A lot of favorite spring destinations have taken a beating this year. Normally lovely meadows are under water, babbling brooks are dangerous torrents and low-lying trails are awash in mud. So with Jake bouncing off the walls, it's time to head for the hills. Whether you want a quick scenic stroll, a nature walk or an ambitious ridgetop hike, these East Bay Regional Parks in the hills above Oakland are just the place for the active human-canine set. Download a map and bring it with you to help you navigate the trails and keep out of areas where dogs aren't welcome.
Possibly the most closely guarded secret of East Bay DogTrekkers for decades—for good reason, as it's accessible only via Parkridge Drive, a quiet residential street in the hills—is the Macdonald Trail in Anthony Chabot Regional Park. While it's a beautiful area year-round, offering nice hikes through oak-studded hills and cow pastures, this is the ideal season to visit. The paths that will be dusty in summer are now nice and walkable, the poison oak that will be out in force later isn't such a problem, and the multi-county vistas are incredible. You can go for the short stroll or the marathon, and there are many picnic areas. One fork in the trail takes you to the lovely Bort Meadow. Scope out the campsites for a future visit!
At Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, pick up a self-guided tour brochure to learn about the area's volcanic past. Since dogs can't read, the trails are probably of greater interest. You can stick to the paved roads or branch off onto trails to explore peaks and ponds.
Or, pick up the Bay Area Ridge Trail and go as far as you'd like. Climb to the top of the ridge for breathtaking vistas of San Francisco Bay, or descend to check out valleys and ponds. Well, maybe wait till it's a little dryer for that one.