The Homestead-Four Corners hike is a hidden gem in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which may be the most dog-friendly national park in the country! Not only are dogs welcome, but in many parts of the park, including this trail, dogs are allowed to be off-leash (though they must be under strict voice control at all times).
Golden Gate National Recreation Area is unique among national parks in that it is made up of a patchwork of land tracts across several counties. This part of the park is much less well-defined than more famous places within its boundaries, like Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods. There is no clear marker naming this trail, or even a dedicated parking lot, though there are places to pull off the road and park along Panoramic Highway.
While its origin on a grassy knoll just off of a highway is humble, this trail ultimately yields spectacular sights as it winds through redwood groves to ridges with panoramic views of the Mill and Homestead Valleys. Among the diverse landscapes, you will see are forests, grasslands, and suburban vistas of homes built on hillsides. There are a few different loops you can take from this trailhead; this hike forms a 3.5-mile loop with an out-and-back section along Homestead Trail East.
To plan your hike, it's a good idea to visit the Homestead Valley Land Trust's website, where you'll find a detailed trail map. Using that map, you can make your hike shorter or longer by adding connections to other area trails, including the Madrone, Maverick, and Ridgewood Trails. For this 3.5-mile loop route, follow the Homestead Trail West northeast from Four Corners. When you reach the intersection, take the Homestead Trail East to the end of the protected area and back. Then follow the Homestead Fire Road and Homestead Summit Trail to the Homestead Hill high point and back to where you parked.
Take your time to enjoy the freedom you'll feel exploring this beautiful hidden corner of the Bay Area as your pup roams and sniffs at their own pace. You'll both go home feeling like you've found your own special place.