Macaroni exploring Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.
Photo Credit: @pennandpaww
Three valleys and four cities make up the Tri-Valley region, which away from urban areas is characterized by rolling hills studded with gnarly oaks and sprawling vineyards. It’s less than an hour from San Francisco or Sacramento, straddling the line between Alameda and Contra Costa counties on the “sunny side” of the bay. Dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, wineries and craft breweries abound as you explore the three valleys—Livermore, Amador and San Ramon—from which the region takes its name.
Murphy’s Paw, a boutique pet store in downtown Pleasanton, is a good place to get oriented. Here you can pick up a treat for your four-legged friend, shop for pet “pawducts” and quiz the staff about dog-friendly everything in the area. Then, stroll down Main Street, where you’ll find scads of dog-friendly outdoor restaurant tables and see lots of dog water bowls outside the intriguing and pet-welcoming shops. Time your downtown visit to the first Wednesday of the month to take in a dog-friendly 1st Wednesday Street Party featuring live music, food, wine and merchandise from more than 150 vendors.
Like to walk or hike? You can explore Tri-Valley on foot and paws via one of the more unique bits of real estate in the region. The Iron Horse Regional Trail follows the course of an abandoned railroad track 32 miles from Highway 4 in Concord to Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton, winding its way through towns (including Dublin, Danville and San Ramon), business parks, residential areas and open fields. It’s popular with cyclists, equestrians, joggers and pedestrians as well as dogs and their people. Although scenic and restful, the paved path rarely veers far from civilization. The towns that rose along the rail corridor in the late 1800s stand ready to offer you a latte (and Bonnie a bowl of water) as you pass through. Step off the trail in historic downtown Danville, and you’ll hit the shopping, dining, craft beer and diversion lottery (if in need of more dog treats, stop by Molly’s Pup-Purr-ee, a dog boutique named after the owner’s Welsh terrier).
If you’re looking for more places to stretch your legs, the East Bay Regional Park District manages tens of thousands of acres spanning Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, offering some 1,200 miles of dog-friendly trails. Away from developed areas, four-legged friends trained to come when called can trek with you leash free. With less time at your disposal, you may want to unclip and let your pup run off some steam at a regional dog park. You’ll find five off-leash dog parks in Livermore, three in Pleasanton, one in Dublin and another in Danville.
Photo Credit: @pennandpaww