DogTrekker followers are continually astonished by the wealth of possibilities offered by the 64 parks in the East Bay Regional Park District, which encompasses 108,000 acres laced with 1,200 mile of trails in Contra Costa and neighboring Alameda counties. A favorite is Briones Regional Park just outside Pleasant Hill, which features 6,255 acres of rolling terrain that is especially beautiful in spring.
Although the preserve is surrounded by East Bay towns, there are peaks within it where no signs of civilization can be seen. From Briones Peak on a clear day, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Mount Diablo, the Sacramento River, the East Bay Hills, Mount Tamalpais and Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. Dogs are required to be leashed in some areas, while in others they can hike alongside you without a tether if under reliable voice control.
Prefer something a little more urban? The Iron Horse Regional Trail is a 32-mile paved, multi-use path that starts in Concord and runs along abandoned Southern Pacific Railway right-of-way through Pleasant Hill, skirting the local BART station and continuing all the way to the Pleasanton/Dublin BART terminus. Shared by cyclists, equestrians, joggers and walkers (including dogs, of course) it connects schools, business center parks, other regional trails and public transportation.
The towns that rose along the rail corridor in the late 1800s (the tracks weren’t abandoned until 1978) stand ready to offer you a latte (and Daisy a bowl of water) as you pass through. Stroll for as long as you like, and enjoy the scenery and the dog-watching.