The Arastradero Creek Loop in the Arastradero Preserve is one of Palo Alto's most pawpular dog walking spots, and for good reason. A loop around the 609-acre preserve is just over five miles. Though centrally located, the preserve offers a beautiful mix of woodland and open meadow, a small lake and the namesake creek, and rolling green hills. The restrooms and water fountains at the trailhead are a total bonus!
Whether your pups are trail hounds or lazy lapdogs, you'll find a hike that works for your fur family. Using the frequent cross-trails, it's easy to shorten this loop to whatever distance your buddies can handle. The preserve has 10.5 miles of trail to explore, too, so you won't run out of room to explore if Fido has energy to burn.
To get the full tour, hop on the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail from the parking area and veer left onto the Arastradero Creek Trail at the first junction. Follow the creek (which you'll see in glimpses through the dense foliage) all the way to Woodrat Trail. Veer right onto Woodrat Trail, and then right again onto the Bowl Loop Trail and Meadowlark Trail for your return to the parking area.
For a smaller loop for small dogs, just follow the Arastradero Creek Trail to the first juncture, a sharp right turn onto Acorn Trail, which leads to the Meadlowlark Trail for a quick return. If Fido and Fifi really want a challenge, continue on Arastradero Creek Trail the way to Foothills Park where you have another 1,400 acres of natural beauty to explore. (Sadly, dogs aren't allowed in Foothills Park on the weekends, so save that journey for a weekday.)
Whether you take the long way or not, you'll enjoy a remarkably peaceful setting with stretches of wooded privacy and invigorating open hillsides just begging for a Julie Andrews-style Sound of Music tribute spin. (Try it: your dogs will think you're hilarious.) Easy to reach and exciting to navigate, the Arastradero Creek Loop will leave your fur family tired and happy.