Otto at Tilden Park, Berkeley. Photo: Carol Kolb DeWilde (CC)
In our last newsletter, Spring Delights in the East Bay, we profiled some favorite hikes in the green, rolling hills of the East Bay. This time around, short hikes with ocean views are the ticket. If you’re visiting the San Francisco area and have only a couple of hours available to get outside with your pet, give these options a try.
- Tilden Regional Park: On weekends, this beloved park in the Berkeley Hills can resemble a carnival scene, and parking can be problematic. But come early or midweek, and you and Spot can enjoy spectacular views from the East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail (also known as the Bay Area Ridge Trail) or many other paths in the 2,079-acre preserve. Got kids? Don’t miss a ride on the park’s dog-friendly miniature train.
- Mori Point: Sprawled over six miles of coastline just over the hills from San Francisco International Airport, the community of Pacifica is a gateway to fresh-air adventures, the most accessible of which is the three-mile trek to Mori Point, a jutting headland affording spectacular views up and down the coast. Interpretive signs along the path shed light on the region’s natural and human history, and spring wildflower displays add a punch of color to the rugged diorama. If the scenery at the top looks vaguely familiar, it might be because this is where Harold drove his Jaguar off a cliff in the final scene of the 1971 black comedy Harold and Maude. Keep your dog on a leash; you wouldn’t want her going over, too!
- Marin Headlands: One minute you’re immersed in big-city commotion, the next minute you’re enveloped in serene views you’ve seen a million times in photographs, but perhaps have never soaked up in person. The Marin Headlands, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, is 12,000 acres of rugged landscapes managed by the National Park Service. Only a few of its many trails are dog-friendly, but don’t let that discourage you. Stop at the visitor center for a map, and then set off on all or part of a loop hike leaving from Rodeo Lagoon and incorporating parts of the Coastal, Miwok and Wolf Ridge Trails. For a treat at the end of the trek, let your dog go for a leash-free (and legal) romp on Rodeo Beach.