This wonderful 3.5 mile off leash loop can easily be extended in several different spots. It also has water and restroom access, tho you should always bring your own water in case it is shut off. For Chico, depending on length of hike or pack balancing, I use different sizes of
Gulpy Water Dispenser for Pet, 20-Ounce I only do this loop when it isn’t hot out, as the Meadows Canyon Trail portion is almost all direct Sun Light. Wildcat GorgeTrail is almost all Shade on this portion of the loop, and so is Curran Trail. There can be bike and horse traffic on this loop, but most people ring a bell or give me time to call Chico to heel, if he is not already there. If you don’t know how your dog will react to bikes or horses, best to keep them leashed until you do, and always be looking around. The Image below is a bit short mileage wise because I started the app late.
I prefer the Inspiration Point Staging area since it is a larger staging area with people scattered about, and from here you can also access the Nimitz Trail and Sea View Trail, the Nimitz is on leash, Sea View Trail is not, but crosses the Park Road if you catch it from Curran Trail, and that road can be quite busy with speedy people sometimes. There is a rest room at the Trail Head, as well as a bulletin board, and maps that you can take with you. I’ve written a bit about the Nimitz trail in an earlier post.
Starting off, no matter which way we go on the loop, we start on Curran Trail and descend down to the first trail Intersection, Meadows Canyon is on the right, a bit further up is Sea View Trail. We usually take Meadows Canyon for the first leg of the loop instead of staying on Curran as it is a fairly smooth and easy descent down to Wildcat Gorge Trail, but is steeper on the way back up:) On this part, I let Chico off leash, as it is a wide fire road type path with no sudden drop offs at the edge of the trail, and plenty of fun things for him to sniff and roll around in!
Once you reach Wildcat Gorge Trail, there is a visible drinking fountain, picnic area, and further into the parking lot a couple Porta Johns. From here, instead of getting right back onto the loop, you can also choose to explore all the large picnic alcoves, or find some other trails such as The Selby Trail. The Tilden Nature Area is close to here, and has many trails, but doesn’t allow dogs.
On Wildcat Gorge there is a creek, with fences, and no dogs are allowed in the creek because of Trout preservation. I try to respect this, so if Chico is having a day where he wants to try slip under a fence and run to the creek, and hesitates at all to recall, I usually leash him back up. It should be noted that dogs can really sick from trout and salmon flukes, which they can get at playing in creeks. Search Salmon poisoning and Elokimon Fever, or read this link https://oregonvma.org/care-health/salmon-poisoning-disease
I love this trail, and spend a lot of time on it and around it during the summer when it is hot, it is larger than the portion of it on this loop and I hope to write about it soon. Portions of it are a bit more fun with tree roots to climb over like steps, but it is mostly easy. There is also a big tree cave right on the side of the trail that Chico loves to play in. And there are a couple open areas if you want to play fetch.
When you get to the Curran Trail Intersection, there is a small parking lot off the the right about 50 ft, and if you follow that road up 1/16th of a mile you will see a place to get water and a restroom. You can choose to go straight on the Wildcat Gorge Trail for a bit, and up to Lake Anza where some dogs like to jump in:) As you approach Lake Anza there is a small abandoned shack to sniff, and also a tiny cave that you can scrabble to. There is a trail that wraps around Lake Anza, it can be pretty rough, and there are warning signs.
It’s kind of a steep hike up to the lake this way. You can also get off the trail here, and go to the people side of Lake Anza and there are restrooms here, as well as a snack shop that I think is only open in the summer and closes at 3 PM. If you find the climb too steep or muddy, you can double back and get there from the park road at the Curran Trail Intersection, and probably other ways that I haven’t explored yet.
Back onto Curran Trail. you start an easy ascent back to the Inspiration Point Staging Area. I leash Chico for portions of this, as there are a couple little paths that he wants to dart down, a couple small drop offs, and when you get near the top again, the trail runs close to the park road, and I don’t want to take any chances that something makes him bolt and he runs across that road. If there is one thing that I have learned hiking, expect the unexpected.
Have a Pawsome adventure!