John McLaren Park is San Francisco’s second largest park after Golden Gate Park, and it is a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike because of its beautiful natural setting, wonderful views, and tranquil atmosphere. The park spans over 300 acres encompassing grasslands and forests, and it also contains a golf course, playground, amphitheater, and more. One of the park’s greatest assets is its trail system, which houses over seven miles of trails and includes the John McLaren Park Loop Trail, which runs just over a mile around the center of the park. The trails are a great way to explore the park, and you can bring your dog with you as well!
There are parking lots on the east and west sides of John Shelley drive, and both provide access to the trail system via the loop trail in the north. If you begin your walk on the west side of the loop, you will notice the upper reservoir, a small body of water that has an area with picnic tables overlooking it. If you head north and then west, you will find the first set of restrooms in the park, as well as another small picnic area set in the park’s picturesque meadows.
If you continue west, you can see McNab Lake on the outside of the loop, and on the inside of the loop, you will find Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, which also has restrooms. You and your pooch will pass by the eastern trailhead, and then loop back around to where you started. Also consider exploring the trails on the south side of the park, which pass by the golf course, skate park, and garden.
When you are visiting any trail, always be sure to follow the trail’s guidelines and be courteous to the other trail users you encounter. John McLaren Park requires dogs to remain leashed, and be sure to bring some bags to clean up after your furry friend.
You and your dog will have a furrific time at John McLaren Park, and you will see why it’s the second most visited park in the Bay Area!