When you're planning on a day's hike, you probably imagine rolling hills and sharp mountain peaks covered in forests for hundreds of miles. Although most trails in California fit this description, the La Purisima Mission State Historic Park offers a trail that provides a scenic natural escape and a step back into history. For a $6 entrance and parking fee, you and your pup can explore this area and discover the pawtastic hiking trail.
The park was first a mission in the 1800s before it became a historic area open to the public. The trail here passes by old buildings that were first built in 1810 when the mission was established, though an earthquake destroyed most of them in 1812. The mission moved after that, but 10 of the original buildings from the area have been rebuilt today.
Pups are not allowed inside the buildings, but there are restrooms and water fountains on the outside of the facilities, available from the trail. After wandering past buildings, the trail continues north to loop around the natural area of the 2,000-acre park. After the main mission area, thick forests and grasslands surround the trail, where hikers and pups can view desert, natural plants, and wildflowers in the summer, alongside tall oaks and firs.
The park is backed by rows of residential homes, but besides the urban sights, you'll still have a chance to see wildlife like deer, foxes, groundhogs, hawks, osprey, and other bird species. The trail finally loops back around the south side of the park where it connects back to the parking area in Purisima Canyon.
Historic buildings and natural surroundings give this park and trail a rustic feel where you and Fido can explore and learn about a part of California's past. After seeing the sights and enjoying a self-guided tour, it'll be hard not to come back to explore even more.