Dog-Friendly Hikes, Parks and Beaches in Sonoma County
There's nothing better than exploring the natural wonders of Wine Country with your canine companion.
For folks traveling with furry friends, finding a destination with pet-friendly things to do can be a deciding factor. Throughout Wine Country, we have plenty of doggone outdoor fun available for you and your sidekick, including dog-friendly beaches and hikes as well as community dog parks.
Note: Dogs on leashes are welcome at nearly all Sonoma County Regional Parks, with the only exceptions being Shiloh Ranch and North Sonoma Mountain Regional Parks.
Here are some local hiking trails, dog parks, and beaches in Sonoma County.
With nearly 2,000 acres on the northern end of Sonoma Valley, Hood Mountain offers 19 miles of trails geared to fit hikers and their adventure pups; traverse creeks, grasslands, forests, and even peaks for challenges and stunning vistas. Gunsight Rock, an outcropping about 300 feet below the 2,730-foot summit, offers sweeping panoramas of Sonoma Valley and beyond.
Though it's easily accessible from Highway 101 near downtown Petaluma, visiting Helen Putnam Regional Park will make you feel as if you and your fluffy buds have 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 2- to 3-mile hike offering routes that open up to prospects of steep rolling hills dotted with grazing cattle and clusters of oak.
Taylor Mountain Regional Park, Santa Rosa
Located in southeast Santa Rosa, Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve's trails climb to the 1,380-foot summit — a great workout for human calves and canine quads. 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.
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. You'll enjoy the sight of Pinnacle Rock seastack just offshore ... and we bet your pup will enjoy the smells of the ocean.
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 with your pup? Head south along the park's Bluff Top Trail, walking atop coastal cliffs that afford far-ranging views.
A local favorite, Foothill Regional Park 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 7 miles of multi-use trails cover varied terrain, offering easy to challenging options for hikers and pups.
Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail, Bodega Bay
This paved, dog-friendly 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, 1-mile trail that also loops through Doran Regional Park.
Cloverdale's River Park is the largest public park on the Russian River, with easy access from either end of town. Running along the western bank of the river, the park offers a 1-mile paved trail that's perfect for a quick hike with your pup.
Dog Parks in Sonoma County
Rincon Valley Community Dog Park, Santa Rosa
Founded in 1992, Rincon is a fenced-in, three-quarter-acre doggie paradise within 18.7-acre Rincon Valley Community Park. Dogs can run about unleashed in the fenced lawn and play areas, and can also enjoy a small swimming pond. There's a doggie drinking fountain and separate areas for large and small dogs, too.
Nestled within the 157-acre Ragle Ranch Regional Park, this half-acre pup retreat offers a redwood-chip surface for cavorting canines, as well as benches, shade trees, and water. Beyond the fenced-in park, Ragle contains 3.56 miles of mostly woodland trails with good opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing with Fido.
Ernie Smith Dog Park, located inside Ernie Smith Regional Park, provides a pet drinking fountain and picnic tables. Beyond the fenced dog park, you'll find a children's play area, a softball field, and a 1/2-mile, paved walking path with a wildlife-viewing platform along the route.
Elizabeth Anne Perrone Dog Park, Glen Ellen
Located within the 162-acre Sonoma Valley Regional Park, this dog park includes a fenced, one-acre, off-leash play area with a double-gated entry, dog drinking fountain, and a shade gazebo. The park also offers paved and dirt trails. Outside the play area, dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet.
For a great day at the beach with your dog, head to one of these regional parks:
- Doran Regional Park (Bodega Bay) has a 2-mile sandy stretch of pet-friendly beach.
- Forestville River Access (Forestville) offers a wide, sandy beach on the Russian River that can be accessed via a short trail.
- Riverfront Regional Park (Healdsburg) has trails extending along the Russian River — ideal for hiking and swimming with your furry friend.
- Steelhead Beach (Forestville) contains a small boat launch and picnic area.
- Sunset Beach River Park (Forestville) has a beach and picnic area.
Responsible Travel Reminder
While out enjoying these dog-friendly hikes, beaches, and dog parks, we encourage you to follow our Leave No Trace Principles by picking up after your pets (and tossing those biodegradable poo bags into trash bins!).
Written by Sonoma Insider Mariah Harkey.