Dog Friendly Hikes in Sonoma County Your Pup Will Love
For folks with furry friends, whether or not a hike is dog-friendly can be the deciding factor for which park to visit or trail to hike. It's doggone fun to bring your sidekick along to the gorgeous woods, rivers, coast, and forests of Sonoma County!
Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.
Here are a few dog-friendly hikes in Sonoma County your pup will love:
The trails below are rugged and great for an experienced hiker. For quick reference, it's good to note that dogs on leashes are welcome at all Sonoma County Regional Parks, with the only exceptions being Shiloh Ranch and North Sonoma Mountain Regional Parks, where dogs are not allowed on trails.
With nearly 2,000 acres on the northern end of Sonoma Valley, Hood Mountain offers 19 miles of trails geared to fit hikers; they proceed across creeks, through grasslands, into forests, and up peaks, providing challenges and stunning vistas. Gunsight Rock, a rocky outcropping about 300 feet below the 2,730-foot summit, offers incredible views of Sonoma Valley and beyond. When hiking Hood Mountain Regional Park's 19 miles of trails, make sure to watch that you don't connect with Sugarloaf Ridge State Park's trails, where dogs are not allowed.
Though it's easily accessible from Highway 101 near downtown Petaluma, visiting Helen Putnam Regional Park will make you feel you've left the world far behind. Each of the nine trails in this 216-acre park are relatively short, but can be combined to make a wonderful two- to three-mile hike offering beautiful panoramic views of steep rolling hills dotted with cattle and clusters of oak.
Located in southeast Santa Rosa, Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve offers far-reaching views as you climb trails leading to the 1,380-foot summit. From the top, you'll be able to see central Sonoma County, the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the Mayacamas Mountains, the Coast Range, and many landmarks of the North Bay. It’s a stunning sight.
The beach on a hot summer's day is a great place to bring your dog. You can embark on miles of trails along the coast, or set up your seat for the day and enjoy the crashing waves of the beach. While you're on the coast, be sure to stop to eat at The Dog House in Bodega. You'll not only get a tasty burger or hot dog for yourself, but your pup will be given his own new favorite lunchtime treat!
This half-mile unpaved path winds through a gulch that leads to a small, picturesque beach on Bodega Bay. The quarter-mile beach is dotted with interesting rocks and tide pools, and you'll enjoy the view of Pinnacle Rock just offshore.
This paved trail in Bodega Bay runs along a salt marsh that's home to wildlife, including thousands of birds migrating and nesting throughout the year. The path is easy, looping one mile through Doran Regional Park and Bird Walk Coastal Access Park. You'll follow Doran Park Marsh and a series of tidal channels, cross over a 110' bridge that spans Cheney Creek, and connect to the Bird Walk Park up on the levees.
Further north, this stunningly beautiful park at the junction of the Gualala River and Pacific Ocean offers fabulous ocean views, white beach dunes, and, in summer, a sand spit at the river's mouth. Hunt for sea glass, collect shells, roll down sand dunes, or just sit and appreciate the views. Feel like putting on the miles? Head south along the park's Bluff Top Trail, walking atop coastal cliffs that afford far-ranging views.
For hikers of all levels of experience, Sonoma County has many shorter trails that offer humans and their dogs a healthy dose of nature.
This local favorite park in Windsor features thick oak woodlands, rolling hillsides, ridge-top views of northern Sonoma County, three ponds for bass and bluegill fishing, grassy meadows, and spring wildflowers. Nearly seven miles of multi-use trails cover varied terrain, offering easy to challenging options for hikers and pups, mountain bikers, and equestrians.
Nestled within 157-acre Ragle Ranch Regional Park, the half-acre Ragle Ranch Dog Park features a redwood-chip surface for cavorting dogs, as well as benches, shade trees, and water. Beyond the fenced-in dog park, Ragle contains 3.56 miles of mostly woodland trails offering good wildlife viewing opportunities in Sebastopol.
The 162-acre Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen contains a one-acre fenced-off portion of the park, the Elizabeth Perrone Dog Park. The beginning part of the walk is a paved path and continues on a dirt trail.
If your doggo likes the water, a trail along the Russian River is a great option!
Cloverdale's River Park is the largest public park on the Russian River, with easy access from either end of town. It offers a paved and fully accessible trail along the river.
Running beside the Russian River Forestville, this is a great place to cool off with your pup, and the park's intact ecosystem offers glimpses of unique riparian plants and river wildlife.
Set on the outskirts of Healdsburg, Riverfront Regional Park circles around a central lake, from which it's only a five-minute stroll to the Russian River. Post-hike, you and your pooch can enjoy lunch under the park's picnic table area in a grove of redwoods.
Although many wineries allow dogs on property and some even in the tasting rooms, there are two that stand out for their love for dogs.
This dog-friendly winery periodically offers a four-hour dog hike for guests and their furry friends. Participants hike through the Kunde Estate for a few hours with a wine tasting at the end.
The lovely, 375-acre Bartholomew Park is home to this esteemed winery, a 3-mile hiking trail, shady paths, and picnic tables—all of which welcome dogs on leash. In the winery's tasting room, you can sip on estate-grown wines your pup enjoys complimentary dog treats.
In addition, here are some great dog parks to take your dog to, as well as pet-friendly restaurants and lodging/camping in Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Mariah Harkey.