Dogs in Dancing Fountain
Sacramentans cherish the American River Parkway, a shady, 32-mile greenbelt meandering from the Old Sacramento historic district to sprawling Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. This jewel in the crown of the Sacramento County Regional Park System has many access points and offers an unlimited opportunity to stroll and splash with your best friend. First-time visitors can get a feel for the parkway by hiking north from Old Sac for about three-quarters of a mile to the Sacramento River Water Intake Structure, an unexpectedly delightful piece of architecture with public art and a “dancing fountain” that both you and your dog will find highly amusing in summer and probably not functioning in winter.
Old Sacramento is a destination in itself with 28 acres cradling more than 50 gold Rush-era buildings, several museums, great waterfront views and lots of things to do. Daisy might not care much about history, but she’s sure to enjoy the walk as you check out the Pony Express statue, examine vintage railroad equipment outside the California State Railroad Museum or peek inside the Wells Fargo History Museum to see the scales that once weighed millions of dollar in gold dust. Walk across the iconic Tower Bridge and stroll the river’s west bank for downtown skyline views and a close-up look at the Ziggurat, a landmark both loved and despised by locals. Need refreshment? Fido can lounge by your side at a patio table along Front Street, where a half-dozen delis serve up everything from Indonesian snacks to Greek salads. For a change of scenery, take the pedestrian tunnel under Interstate 5 to Sacramento Downtown Plaza, a fresh-air shopping mall with a dog-friendly brewpub, River City Brewing Company , featuring great food, interesting brews and a dog-friendly patio.
For a more back-to-nature experience, enter the parkway upstream at Ancil Hoffman Park or the dog-friendly Nimbus Fish Hatchery to explore woodsy sections of the trail where coyotes, deer and wild turkeys are sometimes spotted. From November through March, the two of you can watch Chinook salmon flailing furiously on the hatchery fish ladder and peer through a spawning-deck window to observe the collection of eggs. The dog-friendly patio at Karen’s Bakery Café in hip and happening Old Town Folsom is a great place to fuel up for a parkway hike or chill out at the end of the day.