The trails that wander among these hills and ridges are multi-use intersecting loops, mostly unmaintained and unmarked, which makes hiking them an adventure in ingenuity. It's recommended that you carry a compass and map to avoid getting lost in this natural maze. While there are some steep climbs over loose rocks to a few of the ridges and overlooks, for the most part, your pup doesn't have to be part mountain goat to keep up. And most of the paths flow among gentle inclines or grassy flatland.
The area's 17+ miles are traversed by 8 named trails, and the Red Hills Loop is one of the most popular, covering 3.3 miles and climbing about 440 feet. Its trailhead is a parking lot on Red Hills Road which features restrooms, and its loop is dotted with poppies, white hyacinths and brush. The Verbena Loop Trail, just across the road, is slightly shorter and flatter. A combination of parts of Overlook Loop, Soaproot and Old Stage Trails, accessible from the Red Hills Loop, includes multiple stream crossings where you'll see herons, quail, mourning doves, and a view of the Don Pedro Reservoir. Many eagles nest at the Reservoir in the winter.
While this may not be the most well-known hiking spot in the Yosemite area, it's likely to become more popular as hikers hear of its fun and challenging trails. Enjoy this gorgeous land with your pup!
These trails are covered in loose rocks, which can be hard on feet and ankles. The abundant wildlife in these hills include bobcats and coyotes. Normally shy of humans, if you see one, give it a wide berth. Plan to be off the trail by nightfall. The mostly single track dirt trails are surrounded in places by dry, scratchy brush, so stay on the trail.