Chasing cascades in the Bay Area

By: DogTrekker Staff
Golden retriever overlooks aerial view of Sunol Regional Wilderness.
Sunol Regional Wilderness. Photo by Kevin Noble.

From easy family hikes to certified huffer-puffers, the hills and streams of the San Francisco Bay Area are at their voluptuous best in spring. Short on time but need some fresh air for yourself, your dog and your kids? Head to Fairway Falls, a 30-foot seasonal gusher in Novato reached via a family-friendly, mile-long round trip.

Little Yosemite in Sunol Regional Wilderness, part of the East Bay Regional Park District, is a bit more ambitious, but you’ll only need to hike two miles along the Canyon View Trail  to reach the falls, which tumble over boulders at the end of the canyon.

About the same distance by foot and equally as rewarding is the hike to Cascade Canyon Falls, tucked into the open-space preserve less than a mile from Fairfax in Marin County. Wildflowers along the trail are prolific at this time of year, and you can make the hike as easy (3.6 miles round trip on a fire road leading to a viewpoint at the preserve’s highest point) or as difficult (a demanding 9-mile loop combining fire roads and trails) as you like. To reach the falls, start at the open-space gate at the end of Cascade Drive and follow directions posed at the information kiosk. The falls tumble down a 15-foot drop into a basin pool before rushing on down the creek. Dogs are welcome to accompany you, but they’ll need to stay leashed.

More—many more—dog-friendly waterfall hikes beckon on the Bay Area at this time of year. For more suggestions, visit the regional waterfall page at

Photo Credit: @chico_the_boston_terrier


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