I’ve been asked recently for some local hikes that are dog friendly. Here are a few that our pack goes on regularly.
In general I don’t go to the LA Mountains without another human for safety reasons. Plus I’d rather take my chances with the one mountain lion at Griffith, P-22, vs. all the critters you can find in our local mountains! For that reason most of these hikes aren’t in the mountain area BUT now there are a ton there that you can explore.
When in doubt two great hiking sites are:
Links can give you addresses to use in navigation.
- Runyon – This is a LEGAL off-leash Dog Adventure. We usually park at the top of Mullholand although you can start at the bottom in Hollywood as well. There are three main roads. The middle road is the paved and easiest. The Spine, or West Trail, is the hardest. Finally, the Stairs, or East Trail, is in between in difficulty. Don’t worry what you take. You can’t really get lost. Pick one way down and the other up! It’s clearly marked when you can take the pups off leash.
- Cherry Canyon – This is my new favorite set of trails just above Descanso Garden in La Canada. There are a couple trialheads but we usually use one of the two noted in the map below. There are a number of loops that you can add on to make any hike longer. If you get lost no biggie – just keep walking until you get to another loop. For reference keep an eye out for JPL, Descanso and the main entrance. Those are good markers. If you look toward the mountains and follow them to the right you will see the JPL buildings. The main entrance to the park is on the other side and is easy to spot since it has a big trail to it and a home sits near the main traihead. Finally you most likely passed Descanso Gardens to park. Just keep that in mind and it’s easy to spot their parking lot in places.
- Hahamongna – Park at the main Watershed park. From the lower parking lot (by the soccer fields) walk South toward Pasadena to do a loop around the actual watershed. At one point you can duck under a bridge and take a 4 mile trail to Cherry Canyon through the backyards of La Canada. OR you can go over Devil Gates Damn to the Upper Rose Bowl loop which adds a couple miles and is an easy enough path to follow around the main area of the Rose Bowl golf course. — If you head North, toward JPL at the parking lot instead you can do that same loop backwards OR keep going past the JPL parking lot to an entire set of trails! (There is another place to park to get to these if you like them let me know and I’ll tell you where that is.)
- Eaton Canyon – Easy to get to and navigate and out and back to the waterfall. It’s more impressive when there is water so you have water crossings so keep that in mind.
- Deb’s Park – Sure you might find a dead body but it’s still a great set of trails and a wonderful view of LA! Park at the main park. The trailhead is near the back parking lot opposite the park.
- Echo Mtn – Head up Lake from the 210 and at the top before the street turns to the left you will see a traihead to the right. At the fork stay right. This will take you up to the ruins of the old hotel/resturaunt which is FASCINATING. If you have an enormous amount of energy after that you can keep going up to Inspiration Point. It’s very cool but a long hike so energetic pups only and make sure you have water and some snacks.
- Elysian Park – Park at the Lodge and follow the others walking around there. There is a very cool (and easy) loop that takes you up above the lodge and around.
- Griffith Park – This is my main hiking location. I LOVE it. There are a ton of options. A friend found the BEST trail map so take a look at that and plan out a route (map link). Our main places to park are Mineral Wells Picnic Area, The Old Zoo, The Golf Course, The Greek, The Observatory, Fern Dell and The Merry Go Round. All the trails intersect so you can go long or short depending on your mood (3 versions of a loop with Amir’s Garden are shown as an example). MOST trails go up and down so expect elevation. Any trails on this map are good solid trails that are used by many. The only ones missing are two set of stairs going up to Amir’s Garden and part of the Old Zoo Loop. You can’t miss them when you see them though. I’ve highlighted a few of our hikes below. Note we don’t usually do the ones further North since those have more horse traffic and Riggins hates horses!