Erik and I have done a few different hikes in Tilden Park, and Lake Anza is a great place to go with or without dogs. There’s a small beach where you can swim or lay by the water, an open field and tables to bring a picnic, and hikes around the lake and up into the surrounding hills. We had Penny’s first birthday party there (um, yeah, so I’m the kind of girl who throws her dog a birthday party… Don’t judge.) It's a great place to spend time outdoors on a nice weekend.
When we go sans dog, we like to bring food and lounge in the field - the grass is green and soft, and it’s good for families because dogs have to be on-leash in the field. With Penny, we are a little more adventurous. She loves to swim in the lake and run along the rocky shore, and there are always other dogs chasing Frisbees and sticks in the water. It takes under an hour to walk completely around the lake on the Lake Anza Trail, so when we want a longer hike we head up into the hills.
There is a three-ish mile hike that crosses over a few trails, starting and ending at the lake entrance. It’s a beautiful, mild hike through the eucalyptus trees, with great views of the valley and Tilden Park. It’s also off-leash, so we always end up meeting other dogs and their owners as we hike through the hills.
This summer we’d like to try out the swimming area on a hot day - no dogs are allowed on the beach, so we’ll make it a human adventure.