Need a new spot to work off all those pesky dog biscuits? Look no further than the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve near Fairfax! This scenic wilderness preserve encompasses 509 acres of beautiful grasslands and over 20 miles of paw-paths for you an Fido to enjoy! Loma Alta means "high hill" in Spanish, and it's a fitting name for the preserve, with its peak towering 1,592 feet!
If your pack is looking for a challenge, take the Sunrise Fire Road. This high-impact trail is sure to give those back legs a workout and offers breathtaking views of the San Fransico Bay! For an equally scenic, but less labor-intensive adventure, try the Smith Ridge Fire Road to the peak! One of the shorter routes is the 608 Trail, a 0.9-mile multi-use trail that is very pawpular with mountain bikers. Pay attention to signage and don't stray from the path -- this route runs through private property. One furrific aspect of this preserve is they allow dogs to be off-leash on the fire roads (as long as they respond to voice commands!). Keep Fido and Fifi leashed on the other trails.
No matter which trail you choose, know that your walk will be almost entirely in full sun. Make sure you slather on some sunscreen and dress to stay cool and protected! You will be hard-pressed to find a water fountain out here, so make sure you bring plenty of water and a collapsible bowl for the pack.
The seasonal wetlands and exposed grassy meadows make a thriving habitat for many species of birds and wildflowers. Pay a visit towards the end of the winter for the best views of these vibrant blooms (and the Fairfax Waterfall!) This preserve is a common escape for San Francisco city folks, so you are bound to encounter other hikers. Less popular times are weekdays and mornings, but Loma Alta Open Space is open 24/7, so drop by any time!
Keep your pooch leashed while in or around the marshes, meadows, ponds, and hillsides. Only 3 dogs per person are allowed; professional dog walkers will need a special permit. We do not recommend these trails for wheelchair-bound pack members, the surfaces can be very uneven and steep.