Point Isabel. Photo: Maverick Wyatt Myers
Since DogTrekker.com kicked off in late 2010, our hiking pages and listings have become the most popular features on the site.
Readers continue to be astonished by the wealth of possibilities offered by the 64 parks of the East Bay Regional Parks District, which span 108,000 acres and include 1,200 miles of trails in Contra Costa and neighboring Alameda counties.
Some of the parks are literally in the back yard of bustling Oakland and Berkeley, while others feel so remote you’d never know a city was nearby.
One of their best assets for DogTrekkers: away from developed areas, you can unclip the leash and let your four-legged companion hike unrestrained.
Following the recent rains, EBRPD parks have greened up, and soon flowers will be popping up, too. At this time of year, we’re partial to hikes that provide diverse terrain for your dog to sniff around and take in a gushing waterfall or two.
Good timing—as in just after a rain—is required to witness Abrigo Falls, which gushes 15 feet over a fern-covered wall in Briones Regional Park.
The four-mile, out-and-back hike on the Abrigo Valley and Briones Crest trails traverses velvet-green hills, dipping occasionally into forested ravines. You’ll hear the fall before you see it, so we suggest leaving those earphones at home for this one.
Don’t have time to visit the real Yosemite Falls? Little Yosemite, a scenic gorge on Alameda Creek in the deep gorge in the Sunol Regional Wilderness, might not be so grand, but it’s a bit closer to home.
On an easy, three-mile round trip along the Canyon View Trail, you’ll view the gorge from above, traverse open meadows, walk through woodsy areas and loop back along the stream, which in spring, rages over boulders and forms many small waterfalls.
Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, between Danville and San Ramon, sprouts numerous waterfalls along Bollinger Creek after the winter rains. This preserve stands out as one of the most rugged and remote-feeling in the region, but it also has a reputation for extremely muddy trails, so be sure to throw a towel in the car to address your buddy’s muddy paws.
Call first to get a report on conditions from park staff, and if waterfalls are your priority, plan on hiking in from Camille Avenue in Danville.