Los Angeles is lots more than jammed freeways, as anyone who’s taken time to explore its hilly terrain and beautiful beaches knows. Take in the vibrant urban scene on a paved trail one day, then head to the hills for a rural repast. The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation maintains 177 parks, quite a few of which warmly welcome leashed canine visitors. And that’s not counting the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area or open space maintained under the stewardship of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
A good place to soak up some fresh air is Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park in Pasadena, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. You’ll share trails in the 184-acre preserve with equestrians, so be sure to collar your dog and step aside when you see or hear a horseback rider approach. A 3-mile trail leads to Eaton Canyon Falls, which in season sports a 40-foot waterfall pouring into a waist-deep pool both of you can splash in.
If you prefer ocean views and lots of people-watching when strolling with your pup, choose a segment of the California Coastal Trail, a network of existing and proposed paths, 22 contiguous miles of which are in LA County, that follow an arc around Santa Monica Bay, passing heavily populated, sandy beaches as well as more secluded, protected marine habitats. Another good ocean-view hike is the Bluff Top Trail overlooking Dana Park Harbor and ending up at dog-friendly Nelson’s, where you and your furry friend can enjoy a meal or libation.
For something more remote, sniff your way to the Red Rock Road Trail in Topanga. It features interesting scenery in the form of sculpted sandstone caves, arches and other formations.
Visit the LA County parks and trails website to discover more than 200 additional trails you’re welcome to explore with Fido.