If you’re traveling down the coast, Santa Cruz County is a natural stop-over spot. And Byrne-Milliron Forest is a must-do with your canine companion. Yes, the views are great, but what sets this Land Trust of Santa Cruz County property apart are the sculptures and other works of art scattered about the trail. You’ll see sprites, goddesses and other smile-inducing installations as you walk.
And guess what? If your dog has a solid recall, you can cut him/her off-leash away from developed areas. The 2.5-mile Byrne Trail to A.J.’s Point passes some of the best art works.
And there are many more hiking opportunities in the vicinity. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, for example (dogs permitted in many areas, but not in the old-growth redwoods area). And the 10,000-acre Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, where dogs are allowed on fire roads, in campgrounds and on single-track trails south of the steel bridge. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is another place to see the giant trees. While dogs are not permitted on trails, the North Escape Road, lined by redwoods, provides for a 7-mile round-trip trek on a paved surface that parallels Opal Creek for much of the way.