With the heat of summer ramping up and fall fast approaching, dog walking season has officially kicked into full gear. Walking your dog around the neighborhood can get a bit monotonous at times, and although at the end of the day your dog will appreciate whatever exercise you do with them, mixing it up is always appreciated. Thankfully, Sacramento is chock full of dog-friendly walking trails with as much or as little canine traffic or as little as you want.  So leash up Fido, grab a plastic trash bag just in case and hoof it over to these dog-friendly hiking trails.
American River Bike Trail
100 Harrington Way
Carmicheal, CA 95608
(916) 874-7275
www.regionalparks.com

The American River Bike Trail, also known as the Jediediah Smith Memorial Trail, flows along the banks of the American River. With 32 miles of trails stretching from Old Sacramento to Folsom Lake, there’s an endless amount of walking to do with you and your dog. There are multilpe spots along the way to jump off the beaten path for a bit, soak your feet in the cool water and let your dog splash around. Carrying a leash and reflective gear close to dusk or early morning is recommended, as cyclists frequent the trail at all hours.

Granite Regional Park
Rammona Ave. and Power Inn Road
Sacramento, CA 95812
(916) 808-8795
www.cityofsacramento.org

After years of mining the site for precious minerals, Granite Construction Company turned over the land to the City of Sacramento, where they developed the park for multi-purpose recreation. Not only is there more than 45,000 square feet of walking and recreation area for you and your dog, but there’s a giant three-mile cross country course adjacent to the park where you and your loved ones can enjoy a stroll when cross country season isn’t in full swing. In addition, there’s a dedicated dog park to the side with plenty of shade and drinking areas. Leashes are also recommended, as other dog walkers frequent the area.

Quarry Road Trail
Auburn State Recreation Area
501 El Dorado St.
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 885-4527
www.parks.ca.gov

Just a half an hour outside of the greater Sacramento Metropolitan area, Quarry Road Trail offers a gem of a hike for you and your dog. The Quarry Road Trail is an out and back type of trail, so you’re less likely to get lost. And since it’s 5.5 miles one way, you can go as little or as far as you want depending on how fit you and your dog are. The trail is super wide and there is plenty of soft footing so your dog will love the switch from concrete pounding to something a bit more natural.

Related: Best White Water Rafting Near Sacramento

Omstead Loop Trail
S. El Dorado St.
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 885-4527
www.parks.ca.gov

Formerly known as the Knickerbocker Trail, this path was named after Dan Olmstead, a local and avid mountain biker and hiker in 1993. You and your dog will love this all-but-hidden hiking trail as it’s away from most of the general public. The trailhead and parking is just before a fire station so it’s hard to miss. The hiking isn’t all that strenuous and elevation changes are all but non-existent, but there’s plenty of hiking to be had (8.6 miles in total). There are plenty of shade trees on both sides so you and your dog won’t overheat if it’s particularly warm.

Loch Levens Lake
49645 Hampshire Rocks Road
Emigrant Gap, CA 95715
(530) 265-4531
www.fs.usda.gov

A word of caution, this hiking trail is only if your dog is used to hiking and is relatively fit. Located 5,800 feet above sea level and only a 90-minute drive from Sacramento, Lock Levens Lake is one of California’s most scenic hiking trails for humans and animals alike. Skiers and snow fans frequent this area when there’s snow on the slopes so it’s relatively quiet during the summer and fall season. Bring snacks and plenty of water for you and your pooch just in case.

Related: Family Guide To The Sacramento Zoo

Paulo Acoba is a California native raised in the Bay Area and living in the Central Valley. He enjoys distance running, cycling and grassroots motorsports. He holds a degree in management from the University of California Merced. Paulo has been writing for Examiner.com since 2012 and covering the Fresno area.