, a small city near the coast in Santa Clara County, might be known as the garlic capital of the world, but it’s also filled with dog-friendly open spaces
ideal for spring exploration. Mount Madonna County Park
, encompassing 4,605 acres 10 miles west of Gilroy, rising to 1,900 feet in elevation and offering panoramic views of highly varied terrain. For a good workout, choose the Sprig Lake Trail, which has an elevation gain of 600 feet over 3 miles.
The landscape changes along the way from redwood forest to oak woodland and grassy meadows. Find the picnic table under an old-growth oak for a lunch break.
For a little more aerobic workout, choose the Merry-Go-Round and/or Ridge Trail
, known for the spring wildflower bloom, which will peak in April. The elevation gain is a stiff 1,200 feet, so breathe deeply and plan to budget your time accordingly.
More dog-friendly options near Gilroy
include Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch Park
, with 33 miles of trails and a campground; and the Uvas Canyon Park
. Or, meet up with other four-legged friends at Heartland Dog Park, which has separate areas for small and large dogs.
To start off your trip off on the right paws, stop and plan your trip at the California Welcome Center in Gilroy.