Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve in the hills above San Carlos and Redwood City is one location that really sets tails a-waggin'. Off-leash play is allowed in a 16-acre parcel of this 366-acre San Mateo County preserve that was once the site of a tuberculosis sanitarium. All six miles of trails are dog-friendly, 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 3 miles.
A special opportunity for DogTrekkers at Pulgas is scheduled April 28, when you and your canine companion can join preserve docents for a three-mile wildflower hike from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s your chance to learn to identify and appreciate the seasonal color show, and Fido’s chance to meet and mingle with others of his kind. Reservations are required.
If you have time for a lingering lunch, consider making a 19-mile drive over to Moss Beach Distillery, one of the best-known dog-welcoming restaurants in the state. Settle into a table or snuggle up to a fire pit on the Seal Cove Patio and enjoy fish tacos complemented by dramatic Pacific views (and maybe a bloody Mary, too). Make Maggie's day by ordering her the mini-burger patties from the dog menu. One look at those soft brown eyes and wagging tail and you know you’ve done right.