For such a large county, Sonoma has relatively few chunks of open space that dogs can explore with their people. Hood Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve near Santa Rosa is an exception. This rugged, 1,450–acre beauty spot adjacent to Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park offers many opportunities to work up a pant with Rover. Among them is the 3.5–mile round–trip trek from the Los Alamos Road trailhead, reached via a narrow, winding road, to the headwaters of Santa Rosa Creek. The route will give you both a workout as it climbs and dips through rugged terrain to end up at a stream-side spot perfect for a rest, a picnic and a swim for Rover.
In the North Bay, near Petaluma, dog–friendly Tolay Lake Regional Park can be enjoyed through a day–use permit program or on frequently scheduled guided hikes. The 1,769–acre property, formerly the Cardoza Ranch, consists of ridges, grasslands, wetlands and a historic homestead that many Bay Area residents know as the site of an annual pumpkin festival that draws as many as 30,000 parents and kids. Hike to a high point for views of Mount Tamalpais, Mount Diablo and other regional landmarks.