Hiking can be the perfect way to recharge after a long day or stressful week. While that sentiment applies to everyone, it’s even more true if you have a four-legged companion to accompany you! If you’re a Los Angeles local with dogs who enjoy hiking in the great outdoors, you’re probably already familiar with Runyon Canyon — which is arguably the city’s most popular off-leash hiking spot — but there are way more dog-friendly hiking trails near you worth exploring.
Not sure where to find them? Not to worry. Your friends at Barkbus have compiled a list of the best dog walking trails in LA and the surrounding area. Choose one that speaks to you the most, whether it’s a beach walk or a jaunt through the mountains. Just remember: leash guidelines are many times in effect for their protection so please abide accordingly! Here are our top 20 picks for dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles, listed from A to Z.
Located on the east side of the iconic Griffith Park, Amir’s Garden is almost a misnomer. This moderately challenging hike is less a garden in the traditional sense, and more a dirt road that will take you under arcing sycamores and alongside verdant shrubs. Dogs are welcome on a leash, as this is a popular hike for horseback riders. Amir’s Garden is near Mount Hollywood, Mount Bell, and other peaks in Griffith Park, so if you both still have gas in the tank, you can consider going for a longer walk.
Astral Drive is found within the Trebek Open Space in Nichols Canyon near the Hollywood Hills and the often-traveled Runyon Canyon. Donated by the eponymous game show host, this 62-acre tract offers nice city vistas in multiple directions. Unlike its neighbor to the east, this trail sees far less foot traffic if you’re looking to experience some quiet solitude with your doggo for about an hour.
Cahuenga Peak is the highest summit in Griffith Park — reaching the top provides excellent views of Los Angeles, Burbank, and one of the most iconic landmarks in LA: the Hollywood Sign. This is considered a challenging route — especially for dogs, who must be leashed — as there are steep, rock-strewn sections. The trail is open year-round, and you’ll likely catch a glimpse of the Wisdom Tree near the top of Burbank Peak, a solitary pine that survived a wildfire that ravaged the slopes.
Depending on the time of day you go, you can find some solitude in Cherry Canyon Park, located in the San Rafael Hills near the Descanso Botanical Gardens. There are great views from the lookout point that you can enjoy — just make sure you go in either in the early morning or late afternoon, especially on a hot day, as shaded areas are few and far between. This would be a good trail to bring a backpack with some water for you and your doggo.
The trailhead for this 2.4-mile loop can be found right near the Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe, which has outdoor seating and picnic tables, but unfortunately isn’t dog-friendly. Luckily, the Corral Canyon Loop Trail is! Since this trail is located right off the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll most likely hear traffic as you walk, but the spectacular views of the ocean and mountains are worth it. Parking costs $12 and you’ll need to leash your pooch due to the abundant wildlife in the area.
This family and dog-friendly trail near Pasadena is an out-and-back walk. You’ll cross several streams on your way to the payoff: a 40-foot waterfall with views of the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. This hike is especially appealing in the spring, when wildflowers bloom along the canyon floor. While dogs do need to be leashed and cleaned up after — #leavenotrace — there are public restrooms located near the parking lot in the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. They’re open every Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are closed on Mondays.
Accessed from the Pacific Coast Highway — also locally referred to as PCH — don’t let the blacktop at the beginning of this hike deter you. After paying $12 to park near the entrance, you’ll follow the same road you came in for about a mile. You’ll gain nearly 200 feet before the road heads downhill to the trailhead for Escondido Canyon Park, where you’ll encounter a few stream crossings before coming to a small waterfall if there’s been sufficient rainfall. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed due to horseback riders sharing the trail.
Located near Dodgers Stadium in the neighborhood of the same name, Elysian Park’s West Loop Trail is a convenient, dog-friendly hike near the heart of LA itself. This short walk requires dogs to be leashed while offering decent elevation gain and plenty of shaded areas — which comes in handy if you need a place to walk your pup midday. It also features some great views of the valley and downtown Los Angeles, which is a win-win!
Check out this two-mile loop near Studio City if you’re looking for a quick getaway from the city and an effortless hike for you and your furry friend. The park offers a few parking lots, but keep in mind that this trail starts near the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. This trail does require your dog to be leashed as it sees lots of traffic from both two- and four-legged travelers, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Near Franklin Canyon, the Fryman Canyon Loop follows the Betty B. Dearing Trail as it passes through Wilacre Park in Lower Fryman Canyon and Coldwater Canyon Park, amounting to just over 450 feet of elevation gain. The loop offers a nice variety of terrain, like dirt roads and residential streets, which, on top of the leash requirement, will make you want to keep your pupper nearby at certain points.
Easily one of the longest, most challenging hikes on this list, the trail begins at the Griffith Park Visitor Center and takes about 4.5 hours to complete, so you’ll definitely want to save this hike for a weekend. This is one of the most popular trails to go backpacking with dogs in California, and is a favorite amongst visitors to the city — so make sure to pack a good rucksack, and only bring a dog that’s capable of going the distance! You’ll start by taking a gravel road up until it turns into a wide single track that will maneuver amongst a number of steep ridges. When you intersect with an asphalt road, you know you’ll be close to the very top of Griffith Park. Just don’t forget to snap a picture with your pup near the Hollywood Sign with a picturesque view of LA as your backdrop.
Situated near the sprawling Cobb Estate in Altadena, Inspiration Point is located at the top of Echo Mountain. (Side note: the other Inspiration Point, located in the Will Rogers State Historic Park in the Pacific Palisades, is much easier, but doesn’t allow dogs.) On average, this hike takes about six hours to complete, so you’ll want to get started on the earlier side. You’ll start at the Sam Merrill trailhead, with much of the trail consisting of a straight-up incline. Before you go, you should make sure your companion is more than capable of handling the terrain. Bring a backpack with water for both of you — especially if it’s hot out!
The Limekiln Canyon Trail is an almost four-mile hike nestled in-between suburban neighborhoods in Porter Ranch. Located right beside the Porter Ranch Town Center — which, we might add, conveniently includes a Petco — this trail is considered a flat, easy route that requires dogs to be on a leash. Even though it’s located near a residential neighborhood, coyotes have been spotted around dark, so stay vigilant and be careful.
One of the few off-leash dog hikes on this list, Millard Canyon Falls is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail near Altadena that will take you and your companion through scenic woodland, which offers a good amount of shade. Even though this trail allows for dogs to be off-leash, look out for both mountain bikers and rattlesnakes on your way to and from the waterfall.
Runyon Canyon is one of the most popular dog-friendly hikes in Los Angeles, as it doesn’t require dogs to be leashed in some areas. It also offers a relaxing jaunt along dirt pathways that eventually deposit you at the top of a series of hills with gorgeous views of the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains. Towards the bottom of the canyon, you’ll find the Runyon Canyon Dog Park, where you can certainly tire out your doggo if the walk doesn’t cut it, as this series of trails see a large influx of visitors each day.
At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The summit can be reached by a 6.25-mile loop with 1,075 feet of elevation gain, or a three-mile out-and-back trail with a 997 elevation gain. Both deposit you at the summit, where you and your furry friend will have earned bragging rights, in addition to expansive, 360-degree views. Ocean vistas start as soon as you park at the trailhead, and continue to get better as you go, spurring you onwards to the peak! No fee is required to park at the trailhead, and you don’t need a permit. The only requirement is your dog needs to be on a leash for this one.
To reach the Seascape Trail, you’ll want to park at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center near the lighthouse. Instead of walking towards the Point Vicente Light, you’ll be walking through the Vicente Bluffs Reserve to the north. This nice, easy hike along flat pathways offers incredible cliffside views, and does have a leash requirement for your doggo.
What’s not to like about Solstice Canyon? Not only does it offer picturesque views of the ocean, but this three-mile loop takes you under shaded expanses, beside a 30-foot waterfall, and the ruins of a mansion — including the oldest still-standing stone building in Malibu. Located near the PCH, this pleasant, moderately difficult walk is doggy friendly, but they must be on a leash.
Located near the Encino Hills, the Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park can be found in the San Vincente Mountains. But don’t let that deter you, as the three-mile out-and-back Canyonback Trail is generally considered easy walking along dirt paths. The trailhead can be found right off Mulholland Drive and does require dogs to be on a leash at all times.
The Vital Link trailhead can be found in Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon Park near the DeBell Gold Club driving range. While dogs must be leashed, there is plenty of free parking. If you build up an appetite after ascending over 1,000 feet in just a few miles, consider eating at Castaways, a dog-friendly hilltop restaurant in Wildwood Canyon.
While a good hike is beneficial for most dogs, an accumulation of dirt and grime can have you running to the bathtub. Avoid the hassle by booking an appointment with our grooming specialists at Barkbus, who are pros at making sure your pup looks like their best self after a long day out on the trails!