Dog Friendly Hikes in Santa Cruz

Dog Friendly Hikes Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, with its magnificent coastline and redwood forests, is truly a paradise for people and their pets! If you yearn to spend special quality time with your four-legged friend while exploring nature’s beauty, then these dog-friendly hikes in Santa Cruz are just the perfect fit.

From leisurely strolls to awe-inspiring treks – there will be something here that both of you will enjoy immensely! Take your pup on an adventure and explore the best dog-friendly hikes in Santa Cruz!

Dog Friendly Hike Trails In Santa Cruz

1. Byrne Trail

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: Approximately 2.95 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 830 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

If you’re short on time but still want to get outdoors, the Byrne Trail in Byrne-Milliron Forest is perfect for you! Enjoy a refreshing hike in an idyllic setting without having to take too much of your day.This 2.95 mile stretch of trail offers awe-inspiring views of Monterey Bay and Pajaro Valley, along with plenty of elevation changes that will give you and your furry friend a great workout! The incline is quite steep at times so be sure to lace up those shoes – it’ll be worth it in the end!

Dog Friendly Hikes Santa Cruz: Byrne Trail

2. Castle Rock Trail

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: Approximately 2.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 820 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

Adventure-seekers and nature lovers alike, this Santa Cruz hike is for you! Take a 4-mile trek to Castle Rock for some of the best sights – majestic views overlooking Monterey Bay will take your breath away. Don’t forget to bring your camera so that you can capture these picturesque scenes forever. Have a furry companion? Even better – leashed dogs are allowed on the trail, so grab Fido and explore together!

Castle Rock Trail

3. Greyhound Rock Beach Walk

  • Trail Type: Out-And-Back
  • Distance: Approximately 2.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 190 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

Situated close to Davenport, Greyhound Rock County Park is an ideal spot for those who want a leisurely yet fulfilling outdoor experience with their four-legged friends. In only two hours or less you can complete the round trip! Who knows? You might even find something extraordinary on your journey–this area was once used by smugglers during Prohibition so there could still be some hidden valuables waiting to be found!

Greyhound Rock Beach Walk

4. West Cliff Drive

  • Trail Type: Out-and Back
  • Distance: Approximately 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 70 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

If you’re in search of an urban ambiance, West Cliff Drive is the ideal destination! Enjoy breathtaking vistas from its boardwalk perched atop the cliffs overhanging Monterey Bay. While your pup goes for a dip in one of the various tide pools along this path, don’t forget to keep them leashed and mind other visitors’ comfort at all times.

West Cliff Drive

5. Delavega Park Trail

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: Approximately 4.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 710 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

Check out the Delavega Park Trail for an awesome, yet moderate stroll. This two-mile loop has rolling hills and plenty of beautiful trees along the way, plus your pup can run without a leash – just make sure to confirm with park authorities first! With such great scenery and ample space for four-legged friends to play around, it’s no wonder this is one of the best trails near Santa Cruz.

Delavega Park Trail

6. Pipeline Road Trail

  • Trail Type: Out-and-Back
  • Distance: Approximately 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 860 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is teeming with wonderful hiking trails, but only a few permit dogs. Among these, Pipeline Road Trail stands out as the most popular option; spanning 3 miles and boasting an easy-going route that’s also well-shaded for your pup companion! Embark on your enchanting journey through the San Lorenzo River and behold the majestic redwoods that line it. To experience even more of what this park has to offer, take a stroll along the Meadow Trail, Graham Hill Trail, or Powder Mill Fire Road.

Pipeline Road Trail

7. The Medicine Buddha Trail

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: Approximately 5.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 960 feet
  • Leash Required: Yes

For an unforgettable hiking experience for you and your pup, explore the tranquil surroundings of Medicine Buddha Trail in Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. This 5.2 mile-trail promises a beautiful journey as it rises through a majestic redwood forest. Heed to this warning: the ridge is full of poisonous oak. Take necessary precautions while traversing on the trail. Also, remember that it ends at Land of Medicine Buddha meditation and retreat facility – be respectful by keeping your voices low.

The Medicine Buddha Trail

Dog Friendly State Parks In Santa Cruz

1. Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

It’s clear why this is the most beloved state park in the region – simply breathtaking redwood trees and streams, plus a 4-mile hike through lush fern groves. You’ll find plenty of swimming holes on your journey so make sure to pack along your pups’ towel!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

2. Pogonip Open Space Preserve

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this park is ideal for those seeking tranquility in Santa Cruz. Although lesser known than many other parks in the area, it will not disappoint with its stunning beauty – birdsong fills the air along with wildflowers that line your entire journey!

Pogonip Open Space Preserve

3. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

If you’re yearning for an extended excursion, head over to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and take your furry friend on a remarkable trek through the forest! This 4,650-acre park is teaming with gigantic redwood trees, lush meadows brimming with wildlife. Lead Fido through one of its longer trails or remain on one of their shorter ones; either way they will have a marvelous time exploring this splendid outdoor paradise alongside you.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

4. Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch State Park is a perfect getaway for those seeking an adventure full of stunning trails and varied terrains. Explore 35 miles of grasslands, forests and other captivating views with your pup by your side! If you’re more into biking, this spot offers that as well; just remember to keep the little one close. No matter what activity you choose, there’s always something new around every bend – making it ideal for keeping everyone busy all day long!

Wilder Ranch State Park

5. Forest Of Nisene Marks State Park

If you’re looking for a refreshing and peaceful excursion, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is where it’s at! With 30 miles of trails through forests and alongside tranquil creeks and waterfalls – this spot has something to offer everyone. Plus, you might even come across some rare wild creatures during your adventure!

Forest Of Nisene Marks State Park


Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, Santa Cruz has something for everyone! So if you’re looking to explore the outdoors with your four-legged companion, check out these amazing dog-friendly hikes. Whether it’s leisurely and easy trails or more adventurous routes that call your name, each of them will bring indelible memories along the way. So don your walking boots and start exploring the trails!