In recent years, San Mateo County Parks has increased ways for dogs and their humans to access a variety of recreational opportunities. Here is the updated list of dog-friendly parks and trails available to you and your leashed canine companion. Please note that some of these areas represent a portion of the park. For example, at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, dogs are not allowed down by the tide pools, but can enjoy the Dardanelle Trail.
Junipero Serra Park, San Bruno
Tucked away in the hills of San Bruno, Junipero Serra Park can fly under the radar but is the perfect spot for family picnics and is an easy walk from surrounding neighborhoods. This park offers two playgrounds (including an impressive 54-foot slide!), ample picnic areas, and hiking trails that reward you with views of the Bay. In 2019, it also began allowing dogs on leash.
Pillar Point Bluff, Moss Beach
The Jean Lauer Trail at Pillar Point Bluff offers dog-walkers a chance to take in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean. The 220-acre bluff top includes a section of the California Coastal Trail and offers views of Pillar Point Harbor, agricultural lands and the world famous Mavericks surf break. While dogs are allowed on the bluff, they are not allowed on the beach.
Dardanelle Trail, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach
For a longer, scenic outing with your dog, one can walk from Pillar Point Bluff to the bluff at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. A segment of the California Coastal Trail connects Cypress Avenue to California Avenue under the shelter of the Cypress grove. Dogs are not allowed by the tide pools. This is a marine protected area and harbor seals seek this habitat as a refuge for birthing and raising their young.
Quarry Park, El Granada
Quarry Park is very popular with dog walkers. Tucked away on the coast, this park offers pleasant surprises for a first-time visitor such as a labyrinth that sits at the bottom of the abandoned quarry. The park affords spectacular views and some good hills for those who like a more challenging hike. Dogs on leash are allowed on all trails, but not in the playground area.
Mirada Surf, Miramar
Just south of Surfers Beach is Mirada Surf, which is part of the California Coastal Trail and offers excellent views of the ocean, harbor and hills to the east. Dogs on leash and their humans are welcome to stroll this bluff and take in the ocean breeze and lovely sunsets.
Devil’s Slide, Pacifica
Devil’s Slide, originally a section of Highway 1, is now a 1.3-mile multi-use paved trail. Part of the California Coastal Trail, a walk here offers gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and an up-close look at coastal erosion geology. Bring your dog and enjoy a leisurely walk, look for seabirds and give thanks for access to trails such as this gem.
Coyote Point Recreation Area, San Mateo
One of the most popular parks in San Mateo County, Coyote Point is a great place to bring your dog for a walk along the Bay Trail and other designated and posted trails. This expanded access came in 2019 as part of San Mateo County Parks’ dog pilot program. One notable exception is the area around CuriOdyssey, where dogs are prohibited in order to protect their animals.
When enjoying one of these parks with your dog, please remember the following:
- Stay on designated trails and keep your dog on-leash
- Pick up and properly dispose of dog waste
- No more than 3 dogs per dog-walker
- Keep leash 6 feet or less when near others
- Keep dogs out of playgrounds and other undesignated areas
- Leave wildlife and vegetation undisturbed