Bernal Heights Park is one of San Francisco’s most popular and breathtaking off-leash dog play areas. Dog-walkers, joggers, trail-runners, bird-watchers, and picnic-goers all flock to the park for its amazing views of the city, open grassy hills, and the abundance of friendly dogs that are allowed to play and roam freely. The park stretches out over 26 acres, making it one of the larger off-leash dog play areas in San Francisco.
The park’s main parking lot is located on Folsom Street, but many people park at the end of Bernal Heights Boulevard. One wide road circles the base of the park and then winds its way up to the summit of Bernal Heights Park, where a fenced-off radio tower is located. From the top, beautiful views and gentle slopes will make you feel far away from all that stretches out beneath you.
Several smaller dirt trails circle around the hill, offering runners and joggers routes of varying difficulty. Most people bring their dogs on a leash and let them loose at the top of the hill, where there is much more level space for dogs to roam and play. Several benches at the top of the hill offer a brief place of rest, but most of the area requires you and your dog to actively climb and descend unpaved roads.
Since the park is an off-leash area, your dog is never required to be on a leash. That being said, the park does recommend it in the evenings since wild coyotes have been known to frequent the area. At both entrances to the park, poop bags are provided in the event that you do not bring your own. Expect to share the park with many other visitors, as it is one of the most popular public spaces in the largely residential area.
If you are looking for a wide-open space to take in the views and mingle with other dogs and dog lovers, check out Bernal Heights Park. On clear days, the sunset over the city is truly something to behold.