Fort Baker is part of the Bay Area’s Golden Gate National Recreation area -- and it’s a real mutts-visit for athletic animals and hound-dog history buffs alike! The Fort Baker Trail itself one-mile loop that makes for a quick morning or afternoon workout with plenty of time left to explore the riverside trails and the historic military buildings below. Parking is free, though it is a little hard to find -- the parking lot has a dirt surface and is located just after the Bay Area Discovery Museum on East Road. The trail is pretty well-frequented, so you and your pooch are unlikely to get some alone time, but you probably won’t need to deal with a crowd.
If you’ve just come from the architectural wonder and bright California poppies of Fort Baker itself, you might find yourself thinking that the Fort Baker Trail isn’t much to look at. Give it a chance, though -- the route meanders up a slight slope through tall eucalyptus trees, and you might even spot some endangered Mission Blue butterflies. Those trees shelter poison oak, though, so be sure to keep your buddy on a tight leash! You’ll also encounter some steps by a gorgeous chapel. The main draw of this trek, though, is the view from the top -- expect to see stunning vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Angel Island.
The Fort Baker Trail demands a certain level of fitness -- the route does run uphill, and those steps are pretty steep -- but the inclines are gradual, so barring mobility issues, the trail should suit fitter furry friends and the less athletic among us alike. The surface is dirt fire road, but there are a couple of uneven stretches, so watch your step! In terms of facilities, there aren’t any restrooms at the trailhead -- you may need to pop into the Discovery Museum to use the bathroom, and you’ll have to leave your pup outside. The trail has one further peculiarity -- it’s closed to the public when the Office of Homeland Security’s threat level goes to orange. Keep an eye on the news, remember to bring bags and water, and enjoy your time on the Fort Baker Trail!