Reactive Hiking: Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and Mountain View Cemetery

Since we were heading to Berkley for an appointment with Paco Collars, we decided to check out a regional park near there. I checked EPRPD’s park locations online and settled on Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve as it looked like a fun place to explore. Before I get started talking about our day and the preserve I want to highlight the most important thing I learned: ROBERT SIBLEY VOLCANIC REGIONAL PRESERVE IS NOT REACTIVE DOG FRIENDLY. 

So, as we were driving up a very steep hill in Oakland (Skyline) heading towards the preserve, my husband and I are “ooh-ing and aah-ing” at the massive houses in the area and we both commented on the lack of sidewalks and space to walk your dogs (as crazy dog parents, most of our comments are around how dog friendly everything is or isn’t). Well, we quickly learned where everyone in this community walked their dogs… Sibley Regional Preserve! As we pulled into the Sibley Regional Preserve parking lot, we see 12 dogs getting ready to go on a hike with their owners. There were also 2 dog walkers with 4 dogs attached to their waist. It seemed like this park is where everybody and their brother walked their dog. Derek (husband) needed to use the restroom, so Odin and I waited in the car. During this time we saw 4 more dogs exit the parking lot heading towards the trails and Odin very loudly informed me that he had strong feelings about those dogs. This is a reactive dog owners nightmare. Also, from what I could see, the trails looked very narrow. We noped out of there very quickly and headed 20 minutes west towards our back up plan, Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland (we had planned on going here if the trails at Sibley were too muddy).

We had done private reactivity trainings in the cemetery in the past so we knew that the park was dog friendly and that the dog traffic was relatively low, however, we were never able to fully explore the park. So this time we did a loop of the 226 acre park. I really liked the amount of trails that were available and the tombstones were very handy in blocking Odin’s view of other dogs when we knew it wouldn’t be a successful training interaction. There were lots of unique tombstones and mausoleums. We didn’t see too many dogs during our hour walk (we saw 6 total; 2 in the main parking area and 4 while we were out walking) and the pathways made it very easy to create space when needed. The park does allow for bikes and scooters, and it is not unusual for a car to pass you on the main paths. On weekends, the park can have more foot traffic (especially during the summer months), however, on weekdays the park seems to receive very light foot traffic.

Robert Sibley Regional Park

 Pros:

  • This would be a cool park to explore WITHOUT a reactive dog

Cons:

  • Way toooooooooo many dogs
  • Narrow paths
  • NOT GOOD FOR REACTIVE DOGS

 

Mountain View Cemetery

Pros:

  • Light foot traffic on weekdays
  • Lots of paths which make it easy to create space
  • Headstones can be used to block your dog’s view of other dogs

Cons:

  • Heavier foot traffic on weekends
  • Bikes/Scooters/Cars on main paths

NOTE: Sorry about the lack of photos in this post. Since we didn’t even leave the car, I didn’t take any photos of Sibley. And I did not take any photos in the cemetery out of respect.

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