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Ask Nellie: Where Can Dogs Play Off-Leash in San Mateo County?

Where can we take our dogs off-leash in and around Belmont?

We are fortunate in Belmont to be surrounded by miles of canyon trails that are shared by hikers, bikers, joggers and dogs.

Although leashes are required on some of these open space trails, there are some great spots where dogs can cool off in a rushing creek or cascading waterfall this time of year.

is another oasis for dogs and their owners -- well behaved dogs are frequently seen paddling around the fresh water lake and running on its shore. Belmont open space trail maps are available on the city’s website, or at the office.

For those who prefer a more organized off-leash experience, there are numerous dog recreation areas along the Peninsula -- some are within city parks, others are part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Additionally, there are several good resources for locating these dog recreation areas, such as The Dog Lover's Companion to California, by Maria Goodavage (Foghorn Press), and the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS/SPCA).

San Bruno has also published a helpful compilation of dog parks on the Peninsula; hard copies are available at the Belmont Parks and Recreation office, or you can find a PDF version at www.sanbruno.ca.gov.

Here are a few dog-friendly spaces on the Peninsula recommended by PHS/SPCA:

  • Belmont: Cipriani Park Dog Exercise Area, 2525 Buena Vista Avenue
  • Burlingame: Bayside Park, Airport Boulevard, just past the Doubletree Hotel.
  • Foster City: Corner of Foster City Boulevard and Bounty Drive
  • Half Moon Bay: (temp site) Wavecrest Ave., 1 1/2 miles south of Hwy. 92 off Hwy 1.
  • Redwood Shores: Redwood Shores Dog Park Near the South Bay Sewage Treatment Plant, on Radio Road off of Redwood Shores Parkway; shoredogs.org
  • San Carlos: Heather Park, Melendy and Portofino drives, behind Heather Elementary School
  • San Francisco: Fort Funston (a.k.a. Doggie Heaven) on the Great Highway, just north of the San Mateo County line.*
  • San Mateo:
  1. Shoreview Park, located off J. Hart Clinton Drive
  2. Fitzgerald Field (Central Park), M-F, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. only
  3. Chanteloup Field (Beresford Park), M-F, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. only
  4. Bayside-Joinville Fenced Run (near WWTP), 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  5. Los Prados Fenced Run (Southwest Corner), 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

When visiting a park, please follow these rules:

  • clean up after your dog
  • make sure your dog is licensed and has current vaccinations
  • make sure your dog is wearing a collar with ID tags at all times
  • dogs with a history of aggressive behavior are prohibited
  • puppies younger than four months are prohibited
  • animals must be spayed or neutered
  • never leave your dog unattended
  • carry a leash at all times
  • limit of three dogs per person per visit
  • if you bring young children, make sure they are closely supervised
  • dogs should be leashed prior to entering and upon leaving the park

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District:

Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, located in the hills above San Carlos, features an easy-access trail and a marked off-leash dog area. Entrance to the preserve is located just off Edmonds Road, which is near the corner of Edgewood Drive and Crestview Drive.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve in Portola Valley also welcomes dogs off leash on some of its trails. From Highway 280, exit Alpine Road in Portola Valley. Go south on Alpine Road to Portola Road to parking lot.

For a map or more information on these preserves, including dog access guidelines, go to www.openspace.org

Note: Effective Nov. 2010, dog walkers are required to bag and remove all dog waste from these preserves.

*In future issues, we will cover the recent developments in the proposed restrictions in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. GGNRA has just released a draft management plan that proposes never before seen restrictions for dogs at Crissy Field, Fort Funston, Marin and San Mateo County parks. These proposed restrictions will impact where dogs can go off-leash, and in some cases will restrict dog access at all. For more information, go to www.eco-dog.org.

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