recreation opportunities for visitors and their canine companions​​. Overall, Glen Canyon Park is highly regarded for its natural beauty and dog-friendly policy, making it a beloved destination for San Francisco’s dog owners looking for a safe and stimulating environment for their pets.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Loop

Location: Elk St and, Chenery Street, San Francisco, California | More Info

7. Marina Green

Marina Green in San Francisco is a prime spot for dog owners looking for scenic walks with their furry companions. This dog-friendly trail boasts sweeping views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, making it a picturesque outing within the bustling city​​​​. As a popular community hub, Marina Green offers not just the trail, but also a spacious park area where dogs can be leashed and enjoy the open space. The trail head provides a straightforward start to this easy and accessible route, ideal for leisurely strolls that both pets and owners can enjoy​​.

Rated highly for its cleanliness and beauty, the park’s reputation among locals and visitors alike is stellar, earning it a strong 4.5 out of 5 stars on review platforms. The vast green space is well-maintained, and its proximity to other notable San Francisco attractions enhances its appeal, making it a must-visit for dog owners seeking both recreation and relaxation​.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Loop

Location: San Francisco, California | More Info

8. Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail offers a delightful 5-mile out-and-back experience along the scenic Pacific Coast, perfect for dog owners and their furry friends. This trail is well-maintained, featuring a partially paved path that is easy to navigate, making it ideal for all ages and skill levels. Dog lovers will appreciate that leashed dogs are welcome, allowing for a leisurely hike with panoramic ocean views and lush scenery​​.

The trail’s accessibility year-round and its reputation for breathtaking views make it a popular spot among locals and visitors alike. While the trail does not allow dogs on the beaches, the path itself is dog-friendly, ensuring a satisfying hike for both you and your pet. For those interested in extending their outdoor adventure, nearby attractions include Pillar Point with its marine life and bird-watching opportunities, further enhancing the appeal of this coastal gem​.

Challenge Rating: Easy

Trail Configuration: Out-and-Back

Location: Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail, California | More Info

Finishing Up

As we conclude our tour of the best dog-friendly hikes near San Francisco, it’s clear that adventure is just a leash away. Remember, if your pup enjoys a little extra freedom, they’re allowed off-leash north of Tennessee Valley Road—a perfect spot for them to roam while you enjoy the views.

Whether you’re visiting or call the Bay Area home, these trails offer a fantastic way to bond with your furry friend amidst some of nature’s finest backdrops. So grab your walking shoes and your pup’s leash—it’s time to explore the inviting paths and stunning scenery of San Francisco’s dog-friendly trails. Here’s to happy tails and trails ahead!

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about the author

Meet Clarisse Quindo, Content Manager at CityDog Magazine. Clarisse combines her professional prowess with her passion for all things canine! Her days are filled with the joy of blending engaging stories, the latest trends, and valuable insights for fellow dog enthusiasts. Whether she's exploring new dog parks or interviewing top dog behaviorists, Clarisse's dedication to our four-legged friends is truly paw-inspiring!

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