Sacramento has a couple of nicknames. For the last decade or so, it’s prided itself as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” due to its location in the agriculture-rich Central Valley. But it’s been known since the mid-1800s as the “City of Trees” for the robust canopies that shelter its many parks and older residential neighborhoods. The tree-planting binge started by early residents never stopped, and today, Sacramento’s parks provide shady refuge for DogTrekkers, even on the hottest summer days.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the top parks to visit with your four-legged companion. Here is a guide to dog parks.
William Land Regional Park: This 166-acre place of shady urban pride is the “Central Park” of Sacramento. Located just south of downtown in the Land Park neighborhood, it has a bit of everything, from fishing and duck ponds to a zoo, golf course, jogging trails, pocket gardens, playgrounds and ample picnic sites. It’s a relaxing place to stroll and dog-watch, and it also hosts the annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash and Bark in the Park Festival.
Capitol Park: If you’re into plants, gardening and history, you can easily spend hours in this 40-acre urban preserve hugging the imposing state Capitol. Hundreds of labeled plants from around the world make it a garden enthusiast’s delight, while somber memorials and monuments recall sacrifices made in war. Walk across Capitol Avenue to enjoy a repast at one of several dog-friendly restaurant patios.
Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (AKA American River Bike Trail): The American and Sacramento Rivers converge at Discovery Park, about 3 miles from downtown Sacramento, and this 32-mile, multi-use riverside bike trail between there and the city of Folsom is the city’s premier recreational feature. If you’re a first timer to Sac, start your trek in the Old Sacramento Historic District.
For something a little off the beaten track, head to Sutter’s Landing on 28th Street at the edge of town, where you’ll find a fenced dog park in addition to bike trail and single-track river access. Many people (and dogs) come here to bird-watch as well as watch the water flow by.
McKinley Park: Located in East Sacramento, just across Business 80 from Midtown, McKinley Park is beloved for its well tended rose garden, founded in 1928. If you’re into roses, this is the place to learn, sniff and admire. The park’s 30-plus acres also include a duck pond, picnic areas, playground, pool, library, tennis courts, jogging paths and more.
Curtis Park: Also south of downtown, in a lovely, older neighborhood, Curtis Park has a mile-long jogging path along with playgrounds, sports fields and lots of trees.