The short answer: Lots and lots of things to get tails a-waggin! Start off with a romp at Baldwin Dog Park or the Paw Patch dog park in 126-acre Newhall Community Park, then hit the trails at one of the East Bay Regional Park District preserves just minutes away. Note that limited parking and some other restrictions (no fishing, swimming, boating or picnicking, for example) are in effect at EBRPD and that visitors are required to wear face masks when 6 feet of physical distance around others cannot be maintained.
Lime Ridge Open Space, held jointly by the cities of Concord and Walnut Creek, is a 1,200-acre open-space preserve laced with 25 miles of dog-friendly pathways. Dogs are welcome on all trails in the north area, but not in the south portion of the park, which is held as a wildlife preserve.
Shell Ridge Open Space, close to downtown Walnut Creek, boasts 1,420 acres of rolling ridgelines and valleys and 31 miles of dog-friendly trails, while Briones Regional Park, a haven of rolling hills and shady canyons, is a virtual wilderness tucked close to Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Concord. Its 6,255 acres offer great views and miles of trails where you and your pup can get in some aerobics.
And then there's the paved Iron Horse Regional Trail, which runs between Concord and Dublin along an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Eventual plans call for the trail to run 33 miles between Livermore in Alameda County and Suisun Bay in Contra Costa County. For now, its generous, 20-foot-wide width connects residential and commercial areas, business parks, schools, public transportation and parks. A plus for guests at the Hilton Concord: the trail runs adjacent to the hotel.
Whatever you do, don't miss taking a drive up the slopes of Mount Diablo, the landmark mountain towering 3,849 feet between the East Bay and the Central Valley. From the summit on a clear day, one of the most expansive views in North America opens up. Dogs are restricted to developed areas at Mount Diablo State Park, but these include a lookout deck near the summit. (Note that limited public parking is available due to Covid-19 restrictions, and that visitor centers remain closed. Our advice: Go early!)