Sometimes a lovely May day beckons with a leisurely stroll, rather than a full-on hike. For DogTrekkers who enjoy spring blooms, few places bring richer rewards than the UC Davis Arboretum, 100 acres of meticulously curated botanical gardens bordering a paved path that runs for almost two miles along Putah Creek, a scenic stream burbling through the university campus on the edge of dog-friendly Davis. With so many plants in flower, you’ll have as many aromas to sniff as your dog, whose nose will naturally gravitate to places yours doesn’t.
You’ll encounter lots of other dog-walkers as you stroll through a series of themed plantings 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 demonstration and teaching gardens 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.
Want something a little more aerobic? Head for the Cache Creek Natural Area straddling the border between Yolo and Lake counties. The Redbud Trail is a seven-mile path that starts in a broad meadow and heads up a ridge for panoramic views of Cache Creek and a sea of hills. For more suggestions on dog-friendly hikes in Yolo County, click here.