Maricopa is a small city in southern California near Bakersfield that is known in the area as “The Gateway to the Sea.” Located near the foothills of the San Joaquin Mountains, Maricopa enjoys proximity to natural resources that provide outdoor adventures for residents, visitors and their pups. If your fur-baby should need medical attention while in the area, there are at least 5 veterinarians in Maricopa and nearby Taft that will get your pup up and wagging in no time!
The dog-welcoming Carrizo Plain National Monument stretches north from Maricopa for close to 40 miles, with the San Andreas fault following along on the eastern boundary. With 250,000 acres, this vast park is home to many species of regularly visible wildlife, including several rare species that are experiencing a resurgence here. Please remember to maintain control of Fido on a leash as you walk along the trails! Carrizo is also home to a beautiful display of spring wildflowers that carpet the mountainsides and run along streams and around vernal pools. Abundant from March through May, the sight of these brilliant blooms is indescribable! If you want to stay overnight in the park, there are 2 campgrounds with semi-primitive sites equipped with fire rings, restrooms and picnic tables.
You’ll find lots to do outside with the fur-pup in the Maricopa area!
The pup-friendly Maricopa City Park on San Joaquin Street is a small pocket park that features a playground for the kiddos, a paved walking path, and lots of shade trees. The surface is a combination of sand and grass, and there is a water fountain to keep the thirst under control for humans and doggos. There are several picnic tables in the park, some of which are under a shady shelter with grills nearby for that al fresco meal with your furry friend! Benches and low walls along the sidewalk-style path are pawrfect for a sit under the trees with Fido and a book or cup of coffee, and the park is within an easy walking distance from downtown. It’s a furtastic little park!
Taft is Maricopas’s neighbor to the northeast, and it’s in this Taft neighborhood that you’ll find the Buena Vista Park, located on 86-acre Lake Evans. Open year-round, the pet-friendly campground features 112 RV and tent sites, each of which includes electric and other hookups, picnic tables, and grills. A marina has a boat launch for your trips out on the lake with Fido, and free drinkable water is available. You and your fur-pup will have a pawtastic time walking the bike path that meanders through the campground and along the lakeshore, while the kiddos play at the playground! And with access to the Aquatic Recreational Area on Lake Webb, just south on Ironbark Road, you’ll find plenty to do!
Taft’s City Center neighborhood is home to the Taft Sunset Rail Trail, which has its endpoints at 2nd Street just west of Hillard Street, totaling about 1.5 miles. The asphalt surface makes it pawrfect for walking, biking and skating with the fur-pup in tow, and it’s wheelchair-accessible. A public parking lot is conveniently located at the trailhead on the corner of 2nd Street and Main. And while you’re in the neighborhood, head over to La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill on Kern Street, where you’ll find an outdoor table waiting and a menu full of traditional Mexican fare, including overstuffed grilled burritos with all the usual side delicacies, and freshly made crispy salads in tortilla shells. Ole´!
Lebec is a small community to the southeast of Maricopa, and it’s where you’ll find Fort Tejon State Historic Park. The pet-friendly park is primarily a historic site and it contains opportunities for you and your leashed fur-pup to explore the old adobe structures amid meadows and grasslands that are the habitats for a wide variety of wildlife from insects to deer to raptors. A freshwater marsh and creek attract many animals, and the oak woodlands provide forage and shelter. Be sure to keep the pup leashed when wandering in these areas! Interactive paths loop through the fort and several picnic areas are located near the visitor center at the entrance off Lebec Road. For an adventure that is slightly different from hiking through desert and forest, a visit to Fort Tejon State Park is pawrfect!
This neighborhood in Frazier Park provides the closest access to Los Padres National Forest. For those living or visiting in Maricopa, its a distance of about 10 miles, although the physical address of the Forest is in Ojai, on the south side of the park almost 50 miles away. Los Padres stretches east from Monterey on the coast, and there are mountain summits and ridges in the park where you can see the ocean to the west and the Channel Islands beyond. Almost 2 million acres, the park contains numerous wilderness areas as well as developed recreation areas, some with campgrounds. The Reyes Peak Campground sits on the side of a ridge and consists of 6 sites which include fire rings, tables and BBQ grills. The campground features furtastic views and several trails lead from it, including the Reyes Peak Trail where you and your always- leashed fur-buddy will likely be treated to the appearance of hawks and other birds, as well as deer, bear and coyote. Woofderful!