Midpen offers 11 dog-friendly preserves. Before heading out to one of these with your dog, please review our dog access guidelines below. Your cooperation and compliance is essential to ensure continued dog access, preserve visitor safety, resource protection, and an enjoyable experience for everyone using the trails.
Dog waste disposal bins have been installed in some parking areas at four Midpen preserves on a trial basis: Pulgas Ridge, Lower Windy Hill, Fremont Older and Thornewood. The success of this pilot program is dependent upon help and compliance from visitors.
Please help keep our trails, shoes and waterways clean by bagging dog waste and disposing in the new bins or packing it out.
You and your canine companion are invited to experience many dog-friendly trails on our preserves:
- Coal Creek Open Space Preserve – all trails
- El Sereno Open Space Preserve – all trails
- Foothills Open Space Preserve – all trails
- Fremont Older Open Space Preserve – all trails
- La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve – designated trails only
- Long Ridge Open Space Preserve – designated trails only
- Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve – all trails & marked off-leash* area
- St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve – all trails
- Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve - Kennedy-Limekiln Area only; dogs are NOT allowed on the trail, summit, parking lots, or road in the Mount Umunhum Area (includes dogs in cars).
- Thornewood Open Space Preserve – all trails
- Windy Hill Open Space Preserve – designated trails only
* While in this area, visitors must have a leash in their possession and keep their dog under voice control so that they do not harass other park users, dogs, or wildlife.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we accommodate service dogs in preserves wherever we allow public access.
The following rules apply at all times:
- Visitors may have no more than three (3) dogs per person.
- Dogs are not allowed in any District water areas, including streams or ponds.
- Dogs must be on a leash 6’ long or less. Self-retracting leashes are allowed with a maximum extended length of 25 feet.
- Do not allow dogs to harass wildlife or other visitors.
- Bag and remove dog waste from the preserve by packing it out. Do NOT leave bagged waste at the preserve or outside preserve restrooms.
More information can be found in our Dog Owners Guide.
THE SCOOP ON POOP
Midpen preserves follow the "leave no trace” philosophy. There are no trash cans in the preserves or parking lots - visitors are asked to carry out any trash they generate. This includes dog waste which, when left on the trail, can harm wildlife or allow bacteria to be carried by storm water into nearby streams.
We realize driving home with a bag of poop isn’t the best way to end a day on the trails. As part of a new pilot program, dog waste receptacles have been installed at the following preserve parking areas: Pulgas Ridge, Fremont Older, Lower Windy Hill, and Thornewood Open Space Preserves. The success of this pilot program is dependent on you. Please help keep our trails, shoes and waterways clean by bagging dog waste and disposing in the new bins (or packing it out)!
Health and Safety
Remember, a dog depends on its owner! Be aware that dogs can overheat, particularly on strenuous trails and warm, summer days. With no sweat glands and only panting available to disperse body heat, dogs are much more susceptible to heat stroke than we are. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy panting, dry gums, weakness, confusion and inattention.
- Always carry water for your dog. No water is provided.
- Choose a hike within the limits of your dog’s ability.
- Restrict exercise in the heat of the day and hike in the shade whenever possible.
- When your hike is finished, give your dog a thorough once-over for ticks and other bugs.
- Enjoy the views from the top of Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. © Deane Little
- Your canine companion will enjoy the shady trails. © Jack Gescheidt
- St. Joseph's Hill Preserve is a popular dog walking destination.
- Trails can get warm, make sure to pack some water for your pooch! © Jack Gescheidt