Now that the Holiday rush is over it is time to get outside with your dog and enjoy the end of the year weather.  Hiking with your canine best friend can be a rewarding shared adventure for both of you. Taking your dog for an outing in a wild area not only gives him or her great exercise, it also stimulates the senses with new smells, sights, and terrains that he or she won’t experience anywhere else.

There are plenty of hikes in the SF Bay area for dog lovers and their pups, but it’s best to check any area you’re interested in before going to make sure it’s dog friendly – some parks and preserves don’t allow dogs.

One of the many great places to take your on-leash pup is Redwood Regional Park in the East Bay area.   A 1,830 acre park – peaceful now, but its history saw heavy logging activity in the mid-19th century – boasts a forest of 150-foot-tall redwoods that will take your breath away.

bubs f-5916 copy

I recommend it as a great place for a portrait session too and have taken a few clients there.  Like Bubs (above) or Niko and Izzie (you can check out Niko and Izzie’s day at the Redwood Park here).

cattle dog in roberts park oakland

The park has a very diverse eco-system, ranging from evergreens and grasslands to wildlife such as deer, golden eagles, and creeks with rainbow trout (no fishing is allowed in the park). Because of the forest’s cover, the air is cooler and there is less of a tendency for dogs to overheat, though you should always bring enough water for your dog to drink throughout your hike.

Another wonderful feature of Redwood Regional Park is that you can choose the difficulty level of your hike to suit the ability and energy level of both you and your dog. Flat circuits offer no resistance and are easy meadow walks; if you’re interested in a more exhilarating hike, a relatively moderate challenge can be found by taking uphill loops on sloping trails that range from three miles to eight miles in length.

Dogs must be kept on-leash, and there is a $2 per dog fee (weekends and major holidays from April through October); there is no fee for service dogs.

Natural areas offer unique pet photo opportunities – contact us for ideas about having your dog photographed in the wild.