The Bay Area wouldn’t be what it is without its tawny, oak-studded hills, and we have the East Bay Regional Parks District to thank for keeping many of them accessible to the public. The district manages 65 parks spanning 114,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, offering between them some 1,200 miles of dog-friendly trails. Away from developed areas, four-legged friends trained to come when called can trek with you leash free.
Some EBRPD parks are literally in the backyard of bustling cities like Oakland and Berkeley, while others are so remote you’d never know a city was nearby. They range hugely in size, from popular Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, which is basically a 23-acre public dog paradise; to the 9,737-acre Ohlone Regional Wilderness, accessible only via trail through the adjoining Del Valle Regional Park, Mission Peak Regional Preserve or Sunol Regional Wilderness. Together, these four parcels encompass about 23,000 acres, or 36 square miles of parkland for you and Rover to roam. And they’re just a fraction of EBRPD holdings.
In summer, you’ll want to take precautions when visiting inland parks. Dehydration and sunburn are risks for both you and your dog, so be sure to offer water to your four-legged friend every time you drink, take frequent breaks in the shade and stay on trails to avoid ticks, poison oak, foxtails and encounters with skunks, rattlesnakes and other wildlife. After every hike, check your dog carefully for ticks and embedded stickers, which can cause severe infection leading to huge vet bills.