Things to do: Five of Monterey County’s best summer walks with your dog

Peninsula Premier Admin

At this time of year heat, foxtails and risk of rattlesnake encounters can impede the enjoyment of a jaunt with your furry best friend. Every trail has its optimal season. Following are my picks for the county’s five best summer walks with your pooch. Respect posted rules at trailheads, pick up dog waste, always carry water and have a tail-wagging good time!

Quarry Park Trailhead is the gateway to Huckleberry Hill. (David Mullally — Special to the Herald)

Best neighborhood walk

The hidden corridor across from Monterey’s Via Paraiso Park leads to the Quarry Park for a peaceful tree-lined half-mile stroll into the box canyon that provided rock for the Monterey breakwater in the 1930s. Extend your excursion along Veterans Park trail and up 186 wooden steps to the top of Huckleberry Hill. The 5-mile out-and-back gambol will surprise you with bay views and reward your dog with a cafeteria of smells. Monterey.org

Starting the hike to the Skyline Ridge in Fort Ord National Monument. (David Mullally — Special to the Herald)

Best on National Park land

Unlike National Parks, some National Monuments are dog friendly. Fort Ord National Monument is one of those gifts to dogs that love to take their humans hiking. El Toro-Creek-Skyline Road trail from Badger Hills Trailhead off the Monterey-Salinas Highway is a 6-mile loop to a scenic ridge with posted opportunities for Rover to romp off-leash under voice control. Shoot for weekdays when mountain biker activity is light. Blm.gov

Enjoying the redwoods in Frog Pond Wetland Preserve. (David Mullally — Special to the Herald)

Best small nature oasis

Frog Pond Wetland Preserve is a 17-acre riparian jewel off of Canyon Del Rey Road. Visitors with dogs on leash are welcome to discover the habitat diversity on a 1-mile loop along boardwalks and footpaths highlighted by willows, oaks, horsetail and a redwood grove. The periodic dredging of the pond helps restore and sustain that habitat’s health for the benefit of the wildlife that depends on the water. Mprpd.org

Interpretive panel about the historic sculpture in Palo Corona Regional Park. (David Mullally — Special to the Herald)

Best newest park land

Mother Nature quickly transformed 135 acres of the former Rancho Canada Golf Course into a popular destination for walks in a rural setting along the banks of the Carmel River. The 4-mile out-and-back route from Palo Corona Regional Park’s Discovery Center to Rancho San Carlos Road gets the most wags from the bow-wows.  Mprpd.org

Setting off on the Mission Trail-Carmel Beach loop walk. (David Mullally — Special to the Herald)

Best of show

The 4.5-mile Mission Trail-Carmel Beach Loop offers dogs the best of all worlds. One mile of soft woodchip footpaths, scurrying squirrels and bouquets of forest smells take you into Carmel. The route links up to Ocean Avenue and down to the beach where happy hounds frolic off-leash on the mile-long playground. Leash up for the 1.5-mile stretch of beauty around Carmel Point, the lagoon and the Carmel Mission back to the trailhead. Ci.carmel.ca.us

— Linda B. Mullally is the author of  “Best Dog Hikes Northern California” available at bookstores, Amazon and Falcon.com

Contributed by local news sources

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