Best dog-friendly hikes in Santa Cruz County

By: DogTrekker Staff
Hiker and German shepherd on trail
Photo by Stephen Leonardi.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz

Henry Cowell is a must. Locals and visitors alike love the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Henry Cowell has it all. For hikes with the pup, use the main park entrance off Highway 9 and access the Pipeline Trail.

This 6 mile out-and-back hike is on a paved road that travels through redwood trees, follows along the San Lorenzo River, and even passes under an active train trestle (wave hello to Roaring Camp Railroads)!

woman and dog on Pogonip Open Space trail
Pogonip Open Space, courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz.

Pogonip Open Space, courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz.

There are miles of dog-friendly trails and secret treasures to discover at Pogonip Open Space. Leashed pups are welcome on several of the trails, but for an easy stroll with a big payoff, follow the Rincon Trail from the UCSC campus as it slopes downhill to the eastbound Spring Box Trail.

A quick stroll along the Spring Box Trail soon leads to an unexpected spring-fed koi pond tucked beneath a redwood tree. Please don’t allow pups any sort of dip into the pond – let’s be sure to protect this treasure for all locals and visitors. For more Pogonip trail info, be sure to take a look at this helpful map to guide your dog-friendly hiking adventures.

Woman and dog on train track
Photo by @wanderingtunafishcrew
Roaring Camp Railroads, courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz.

Henry Cowell borders Roaring Camp Railroads where dogs are welcome on leash to explore the acres (including trails) of forested land. And for those pooches (or owners) who want to experience the grandeur of the redwoods and mountains but might need some help – hop aboard the train! Yes, your well-behaved pooch can hitch a ride on the steam train too. Please check current operating status of Roaring Camp Railroads before visiting.

Read the entire Santa Cruz County hiking blog here.


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