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Top 4 Bay Area Dog Hikes

Hiking is one of our favorite activities to do with Rooney. Once of the blessings of living in the Bay Area is the number of hiking locations available for pet parents. While we also have access to beaches here in California (another great activity to do with your dog), today I would like to discuss the Top 4 Bay Area Dog Hikes (in our opinion)!

How will we choose which ones are the best? Using the following criteria:

1. Personal Experience
2. Reviews from Publications; Including The Dog Lovers Companion to California, DogTrekker and other Bay Area review sites.
3. Distance and overall dog-friendliness

Land’s End, San Francisco, CA – Bucket List Hike

“This is probably the most spectacular park in San Francisco. You won’t believe your eyes and your leashed dog won’t believe his nose” – The Dog Lovers Companion to California

We have yet to try this trail, but it sounds magical. This trail is about 2.9 miles long and is designed as an out and back hike (however, DogTrekker published that this is a 4-mile trail if you hike round-trip to Eagle Point). According to, there is a mixture of sun and shade, which should always be an important consideration for pet parents. Shady spots are great places to take a break and get some water. The Coastal Trail is recommended to pet parents since one of the other trails requires that you cross a street with museum and golf parking.

The Dog Lover’s Companion to California recommends that you park at the Camino del Mar parking lot and start your hike from there. They also recommend exploring some of the side trails that may lead you down to the beach, or provide you with excellent views of the Golden Gate bridge.

Other Recommendations:

  • Keep your eyes out for poison oak on these trails
  • Dogs must be on-leash or under voice control

“If you’re visiting with your dog, put a Lands End hike high on your list of priorities.” – DogTrekker

Garin Regional Park & Dry Creek Regional Park, Hayward, CA – Great Winter & Spring Hike

Top 4 Bay Area Dog Hikes

We hiked this trail back in January and it was amazing! If your dog likes to swim and you go on a sunny day after the rain (which we did), your dog will be able to cool off in nice flowing creeks along the base of the trail.

There are over 6 miles of trails here. When we hiked, we did somewhere around 5 miles, some of which was pretty steep. Additionally, there are some excellent fields available where you can let your dog run off leash, so Rooney was able to get an excellent workout.

Other Recommendations:

  • This hills on this trail don’t offer a lot of shade, so try to take your dog either really early in the morning, or on a sunny day in the winter.
  • Bring lots of water!
  • These trails can get very muddy and uneven due to the cows on the trails, so schedule time for a dog bath after this hike.
  • During the season, there are fees: $5 per car, and $2 per dog.

Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA – Great Summer Hike

This park is an excellent summer hike and one of the trails we frequent the most! The base of the trail is completely covered with redwood trees and a variety of other foliage. There are some steep trails that allow you to get a good workout in, while also covered in shade.

There are lots of distractions in this park (other dogs, people, bikes, picnics, wildlife, etc.), so be sure to keep your dog on a leash. Last year, my cousin and I actually found a lost dog on the trail and after tracking down an open shelter, we were able to get her microchip information and reunite her with her owner. She had apparently taken off after a cyclist at the top of the trail and she made it too far too fast.

Other Recommendations:

  • According to The Dog Lovers Companion to California, dogs should remain out of the streams due to the delicate environmental balance established in Redwood Creek.
  • There is a lot of wildlife, so be sure to keep your dog on a leash.
  • During the season, there are fees: $5 per car, and $2 per dog.

McNee Ranch State Park, Montara, CA – Great Workout!

This hike we did earlier this year, but we didn’t bring Rooney because usually California State Parks don’t allow dogs. I was delighted to find out that at McNee Ranch State Park this isn’t the case. Now, it also happens that the length and challenge of this trail is not in Rooney’s wheelhouse. However, if you have a very athletic dog, this is the trail for you. This hike is uphill from the beginning. It will take you a few hours to climb the 1,898 feet, but at the top you will experience amazing views!

We were lucky enough to hike this trail on a clear day so at the top we could see Mount Diablo, the Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown SF, the Bay Bridge, Downtown Oakland, the San Mateo Bridge, and basically the whole Bay! The hike took us about 4.5 hours, and like I said, Rooney wouldn’t have made it that far uphill, but that doesn’t mean we can’t train for it in the future!

Other Recommendations:

  • There is no official parking lot, so you can park at the gate (but not in front of it), or at the Montana State Beach parking lot across the road.
  • There isn’t a lot of shade here, but you will experience an ocean breeze. Be sure to bring layers as there are hot and cold parts along this trail and lots of water for you and your dog.

Of course the Bay Area offers so many more excellent hikes. However, if you are new to the Bay Area, or you are visiting with your dog, these are the ones I would recommend.

What Bay Area hiking trails would you recommend? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Additional Hiking Resources:

Instagram Inspiration: Follow @Dogsthathike

Best Resource Guides: 

Hiking Essentials for a Day on the Hill With Your Dog #MKHPJanuaryChallenge

A post shared by DogTrekker (@dogtrekker) on

5 Activities to Try With Your Dog This Year #MKHPJanuaryChallenge

I have always been good about getting exercise and staying in shape. However, I have had my moments where a week or two go by, and I can’t say I have done much in the way of burning calories. When these lulls occur, it’s usually because I am bored. Bored with whatever exercise I have been doing lately (the only thing I never get bored of is volleyball, which I need other people to play). I bet that you too have encountered this type of boredom.

5 Activities to Try With Your Dog This Year #MKHPJanuaryChallenge

Since this month’s challenge is to exercise with your pet, I thought I would share a few additional activities to keep you and your dog from getting bored!

Many of these activities require some warmer weather. However, this list can be added to the mix throughout all of 2016! #MKHPJanuaryChallenge

5 Activities to Try With Your Dog This Year

  1. Hiking: If you haven’t taken your dog on a hike yet, you are missing out! Rooney loves hiking and so do I. The great thing about hiking is that you get all the fresh air and challenge you need, but without the hustle and bustle of running. This is an activity that you can do with the whole family! (see above for our recent hiking encounter with some local cattle)
  2. Paddleboarding: If your dog likes swimming than Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP may be the activity for you. The best part is, all you need is a body of water! SUP is an activity that is on my wish list! I have gone paddleboarding on my own before, but I really want to see if Rooney would be willing to balance with me on the paddle board. If you are going to try this activity with your dog, I strongly urge you to make sure they have a life vest. Even dogs who can swim for long distances can get tired too far from shore.
  3. Surfing: Another activity I want to try with Rooney! Of course, I live near the ocean, so I technically have an unfair advantage. However, keep this activity in mind if you are thinking about taking any vacations with the family this summer. Perhaps you are headed to the beaches of California; what a perfect time to take your dog with you to share in the oceanic experience! If you are going to try this activity with your dog, I strongly urge you to make sure they have a life vest. Even dogs who can swim for long distances can get tired too far from shore.
  4. Running: If you dog doesn’t like water, then running might be a great endurance activity for you to try together. Rooney and I usually mix running in with our longer walks. I am trying to work him up to a maximum endurance (for me about 3-4 miles), but I think the smells are too good for Rooney to pass up in a hurry, which I understand. Keep in mind that if you are a runner, you need to work your dog up to a distance. Start with very small and intermediate distances and work your way up over time. My good friend Dawn from Leash Your Fitness was kind enough to put together a running schedule for Rooney and I when I first started to train Rooney to run with me. She customized it for us based on our baseline exercise levels, Rooney’s current shape, and his ability to tolerate heat. You too should consider these factors before creating a training schedule.
  5. Bicycling: I completed my undergrad is a little town called Davis, California. When I say that Davis is a bicycle town, I am not making an understatement of any kind. Most people in Davis have a bike, and there are thousands of cyclists on the streets and campus every day. Since the town is so bike and dog-friendly, many people ride their bikes with their dogs by their side. When it comes to bicycling alongside your dog, it is imperative that your dog is in good shape and that you have the proper equipment to keep you and your dog safe. For more information, please read What You Need to Know About Biking With Your Dog.


Photo Courtesy of

If any of the above activities sound like fun, then you definitely need to follow the following blogs for more information about hiking and exercising with your dog:

You Did What With Your Weiner

Leash Your Fitness

Slim Doggy

I read posts regularly from these sites, and I am continually inspired to get out and exercise with Rooney! So tell me, how are your exercise challenges going so far?

Helpful Guest Posts:

10 Beautiful and Pet-Friendly Fall Hiking Trails in the U.S.

Fit Dog Friday: Running Struggles

Running Struggles: Getting Fit With Your Dog

You may remember my post from a few months back where I mentioned that Rooney and I were doing some running.

Unfortunately, this summer I was finishing my grad school classes so I haven’t been able to run with him consistently.

So instead of sharing our running schedule and progress, which I WILL share one day, I am going to share with you some unexpected struggles that have arisen since we started running.

1) Crossover

On walks, I never made Rooney choose a side. I knew that I should, I just never did. When we are walking, it’s not an issue, however, when we started running this became a safety hazard for both me and Rooney.

Rooney would pick up on a great scent and next thing you know I was almost tumbling to the ground trying not to step on his feet. Therefore, to be able to run safely, I needed Rooney to know he needs to stay on a single side.

To address this issue, I have been training Rooney to stay on my right side by giving him treats by my right knee on walks. Now, he looks at my right knee all the time and tries not to get too far ahead of me.

2) Poops

Rooney always likes to poop on walks. I think he is marking his territory some of the time.

However, when we started running, he was pooping a bunch. So much so, I started to think something was up. I don’t mind stopping a few times for potty breaks on a run, but we weren’t making much progress with him pooping 3 or 4 times during one outing. So, I recently changed his food to a grain-free option, and his poops have decreased to 1 per run, and now he seems to be more comfortable running faster.

3) Sniffs

Rooney has a tendency to want to sniff around instead of run. Of course, I can’t blame him. However, I have a half marathon I need to train for that will happen in 6 weeks! Therefore, I need to be running and not spending time supervising his sniffs.

I started to realize that the faster I ran, the less likely he was to slow down and sniff. The need to run faster has been motivating and has helped us increase to a steady pace.

4) Garbage (or other things on the ground)

Unfortunately, people litter.

Which means that not only are we running, but we are also dodging garbage and debris left on the ground. No matter what it is, Rooney will try to sniff it. Additionally, no matter what it is, I try to keep him away from it. I am just so worried that Rooney will run right up to something and eat it right off the ground, and it, of course, could be something that is terrible for him and I don’t want to take any risks. So, if you are going to be running with your dog, I recommend keeping your eyes open to what is on the ground.

5) Gravel

I like to run and discover new paths. I get bored if I run the same path all the time. So, a few weeks back Rooney and I were running, and we ended up on a gravel path. Soon after we started on this path, Rooney started to slow down. I realized that the gravel may not be comfortable on his feet, so we turned back and found a new way to get home.

I share this mostly because it was something I never thought of before that day, and I felt so bad once I realized that Rooney might have been uncomfortable.

6) Consistency

Since I finished grad school (2.5 weeks ago), I have been much more consistent at taking Rooney for walks and runs. However, since we started running back in June, I have been very inconsistent.

I can say that when I have a week of consistent running not only do I improve, but Rooney also improves his running abilities. After a few months of sporadic runs, I know that I need to be consistent in running with Rooney 3-4 times per week.

7) Time of Day

Just like myself, Rooney has a preference to time of day.

After a few months of running, I have noticed that Rooney can run much faster and farther in the morning. The unfortunate part is that I am much faster in the afternoon or evening. As a result, I have been running or walking with Rooney in the morning, and running longer distances in the afternoon or after work.

8) Stray Dogs or Dogs Off Leash

Unfortunately, we have been dealing with this a lot lately.

I never want to be caught in a situation where I didn’t see the dog coming, and it’s too late. Therefore, I don’t run with headphones. Additionally, I try to cross the street when I see dogs coming from the opposite direction, and I try to check behind us every few minutes or so.

The best advice I can give to other pet parents in this situation is to be as aware as you can of your surroundings.

FitDog Friday: PitPat Review

Hello Everyone!

Today I am participating in a Blog Hop hosted by SlimDoggyTo Dog With Love and My GBGV Life, called FitDog Friday!

For my first entry I wanted to tell you all about this great new product I learned about called PitPat.

PitPat orange Logo

PitPat is an amazing fitness monitor for dogs! Do you wear a FitBit, pedometer, or other activity monitoring device?

PitPat will provide that same fitness information for your pet!

How does it work?

PitPat fits nicely on any dog’s collar and it measures your pet’s activity and then sends that information to your free PitPat app.

PitPat on collar

I am always curious how much activity Rooney gets while we are at work and he is at home. I ask myself, does he nap ALL day? Does he have little spurts of energy in between his naps?

PitPat will help me keep track of how much activity Rooney has gotten that day, AND how much more he needs from me!

If you have ever used an activity monitor before, you know that the first day you use it, you realize how LITTLE you move (at least those with desk jobs like myself).

Using an activity monitor reminds me that I need to get up and move around more. PitPat will do the same for your pet! PitPat will provide me with a breakdown of Rooney’s walking, running, playing and resting!

If your pet needs to change (perhaps increase) their activity level, you can even set goals for activity and track your progress.

PitPat App

Is it expensive?

Nope! The prices start at $30, and the app is free!

Awesome! What other features does PitPat have?



Battery life of more than 1 year without recharging!

Sounds great! Where can I get one?

Well, the company has just launched and is still in the phase of raising funds, which means that you can pre-order your PitPat on their KickStarter campaign, here.

Once they have reached their funding goal, you will be notified that your PitPat will be headed to production and will soon be at your home keeping track of your pet’s fitness.

Want a chance to win a specially engraved PitPat and a limited edition Founding Hound t-shirt?

PitPat was generous enough to let me do a giveaway for my readers!

Keep in mind, in order to receive your winnings, the Kickstarter campaign will have to be funded, otherwise the product might not make it to production. That means we need your help spreading the word! Feel free to use all of your social media channels to help us bring PitPat to market, AND so you can increase your chances of winning!

Keep in mind if the PitPat Kickstarter campaign is not fully funded, you will NOT be charged for your pre-order, so there is nothing to lose by backing this great product.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you would like to double your chances of winning a PitPat, you can hop on over to their Facebook page to enter their photo contest, here!

PitPat on dog

Happy Friday everyone!

Disclaimer: My Kid Has Paws was invited to review this product by PitPat, and to give our honest opinion.