Fairfax is a small town in Marin County, about 16 miles north of San Francisco. The city was voted “Best Little Town in Marin” two years in a row, which came as no surprise to the local pup-ulation. This area has a unique mash-up of natural features and suburban convenience, with 8 bark parks, several hiking trails, and over 100 pet-friendly eateries (in just 10 miles)! There are also several vets in the vicinity to keep locals in paw-fect shape!
The community takes great care to maintain its beautiful ecosystems, and is the only city in the US that holds a Green Party majority. This eco-friendly metropolis is part of the Open Space District, which encompasses 62,000 acres of mountains, redwood forests, and other vital habitats.
A favorite feature of the Open Space Preserve is beautiful Cascade Canyon. This canyon is located on the Fairfax side, and is home to many species of unique plants and animals. Leashed pups are welcome to explore the various habitats of the canyon and climb to the top of the lovely Cascade Falls.
For more advanced hiking, check out Cataract Falls Trail. This moderate to difficult trail is great for high-energy puppers and experienced hikers. It is a favorite spot for local photographers and boasts amazing views of Alpine Lake and the falls. The best times to visit are in winter or spring (or after heavy rainfall) when the falls are at their peak flow.
Bolinas Bay is home to two dog-friendly beaches only 26
miles southwest of Fairfax. The beautiful, white sand Stinson Beach welcomes
leashed pups on the Marin County side, and even has a picnic area for a
shoreside lunch! Lifeguards patrol the area from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but
guests should be aware of the tides and know how to spot rip currents. At the
mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon lies beautiful Bolinas Beach, a quiet public beach where
leashed pups to enjoy some fun in the sun. Parking can be an issue and local
cops are known to be strict, so visitors should get there early!
Southwest Fairfax provides many opportunities for outdoor adventures with your pup! Loma Alta is a great place to start, with spectacular natural features and several scenic trails to explore. The park reaches a peak elevation of 1,592 feet, providing for a stunning view of nine surrounding counties! One of the park’s main features is Fairfax Falls, a truly magnificent 25-foot cascading waterfall that is not to be missed! This is a very special place for bird-watchers as it provides the ideal breeding ground for several types of Larks. This park’s unique soil type creates for beautiful wildflower displays, which are considered some of the best in the United States! Leash up your pup and experience all the natural beauty Southwest Fairfax has to offer!
Baltimore Canyon is another great natural feature of the Open Space District, and only 9.2 miles from Fairfax. This preserve welcomes leashed pups and boasts several scenic trails for Fido to enjoy. One particularly pawesome path is the Dawn Falls Trail, a 4.5-mile moderately difficult loop trail which ascends 580 feet! This trail gives visitors a magnificent view of Dawn Falls but is best enjoyed after rainfall or during winter and early spring. Visitors are advised to wear hiking boots with grips, as the trail can get very steep! This is a very popular trail with pups and humans alike -- so expect some foot (and paw) traffic!
Mill Valley is a hot spot for affluent puppers, boasting an upscale pet-friendly shopping center and 15 Fido-approved restaurants! Strawberry Village Shopping Center welcomes leashed pets and has a variety of merchants and eateries to choose from. While you’re enjoying some retail therapy, be sure to check out Woodlands Pet Store! If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, check out the Old Railroad Grade Trail. This rail-trail was once thought to be the “crookedest railroad in the world” and had 281 curves! The trail begins at Canyon Road and climbs the eastern peak of Mt. Tamalpais. The trail even features a snack bar, restrooms, and a visitor center—talk about convenience!