The drive east on Interstate 80 from the San Francisco Bay Area to points beyond can hardly be described as scenic, but you don’t have to go far off the road to immerse yourself in an oasis of cool, leafy beauty.
The U.C. Davis Arboretum, just off the highway, is 100 acres of curated greenery along the banks of a waterway flowing through the university campus. It’s a serene place to walk, bike, jog, contemplate and learn about plant communities in the bargain.
You’ll encounter lots of other dog-walkers as you stroll through a series of gorgeously landscaped gardens featuring labeled plants from various parts of the world. And taking a stroll is indeed an international venture. The arboretum’s collections span the globe, from Australia to South America, East Asia to the Mediterranean, Central America to California. The 18 themed planting areas also include spaces devoted to desert plants, conifers, acacias, oaks, redwoods and redbuds. There’s even a garden showcasing white flowers said to glow luminously under a full moon.
Benches and picnic tables are numerous at the preserve, but dogs must remain on leash. If your furry bundle of energy needs to run off steam before or after your arboretum visit, make a beeline for nearby Toad Hollow Dog Park, where dogs can romp and play on 2.5 fenced acres. It’s just across the parking lot from Sudwerk, a micro brewery and restaurant whose shady patio is a cherished hangout for Davis dogs and their uprights.
Photo: Dot and Dash go for a walk in the U.C. Davis Arboretum" by Janet Fullwood