The Foothill Open Space Preserve in Palo Alto has a short trail that offers sweeping views of the Bay Area. From the north-facing ridge, you'll be able to see communities from San Jose to San Francisco. The steep climb takes you through chaparral and mixed woodland to a grassy hilltop. This pathway is open from sunrise to sunset year-round, and it is beautiful in any season. It can get hot at the summit in the summer, so plan your outing accordingly. Visitor traffic here is light -- you may not see any horseback riders or other hikers when you come here.
The trailhead is off Page Mill Road. Look for the brown gate and wood fence. There are two roadside parking spots here. Step over the stile and start your hike along the dirt lane. The first part of this route is a moderate climb under oak and madrone woods. As you reach the slope, the pathway gets steeper and opens up to grassland. Before you know it, you'll be at the top. Rest at the bench on the hill's crest and take in the scenery. Bring lunch with you to share a picnic with your four-footed pal.
The preserve has designated areas that allow dogs as long as they're on a lead at all times. Bring waste bags to collect your furry friend's waste. Be sure to carry refreshments with you for the trip -- you won't find any potable water sources or restrooms here.
The trail to the scenic viewpoint in the Foothill Open Space Preserve is short but sweet. This route offers you and Fido a short burst of exercise and a quiet retreat. After climbing the slope to the ridge, you can enjoy a meal or silently admire the panoramic view and look out over the ravines to San Francisco Bay.