Yes, it’s true. I’m sharing another piece about a dog park. But! Please keep in mind, this poor fool has been living with a broken foot since January. During these long months of recovery one of my only outdoor activities is sitting in a park and leaving my dog to romp about on her own.

As it turns out, dog parks in San Francisco are pretty awesome. I guess it makes sense, seeing as dogs outnumber babies by quite a large number around these parts. I found this excerpt from the SF Gate, which I find rather amusing:

“There are an estimated 120,000 dogs in San Francisco, according to the city’s Animal Care and Control department. There are anywhere from 108,000 to 113,000 children…” 

The article is a bit outdated, but I’m sure the general takeaway hasn’t changed: Dogs rule in SF.

Anyone who has a dog and lives in my part of the city knows about Bernal Heights Park. Those of you who don’t, now’s the time. From the Mission District just head up Folsom Street, past Cesar Chavez, and climb the unimaginably steep hill spread out before you. At the very top you will find the base of yet another large hill – and you’ve made it. Now you can let the pup off leash and stroll up the paved road that wraps around the hill, stopping one bench at a time to take in the magnificent city views. Don’t take so long that you don’t make it to the top, though-those are truly the best. From there you can get panoramic views from the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate bridge (when it’s relatively clear out), all the way across downtown and into the East Bay.

Bernal Heights Park actually started out as a rock quarry, so it’s pretty lacking in vegetation. I wouldn’t recommend you head there if you’re looking to have a quiet picnic in the sun; the hills are very steep so you’s probably tumble down them if you tried to set up a blanket. And forget having food within eyesight…the dogs in SF are seriously sneaky. They’re probably smart enough to set up a decoy and snag your sandwich and all natural sea salt chips from Bi-Rite. I mean, I would.

A few notes you might want to consider:

  • There are hawks flying around up there, and I have personally witnessed one pick off a small rodent from the rubble. If you have a tiny dog that might be mistaken for one, you might want to reconsider the off-leash thing.
  • You will likely find plastic bags already there at one of the two entrances, but you still probably BYOPBs. Keep it clean, people.
  • Remember layers, it can get pretty windy up there.

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