If you and your buddy are looking for a challenging hike in the Santa Rosa, CA area, you’d be barking mad not to check out Hood Mountain Regional Park! The park has nineteen miles of trails for you and your pooch to sniff and explore, many of them boasting panoramic views of the Bay Area. You’ll find plenty of parking on at the northern entrance on Los Alamos Rd. and at the southern entrance on Pythian Rd., but there is a $7 parking fee. Hood Mountain Regional Park is a pawesome place for a day trip, but if you two want to make a vacation out of it, you can pitch your tent at one of the several environmental campsites in the preserve for a $20 fee. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation!
Walking the trails in Hood Mountain Regional Park, it’s easy to feel like you and your pup are thousands of miles from civilization. Whichever route you choose, you two are guaranteed some spectacular scenery! If you and your buddy are really looking to push yourselves, you two could try the Gunsight Rock and Mount Hood Trail, a strenuous 8-mile trek that features 23,500 feet of elevation gain. You might find the tough hike worth it, though -- the path winds its way uphill along the creek, past forest, wildflowers and even over tree bridges. The view from the top needs to be seen to be believed -- you can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge from here.
While the Gunsight Rock Trail is an extreme example, almost all of the trails in Hood Mountain Regional Park feature inclines that vary from the simply steep to the truly punishing. A trip here is certainly not for the unfit of heart or the unsure of foot! In terms of facilities, you’ll find restrooms at several trailheads, as well as at the campsites. Remember to bring bags and water, and enjoy everything Hood Mountain Regional Park has to offer!