Photos: Best Places To Hike With Your Dog (Besides Runyon)
Who doesn't love getting out to nature, especially with your best four-legged friend by your side? Los Angeles is blessed with several areas where you can escape the city and get back to nature and get a good workout. Runyon Canyon remains a popular destination but it's hardly your only hiking option in the area.
Here are 10 other spots where you can work up a sweat, catch some great views and maybe even swim. Thanks to our readers for their suggestions and photos! We've also included several common sense tips on hiking with your dog. Happy hiking!
Ernest E. Debs Regional Park
4235 Monterey Road, Los Angeles
The City View trail offers nearly 360 degree views of the L.A skyline, San Gabriel Valley, Glendale, Pasadena at the top, as well as serene Peanut Lake. The main entrance can be hard to find from the road, so drive slowly. Trails are also not always well marked, but there is a great variety of them; grades and texture vary, some are dirt, some are gravel and some are paved. There are also trash bins along the way for Fido's droppings. It's not exactly a getaway from the city as it's right by the 110 and you'll likely hear freeway traffic throughout your hike.
5875 Bonsall Drive, Malibu
Our reader John Ainsworth tells us, "This trail is awesome for dogs!! Not crowded at all, so I don't leash them. There are amazing views of the ocean on one side, and gorgeous mountains on the other. Make sure to bring lots of water, it can get pretty warm on a sunny day. I usually end up carrying my dog in his baby bag." Both Ocean View and Canyon View trails offer fantastic views: together, they form a 3-mile loop climbing 750 feet.
15601 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades
You can't bring your dog in adjoining Topanga Canyon, but you can start your hike there, just veer to the right and you're in Temescal Canyon. A nice three-hour round-trip hike through the Santa Monica Mountains will get you deep into the woods, with overgrown trails and lots of lizards darting across your path, which is a good reason to keep your pup on a leash (which is actually a park rule). When you come out on top, you'll have terrific ocean views. Bring some cash for parking.
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills
This usually quiet hike will give you a sweeping city view of the Westside, Heavenly Pond and the kind of lush greenery that makes you feel you're not in the city anymore. It's been used in countless movies and TV shows, including Claudette Colbert's hitchhiking scene in It Happened One Night, the iconic opening of The Andy Griffith Show and True Blood. Trails are not well marked and, according to recent Yelpers, nearby residents try to mislead hikers about the entrance of the park. But if you get past all that, it's well worth the visit. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
3400 N. Beachwood Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles
This is technically part of Griffith Park, but you access it via Beachwood Canyon. Drive up Beachwood and park near the Sunset Ranch horse stables. Depending on how far up you hike, you can get up above the "H" in the Hollywood sign, and you'll have great views of the Santa Monica mountains. Reader Adriana Tang, who likes to hike here with her Dachshund, Swifty Lazer, recommends, "Bring a hat, there is hardly any shade."
Various entrances, Los Angeles
For older or less active dogs, try the Fern Dell area off of the Los Feliz Boulevard entrance. It's cool and shaded, with plenty of places to rest and the nearby Trails Cafe sells dog biscuits as well as people food, plus puts out water for the pups. Water stations abound, but bring your own bags. The popular Observatory Trail will take you up to the Griffith Observatory, a view of the Hollywood sign, nice green grass and a cafe that sells refreshments where you can sit outside and rest with your dog. The going can get quite hot on that trail and there's little shade and, unfortunately, no trash cans for disposing of poop until you get to the top. Speaking of poop, look out for horse droppings as this is also a popular trail for riding. The Elysian Park Trail, which begins at Morton Place, also offers a grassy area at the top and great views of Elysian Valley.
Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park
17500 Mulholland Drive, Encino
One of the few places you can take your dog off leash, although it should be under your "immediate control," per park rules. The park is accessible from the Valley and West L.A. The L.A. trailhead might be hard to find, so look up West Mandeville Fire Road and Westridge Road. There are two trails, so you can choose an easy hike or a hard one, but you'll get amazing views of the ocean, L.A. skyline and the Valley. How good are the views? The higher trail has a watch tower that was used during the Cold War to watch out for missiles.
Edison Trails Park
1600 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park
This 11-acre park includes some nice trails for biking or hiking, nothing too strenuous. Hiker Adriana Tang tells us, "It's very private and a pretty short hike." It's in a residential area so you won't have to drive too far, parking is available on side streets. The park has bathrooms so you and your pal won't have to "ruff it" too much.
Turnbull Canyon Road, Whittier
Reader George Manzanilla says, "It has a lot of of options. great views of the ocean and the L.A. skyline. Challenging and never that crowded." Parking can be tough on peak hours and weekends. The hike is about four miles there and back; don't be put off by the graffiti and litter you might find at the beginning, nature wins back out as you continue. It gets steep and narrow in some spots, so make sure you and your dog are both in good shape and watch out for hot-rodding mountain bikers, who love to race past on the way down. There's no shade, so wear a hat and carry plenty of water.
East Loma Alta Drive, Altadena
Free street parking is available, but check posted signs.
The Sam Merrill Trail up to Echo Mountain is a popular one. Go east from the main entrance, you'll see a sign and maps marking the trail. The uphill hike takes about two hours unless you want to continue two miles to the Castle Canyon Trail to Inspiration Point. Also nearby, Dawn Mine, accessible from the trail at Cobb Estate, or turn left at East Loma Alta Drive, then take a right onto Cheney Trail.
34-14 Angeles Crest Hwy, La Canada Flintridge
You will need a $5 day pass available at Sports Chalet or Big 5 stores. The hike to the falls is about 5 miles round trip and gets wet, even before you get to the falls. While much of the trail is shaded, there are big sections that are not, so watch out it's not too hot for your pooch's paws. If rocks or the pavement are hot to the touch, they're too hot for her to walk on. The "falls" aren't dramatic but it is a nice body of water that you and your dog can swim in, although it can be very cold.
And here's a few hiking safety tips, most courtesy of ASPCA.
- Check signs to see if it's okay to let your dog off leash. Many of these hikes are on-leash only. Even in off-leash areas, make sure your dog is trained to come back to you before you let him free. Wilderness is awfully tempting, after all.
- Leave the flexi leash at home if you're going into an area with dense underbrush.
- Make sure your pet has up-to-date tags, including your current phone number.
- Don't let your dog drink from puddles, ponds, lakes or streams as they may contain nasty parasites or toxins that could cause her harm. Bring in enough water for the both of you.
- Don't hike at dawn or dusk when coyotes and mountain lions are more likely to prowl. Consider putting "bear bells" on your dog to warn off wildlife. (Experts can't agree if they work, but they're good for locating your dog at a distance, at least.)
- Watch out for rattlesnakes.
- Dogs need sunscreen too! If your dog has a pink nose or very short hair (or no hair), they can get a sunburn, so apply some sunscreen to Fido as well as yourself.
- Scoop the poop! Other hikers will thank you.
- After the hike, check your dog for ticks and other unwanted critters.