Lose a Pound with your Hound at Sweeney Ridge Trail

Sweeney Ridge, Golden Gate National Park,

The Sweeney Ridge Trail is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Mateo County. This hike with your hound is not a gentle stroll. It is a fat burner. I literally lost a pound. The hike is 5.7 miles and climbs 600 feet up Sneath Lane Trail. Once you get to the top, the trail is nearly level and there are panoramic views of the ocean and the San Francisco peninsula. Dogs are allowed on leash on the trail.

Sneath Lane Trail

To get to the trailhead exit Sneath Lane from I-280.  Drive west about 2 miles and you will see a small parking area for about 15 cars.  There is no entrance or parking fees.  There are also no restrooms or maps.  The trail is paved and starts from a gate at the end of Sneath Lane.  Sneath Lane Trail meets Sweeney Ridge Trail about 1.66 miles into the hike.  There is a junction with a paved trail to the north and a dirt trail to the south.  The paved trail to the north only goes as far as the Nike site.  The Sweeney Ridge Trail continues to the south. 

For more information about the Sweeney Ridge Trail, the following books are good resources:
 
Peninsula Trails: Outdoor Adventures on the San Francisco Peninsula (Trails)

The Bay Area Ridge Trail: Ridgetop Adventures Above San Francisco Bay

A Saturday Stroll through San Juan Canyon

San Juan Canyon Trail, Belmont, CA

If you are looking for a good, little hike on the Peninsula with your pooch, check out San Juan Canyon. It is located in the city of Belmont off of San Juan Boulevard.  The easiest way to get there is to take Ralston Avenue to Cipriani.  Go north on Cipriani and make an immediate left on San Juan Boulevard.  After about a mile, San Juan Boulevard dead-ends at Laurel Creek Road.  Turn left and park immediately along the road.  The trail starts at the unpaved continuation of East Laurel Creek Road.  Access is also available off Marsten Avenue.  For maps and more information go to the website for the San Juan Canyon Preservation Trust

View from the San Juan Canyon Trail
My dog, Bucky, and I hit the trail this afternoon and found it delightful.  It is an easy hike on a path shaded with trees.  You can make it into a more strenuous hike if you choose to climb the Sugarloaf Mountain path.  The hike is 1.5 miles and takes about an hour.  It will take significantly longer if you include the trail to Sugarloaf.  We strolled leisurely and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  We only passed two other people on the trail so it seems it in a hidden gem in the city.  I would not feel safe going alone since there are so few people there. 
Sugarloaf Mountain, Belmont, CA

Above is a picture of the trail to Sugarloaf Mountain.  I chose not to push myself.  The path looked pretty steep and intense.  I am sure there are amazing views from the top.  All of the paths allow dogs on leash.  Although I didn’t see any, there was evidence of horses being on the trail and I saw some stables off one of the paths. 

Bucky and I had a great time today on the trail.  My only warning is that the trail is crawling with poison oak and Bucky came home crawling with ticks.  If you can deal with those two things, it is a great way to spend a day.

For more Bay Area hikes with your dog, check out Best Hikes with Dogs: Bay Area and Beyond