LA Weekly featured Fitdog’s recommended Westridge Trail as their “Best Dog-Walking Trail 2012.” Read full article.
Fitdog’s BEST of Dog-Friendly Trails in LA
Los Angeles is a great place to be active with your dog. There are over 50 dog-friendly hikes within the Los Angeles area. Choosing where to go can be overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed down our list to the 5 Best of Trails.
Best Trail for Socialization: RUNYON CANYON
Off-Leash, 3 Miles, Easy
See be seen at Runyon Canyon. This popular trail offers panoramic views of Los Angeles and is conveniently located two blocks off of Hollywood Blvd.
Runyon is one of the few dog-friendly trails where dogs are permitted to be off-leash and with all of its popularity, feels more like a dog park than a trail. Dogs love hanging out with their friends often finding a buddy while climbing the hill.
If you have a social mutt, this is the place to be on Saturday morning!
Directions: Runyon Canyon Park is a 130-acre park two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, just west of the 101 Hollywood Freeway extending north to Mulholland Drive. There are entrances on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street, and off Mulholland. Parking can be difficult especially on the weekend. Most of the neighborhoods are permit only. Be careful or you will get a ticket.
Address: 2001 N. Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Best Trail for Bonding with Your Dog: WESTRIDGE HIKE
Off-Leash, 7.4 Miles, Moderate
For dog owners who like the off-leash freedom of Runyon, but are looking for something a little more rigorous and without the crowds, this is it.
Westridge Hike is considered a hidden gem by Westsiders. The trail offers spectacular views of the city plus a moderate hike with a 7.4 mile round trip loop.
Like Runyon, this is another off-leash dog-friendly trail. Dogs get to roam free, and mix and mingle occasionally with other hikers and dogs, but spend most of their time focused on hiking with you.
By doing something fun and exciting together, you and your dog will enjoy a wonderful bonding experience (which helps with training!).
Directions: From the San Fernando Valley, the park is accessible from San Vicente Mountain Park. From the 405 freeway, take Mulholland Drive west 2.7 miles. A ten minute walk on a fire road will bring you to the trail and park entrance.
Address: 17500 Mulholland Drive, Encino
Best Trail for Puppies: SANDSTONE PEAK
On-Leash, 6.25 Miles, Moderate
Haven’t mastered off-leash hiking yet? Bring your dog to Sandstone Peak for an on-leash adventure.
At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The summit can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with 1,075 feet of elevation gain that offers expansive views of the range.
This is one of the rare dog-friendly trails where dog owners honor the on-leash policy (you can thank the park ranger that patrols the trail). Having everyone on-leash makes the trail safe for puppies and other dogs that are still learning doggy manners or haven’t perfected their recall yet. Plus the trail can be challenging in spots, which helps to get rid of all that puppy energy.
Directions: Take the Pacific Coast Highway to Yerba Buena Road. Turn inland and go 5.4 miles and you will see the Circle X Ranch on your right. Park here if you plan on hiking to the Grotto. If not, continue past about .5 miles and you will see the parking lot on the left where the trailhead lies. Do not park on the side of road (you will be towed).
Address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA, 90265
Best Trail for Testing Doggy Gear: Mt. BALDY
On-Leash, 11.3 Miles, Difficult
This mountain is not only intense and rugged, but it’s also dog friendly. These two combinations make it the perfect spot to try out all of your performance dog gear.
At 10,064, Mt. Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountain Range. The trail is 11.3 miles round trip and takes about 7 hours to complete. However, on the weekends, you can take the ski lift for $20 to avoid the first mile or so. And if you are wondering, yes, dogs take the lift too!
This trail is on-leash, but all of the dogs are off-leash mostly because the trail is either too narrow or steep to effectively use a leash.
What gear to try out? For steep passages, try out doggie backpacks with handles (for hoisting & helping your pup up the mountain). A dog camping bed can give your dog a comfortable spot to nap at the rocky peak. And on the way down, put on those doggy booties to protect paws from the sliding rocks.
Start packing up that performance dog gear to get ready for a long and rewarding day.
Take the 210 east to Baseline Road (exit 52). Turn left at the light at the end of the ramp on to Baseline Road. Make the next right on to Padua Avenue. Drive 1.7 miles and turn right onto Mount Baldy Road (there will be a traffic light). Continue 7 miles up Mount Baldy Road through Mount Baldy Village (where there is a visitor center) and follow the road for another 4.4 miles up the mountain past Manker Flats Campground to the bottom of Falls Road on the left. Park along Mount Baldy Road, display an adventure pass, and begin hiking up Falls Road.
Address: Mount Baldy Road (end of the line; dead end road)
Best Trail for Older Dogs: RED ROCK CANYON
On-Leash, 2.5 Miles, Easy
For dog owners looking for a trail that is off the radar, Red Rock Canyon is the spot.
From the trailhead to the overlook is only 2.5 miles round-trip and at the top, you are rewarded with beautiful views of the ocean. Dogs are required to be on-leash, however most people have their dogs off-leash since there is no one around.
The lack of traffic and easy trail make it a perfect match for your older furry friend who still wants to have fun.
Directions: From Highway 101 exit Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Woodland Hills and head south one mile to Mulholland Drive and turn right. Turn left on Mulholland Highway and head west 2.2 miles to Old Topanga Canyon Road. Head 3.6 miles south, then turn west on Red Rock Canyon Road. You may park at this intersection or continue on for .8 mile to the park entrance.
Address: 23601 W. Red Rock Road, Old Topanga