Contra Costa County
Travelers whizzing through Contra Costa County on their way to San Francisco or San Jose might know the area only for its conveniently located rapid-transit stations—and that’s a shame, because this scenic and affluent slice of the Bay Area is worth visiting for the dog treats alone. Concord
and Pleasant Hill
are DogTrekker favorites, featuring affordable lodging, close proximity to the world-class wines of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, outdoor exploration and family and dog-friendly attractions.
Close by is the East Bay Regional Park District
, whose 64 parks span 108,000 acres and include 1,200 miles of trails in Contra Costa and neighboring Alameda
counties. In undeveloped areas of most of the parks, dogs are allowed to run free under voice command—a blessing for owners of hyper types and a joy for canines of all persuasions. In other areas, trails are shared with equestrians and cyclists, so leashes are the rule.
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
, a 23-acre place for wet and wooly off-leash fun, is perhaps the best known and most utilized of dog-friendly Contra Costa parks, but there are others, both on the coast and in the hills, where you can have the landscape to yourself, at least for awhile.
The Contra Costa County town of Concord calls itself a “Northern California Original,” and it’s easy to see why. With a booming craft brew scene, creative dining options and a thriving music scene (it’s the birthplace of jazz great Dave Brubeck and the Concord record label), quick access to thousands of acres of open space and massive Mount Diablo looming in its backyard, it’s an East Bay oasis for outdoorsy types. more »
Zoe and DJ Running at Fairmont Ridge. Photo: marymactavish (cc)
If all 1,250 miles of trails within the East Bay Regional Park District stretched in a straight line up and down the West Coast, they’d reach from San Diego to Seattle. Instead, the pathways dip and dive over 120,536 open-space acres within a network of 65 parks enjoyed by hikers, bikers and equestrians, as well as DogTrekkers grateful for the opportunity to disconnect from the leash while away from developed areas. As you will see as you read on, many are close to the town of Concord. More... more »
Photo Credit: @clearerphish
This East Bay community of 35,000 is surrounded by hills that perfectly reflect its name. But while some may view its location (23 miles east of San Francisco and 73 miles west of Sacramento) as merely “close to" (as in “close to” the City by the Bay as well as Napa and Sonoma wine country), Pleasant Hill holds plenty of dog-friendly appeal on its own. more »
The Hop Grenade Taproom & Bottleshop
Photo Credit: @thedoodriley
This East Bay community of Concord has a vibe all its own, not to mention reasonably priced lodging and all manner of indoor and outdoor places to explore with your dog by your side. It might be discovering a new brew while exploring the thriving craft beer scene, trying poke for the first time or making an excursion into a nearby slice of wine country you never knew existed. more »
Happy dogs at Point Isabel. Photo Credit: @theemmanation
The Bay Area wouldn’t be what it is without its tawny, oak-studded hills, and we have the East Bay Regional Parks District to thank for keeping many of them accessible to the public. The district manages 65 parks spanning 114,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, offering between them some 1,200 miles of dog-friendly trails. Away from developed areas, four-legged friends trained to come when called can trek with you leash free. more »