Where to hike with dogs in the Bay Area: Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.
This place is quickly becoming one of my favorites! I’m always looking for places that truly allow dogs to run free, OFF leash, and this is one of them! The pleasantly moderate trails lead to gorgeous views over the canyon in one direction and the cities of Oakland and San Francisco in the other.
It was so clear today that I was even able to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
There are options for everyone at Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. Every time I’ve gone, there have been folks of all walks of life enjoying the scene; families with children, couples or friends hiking, and of course, dog owners and their playful pups!
Let me just dive into these details first and foremost.
The digital address and directions work great in any GPS. No tricky entrances, lost service, or anything like that for this one.
*Although, at the moment, there does seem to be some construction going on throughout the streets as you drive up to the trailhead, so keep an eye out for the detour. It’ll circumvent yet still lead you right to where you need to be. AKA here:
This will NOT be the first trailhead you come upon. There is another at the bottom of the hill, before you arrive at Sibley. I have yet to explore that area. An adventure for another day! For now, you’ll pass that staging area and head up to the top.
There is a parking lot at the aforementioned staging area with about 40 or so spots, handicap included. Weekdays are no problem. Conversely, weekends do get busy so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of arriving on a beautiful Saturday, pretty much anytime after 10AM. There is overflow availability along the road for those particularly busy days.
Once you park, there are clear signs and signals leading the way. Picnic benches, a water spigot, and other amenities welcome you to the park. Dogs are to be kept ON leash in this area. Once you walk up the hill a ways, you’ll see a sign that says it is then okay to remove them from their leash.
When I say this place is for everyone, it is apparent from the start. At the very beginning of the trail, you can choose if you’d like to walk through the wooded canopy or a paved trail that’s directly parallel. Great access for those families with stroller’ed babies, for example. The trail does converge on some rocky parts, but those beefy, big-wheel, sport strollers can surely traverse the terrain.
Overall, the Reserve seems accessible to most, especially with the casual incline grade. No need to be a professional outdoors-person! BUT if you’re in the mood to pump those buns, you absolutely have the option to jump on one of the little side trails in ascent toward less oft-visited peaks. On the opposite side of the spectrum, more leisurely trails are also easily and readily accessible. No problem! Even wander away within the labyrinths scattered throughout.
Needless to say, the dogs love it!
Only one con that I can think of (which is mostly a general rule of thumb with dogs anyway but…) watch out for ticks. We’ve gone and found one; we’ve also gone and not. Just be aware that with any wooded area, there could be risks of catching a critter along the way. We are entering their habitat after all!
I can go on and on about all the little details that I love about the place, but instead, I’ll just tell you to go and get your butt out there! It’s beautiful and worth it.
This trail is Charlie approved!