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8 Top Dog-Friendly Hikes in Los Angeles

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If you live in L.A. and your dog loves hiking, you’re in luck. There are a vast array of dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles, from scenic coastal spots to rugged terrain with peaks offering 360-degree views. We’re highlighting 8 of the most popular and captivating trails around L.A. to explore with your four-legged friend. Grab the sunscreen and see if you can hit them all.

1. Runyon Canyon 

2001 N. Fuller
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Photo via Flickr.

RUNYON CANYON IS ARGUABLY L.A.’S MOST POPULAR OFF-LEASH HIKING SPOT. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • One of the most popular dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles—you might even hike alongside a celebrity or two!
  • Can be very difficult to find parking—street parking at two of the three entrances, small parking lot at the Mulholland Drive entrance
  • 160-acre park with 90 acres of off-leash space
  • Hilly, sun-exposed terrain
  • No water fountains along the trail, so make sure you bring plenty of water for your dog
  • Stunning views—including the famous Hollywood sign and the Hollywood Hills
  • Temporarily closed for renovation but reopening August 1, 2016

2. Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Here is just one of the great views of the Hollywood Sign from the vast array of trails winding through Griffith Park. Photo via Flickr.

JUST ONE OF THE GREAT VIEWS OF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN FROM THE VAST ARRAY OF TRAILS WINDING THROUGH GRIFFITH PARK. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • More than just a dog-friendly hike, this is the largest municipal park in the U.S. with 4,300 acres of space and 50 miles of dog-friendly trails
  • Popular Mt. Hollywood trail is a 6.4-mile round-trip hike with views of the Hollywood sign at the highest peak in the park
  • The Ferndell Trail right off Los Feliz Blvd. (5375 Red Oak Drive) is a relatively easy trek that offers plenty of shade; relax at The Trails Cafe—which sells dog treats and people food!—before heading back
  • The 6.5-mile Bronson Canyon Trail is home to the famous bat cave from the 1960’s Batman TV series
  • The roughly 2-mile West Observatory Trail splits into a lower and upper trail, both offering great views

3. The Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak

3052 Lake Hollywood Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

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The Wisdom Tree is the lone tree that survived a devastating fire in the hills. Photo via Flickr.

THE WISDOM TREE IS THE LONE TREE THAT SURVIVED A DEVASTATING FIRE IN THE HILLS AND HAS BECOME QUITE AN ATTRACTION. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • One of the newew dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles—the Wonder View Trail was recently added to Griffith Park
  • 3-mile hike with an elevation gain of nearly 1,000 feet, mainly in the first mile of the hike. Not for beginners!
  • Rugged terrain with narrow paths and steep drop-offs at times
  • No shade along trail—it can get hot for you and very hot for your dog so check the weather
  • The Wisdom Tree is the only tree that survived a devastating fire in 2007
  • Closest view of the Hollywood sign but you cannot hike directly to the sign, which is illegal
  • Difficult street parking—park only on Lake Hollywood Drive and mind signage to avoid getting ticketed or towed!

4. Fryman Canyon Loop

3453 Fryman Road
Studio City, CA 91604

Photo via Flickr.

EVEN THOUGH DOGS MUST STAY ON-LEASH AT FRYMAN CANYON, THERE’S STILL PLENTY TO PIQUE THEIR INTEREST. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • A 3-mile loop on the Studio City side of the Hollywood Hills with dirt roads and paved residential streets
  • Fairly easy hike with just 450 feet of elevation gain
  • Dogs must stay on-leash
  • Parking lot available, but for a $3 fee
  • Great views of the San Fernando Valley
  • Picnic at rest spot Tree People Headquarters in Goldwater Canyon Park at the peak

5. Elysian Park

1025 Elysian Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Elysian Park is known as more of a neighborhood spot, so it's less crowded. Photo via Flickr.

ELYSIAN PARK IS KNOWN AS MORE OF A NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT, SO IT’S LESS CROWDED. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • A relatively hidden spot for a dog-friendly hike in Los Angeles, with light foot traffic—mainly a “neighborhood” spot
  • Leisurely trails—easy 2.4-mile hike
  • Parking and navigating to the park can be tricky
  • Shady areas with great views of downtown L.A.

6. Zuma Ridge Trail

Zuma Ridge Motorway & Busch Drive
Malibu, CA 90265

Photo via Flickr.

CATCH VIEWS OF THE ICONIC MALIBU BEACHES FROM THE ZUMA RIDGE TRAIL. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • Free parking at the trailhead
  • Challenging 5.4-mile round-trip hike with nearly 1,400 feet of elevation gain
  • Dogs allowed off-leash
  • Four different trail options at the peak—the intersection of Edison Road—the longest extending the trip to a 10.6-mile hike
  • Great views of Zuma Beach and Malibu
  • Considered one of the best hikes in Malibu by avid hikers

7. Temescal Canyon

15601 W. Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Photo via Flickr.

WHAT A PANORAMIC VIEW! PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • Escape into this wooded trail in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Can get busy, as one of the most popular dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles
  • Paid parking available
  • Dogs must be on-leash—park rangers will ticket off-leash dogs
  • Several trails suited for all hiking levels
  • Read trails signs carefully and do not cross into areas where dogs are not permitted

8. Escondido Falls

27807 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265

This is in the middle of Los Angeles? The breathtaking Escondido Falls. Photo via Flickr.

THIS IS IN THE MIDDLE OF LOS ANGELES? ESCAPE THE CROWDS AND CHAOS IN THE OASIS OF BREATHTAKING ESCONDIDO FALLS. PHOTO VIA FLICKR.

  • Spectacular views of 150-foot waterfall tucked in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Nearly 4-mile round-trip hike
  • Mild sulfuric smell near the falls
  • Wear proper hiking gear and outfit your dog appropriately, as well

The Bottom Line

Dogs in Los Angeles are lucky to be able to enjoy gorgeous beaches, wooded foothills, stunning mountains, and vast valleys. L.A. is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors with your pup. In fact, there are around 75 dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles all told, which kind of boggles the mind.

And don’t worry if you don’t have time for a hike today. Find an awesome local dog walker, and you’ll cover your dog’s exercise needs until you both can hit the trails.

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