Dogs Playing at the dog park in Petaluma. Photo: LeeAnne Martin
This delightful town on the Petaluma River charms first-time DogTrekkers with a historic downtown whose sidewalks are set about with water bowls for visiting canines. Cuddle up at the historic Hotel Petaluma to be right in the middle of the action, or move a bit away from the downtown core to the Sheraton Sonoma County Hotel, where you can relax in a peaceful, resort-like setting.
In our estimation, Petaluma is one of the most dog-friendly cities in California when it comes to places for on- and off-leash fun. Locals and visitors alike rave about Rocky Memorial Dog Park, named for a Petaluma police dog who died in the line of duty. At almost nine acres, it’s one of the largest dog parks in the state. And that’s not all: at a dozen city parks, licensed pups under voice control can frolic leash-free at designated dog run areas during posted hours, generally in the morning. At all of them, four very sensible rules apply: stay in the area with the dog, keep the dog under voice control, clean up after your pet, and don’t bring more than three dogs per person.
In addition, most other Petaluma parks allow leashed pets. Shollenberger Park, with a 2.2-mile trail, is especially lovely. We at DogTrekker thank city officials and local dog advocates for their pawsitive approach to canine recreation!
Also near Petaluma, dog–friendly Tolay Lake Regional Park can be enjoyed through a day–use permit program or on frequently scheduled guided hikes. The 1,769–acre property, formerly the Cardoza Ranch, consists of ridges, grasslands, wetlands and a historic homestead that many Bay Area residents know as the site of an annual pumpkin festival that draws as many as 30,000 parents and kids. Hike to a high point for views of Mount Tamalpais, Mount Diablo and other regional landmarks.