Santa Clara County is blessed with tens of thousands of acres of paw-friendly parklands, and this being the Silicon Valley, many online resources are available to help guide you to and through K-9 territory.
Check out the 25 county parks that allow dogs with some restrictions, then pick your path within the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), whose 90,000 acres in 10 open-space preserves hold many options, both on and off-leash, for those of us visiting with our furry friends.
Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, an MROSD holding in the hills above San Carlos and Redwood City, is one location that you can release that pesky leash. Off-leash play is allowed in a 16-acre parcel of this 366-acre San Mateo County treasure that was once the site of a tuberculosis sanitarium. Leashed dogs are welcome on all six miles of trails, and on clear days you'll get a good view of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Elevation gains on Pulgas trails are modest, topping out around 300 feet, and grades are gentle enough for kids. Making a loop of the Cordilleras, Poli Geraci, Hassler and Blue Oak Trails is just over three miles.