5 Dog-Friendly Hikes in San Luis Obispo
Updated: May 31, 2019
By Emily Schultze
Hiking isn’t just a good way to get in some exercise, it can also be a great bonding opportunity for you and your dog! Now that spring is here, it is the perfect time to get outside and experience nature through the eyes of man’s best friend.
Before You Go
Whether you are planning a trek deep into the wilderness or just a quick walk over a hill, there are some things you will want to consider before you leave. If your dog has not been on a hike before, it is a good idea to assess how their age or ability could factor into their hiking experience. If your dog is older, they might do better with short excursions. If your dog is very young, they might need time to build up their endurance. However, vets recommend that waiting to take puppies out on adventures until they receive all their shots, which usually happens once they are around 5 months old.
What to Bring
It is important to keep your dog hydrated, so bringing along water and collapsible bowl is important. When you’re out in the wild, it is never a good idea to let your dog drink from places that you don’t know are safe, as water (especially stagnant water) can be contaminated with pathogens that will make your dog sick.
The type of journey that you are planning will determine the amount of food for your dog you will need to bring along. If you are just going for a shorter hike, a small bag of treats to add an extra element of fun should do the trick. For longer hikes, bring food that is high in protein and fat. Give them a small serving before you head out and throughout the day to keep their energy up. Training your dog to carry a pack can be a good idea for longer hikes as well.
Dog booties can help keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy if they are going to encounter more rough terrain. The booties can also help in situations where the ground is extremely hot or cold.
Also, keeping a towel and brush in your car for after the hike will allow you to keep any grass or bugs who have decided to catch a ride from coming home with you.
Last but not least, don’t leave anything behind- bring doggy bags. There may not be places to through away doggy bags on the trail, so have a bag designated to carry them until you reach an area where you can throw them away.
Where to Go
There are so many great hikes in San Luis Obispo, but here are a few to start you out that are dog approved.
1. Laguna Lake Loop
If you want to go out and enjoy nature, but are looking for an easy walk, the Laguna Lake Loop is for you.
2. Islay Hill Trail
For a hike that’s only a little bit more of a challenge, check out the Islay Hill Trail. It is shorter at 1.5 miles and offers great views of San Luis Obispo.
3. Felsman Loop Trail
The Felsman Loop Trail is slightly longer at 2.4 miles, but is still a nice medium hike that both you and your dog can enjoy.
4. Froom Canyon Trail
The Froom Canyon Trail is a 4.1 mile hike that takes you through the Irish Hills Nature Preserve.
5. Bowden Ranch Trail
If you are looking for a hike that is more challenging, the Bowden Ranch Trail might be the one for you. It is only 4 miles, but involves more steep inclines.