Dozens of trails are scattered around Los Angeles, many of which are home to some of the most dog-friendly hikes, and others are only a little under an hour away from the city. Some trails require dogs to be on a leash at all times, but other trails give dogs more liberty to roam free, especially in designated areas. With so many great hikes to choose from, we have asked dog trainers, fitness gurus and even relationship coaches which hikes were their favorite for bonding with their canine companion. The best hikes for your dog in Los Angeles will have you going on a hiking spree before you know it.
Runyon Canyon Park
2001 N. Fuller Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Located in the very heart of Los Angeles at the eastern end of the Santa Monica mountains, Runyon Canyon boasts some of the most stunning panoramic views of the city, dozens of trails, multiple entrances and even free yoga classes daily. Celebrity dog trainer Tyson Kilmer, host of Veria Living TV’s “Natural Companions,” a weekly program exploring holistic pet care, says he teaches dog training at Runyon Canyon and describes it as a place to see and be seen, especially among many of LA’s dog-owning celebrities. “I love Runyon Canyon…It’s a challenging hike with a trendy progressive crowd,” says Kilmer, who owns a 4-year-old pit bull terrier named Kasha Fierce. With three primary hiking trails and so many other options for more of an adventure, every hike at Runyon Canyon feels like an entirely new experience.
Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park
17500 Mulholland Drive
Encino, CA 91436
(310) 589- 3200
With entrances from both West Los Angeles at Mandeville Canyon Fire Road and the San Fernando Valley, Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park contains 1,500 acres of open space adjacent to 20,000 acres of the “Big Wild,” giving you and your canine pal plenty of space for some quality bonding time. Andrea Servadio from Fitdog Sports Club in Santa Monica says she used to take her 4-year-old jack russell terrier to Runyon Canyon all the time until she discovered the Westridge Trail. “We found that the Westridge Trail was closer to the Westside, and if you get there by 10 a.m. on the weekends, there is always street parking available,” says the dog care facility owner. “We love it because Brecken is able to run around off-leash and there are fewer people. The views are just as amazing [as Runyon Canyon], and you can hike as far as you want because it’s not a loop.”
Related: Best Dog Parks In LA And OC
Zuma Ridge Trail
Zuma Ridge Motorway
Malibu, CA 90265
For an uphill battle, the Zuma Ridge Tail offers one of the most challenging hikes in town, but at least your dog has the freedom to roam without a leash. The entrance to this trail, however, is a bit obscure with no specific address to enter into a GPS system. To get there, you’ll have to take PCH to Malibu before turning right on Busch Drive and driving up 1.5 miles to a dirt parking lot at the end of the road where the trail starts. Fitness trainer Jeff Archibald takes his 8-year-old shepherd-husky mix, Townes, for regular hike runs and says it’s one of the best hiking spots in Malibu. “He loves the trails because there are usually several other friendly dogs to meet and greet,” says the avid hiker.
15601 W. Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Temescal Canyon is one of the most popular dog-friendly hiking destinations in the Santa Monica Mountains, complete with an excellent view of the Pacific Ocean and a seasonal waterfall. It’s about a four-mile round-trip hike that starts at the end of Temescal Canyon Road on Sunset Boulevard. Although reports have confirmed that dogs on a leash are permitted, be sure to read the signs carefully as there are some areas of the park where dogs are not permitted. Los Angeles relationship coach Kongit Farrell prefers Temescal Canyon over Runyon Canyon, especially with her favorite canine wingman by her side. “In addition to having enough space to get you and your four-legged friend comfortably up the hill, Temescal is also a great place for meeting a higher quality, more established crop of dates,” she says.
Griffith Observatory Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913- 4688
Home to the renowned Mt. Hollywood Trail, a six-mile round-trip hike to a nice view of the movie-famous Hollywood sign and the highest peak of the park, Griffith Observatory Park offers more than 50 miles of trails throughout its wilderness areas and multiple trailheads. The easiest entrance to get to is across the way from the Observatory itself. Most of the hiking trails are pretty dog-friendly but the old Bird Sanctuary may be one of the few exceptions. Griffith Park does allow dogs to roam free without a leash in the designated dog park located on North Zoo Drive at the north end of a soccer field.
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.