With summer practically here, it’s time to break out the hiking boots and sunscreen! We know that the best summer activities are the ones shared with your dog and, with all that California’s diverse scenery has to offer, hikes are a great way to spend time with your pooch.
A little tip before we list off our favorite hikes: For the most part, national forests and national recreation areas are dog-friendly. There are plenty of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest. California State Parks, on the other hand, do not often allow dogs. Make sure to check out whether the trail you are interested in hiking is dog-friendly.
Probably one of the more famous dog parks in LA, Runyon Canyon Park covers 130-acres of California wilderness. You’ll find multiple off-leash areas that your dog can run around in and make friends. For those of you who want to stick to the trails, Runyon Canyon offers multiple trails for both the beginner or advanced hikers!
Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park
This park is located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains and is another hiking area that offers off-leash sections and trails so you can throw the ball around or test your and your dog’s endurance. With plenty of trails, you’ll be sure to find one that is perfect for the both of you.
Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain
This trail is apart of the Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park and is a personal favorite. The San Vicente Mountain Trail offers a beautiful view of West LA and the Santa Monica Mountains. When you get to the top, there are benches, tables, bathrooms and a water fountain so you can keep you and your furry companion hydrated. During the 1950’s, the mountain was used as a military lookout for Soviet attacks. The original buildings have been preserved and can be viewed when you summit the top. This hike is beautiful and you get to learn a little more about California’s history along the way.
Upper Canyonback Trail
This trail is also near San Vicente Mountain and is about three miles long, with not much gain in elevation. You can enjoy the beautiful California wilderness and let your dog roam around off-leash. This trail is perfect for the casual hiker!
If you are not close to these hikes or are looking for something specific, we suggest using the Hike Finder Map. Make sure to uncheck the box that says “don’t allow dogs” and then customize your search.
Remember to always keep your dog on leash unless otherwise specified and bring lots of water for both you and your dog. One of the primary concerns that people have on hikes is rattlesnakes. Be aware of your surroundings and do some research beforehand so you know where the nearest human and animal hospitals are. It may also help to check trail websites to see if anyone has posted warnings about rattlesnake activity. Be aware of foxtails as well. Look them up before hand so you know what you are looking for on the trail and then keep your pup far away. A nice trip out with your pup can quickly turn into an emergency vet visit without the proper precautions.
Whether your dog is big or small, high-energy or low-energy, these hikes are accommodating to all. These parks will give you a chance to see more of California’s beautiful landscape and your dog a chance to explore the world.