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Home > Dogs > 13 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Southern California You Can Visit (2023 Guide)

13 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Southern California You Can Visit (2024 Guide)

Dog Outdoors Hiking in Woods Mixed Breed Labrador Rescue Puppy on a Sunny Day in the Park

If your dog isn’t a fan of the beach, why not spend time together enjoying some of Southern California’s excellent hiking? Mountains, forests, and deserts can all be found just a short drive from most residential areas in Southern California, sometimes even within city limits! Here are 13 dog-friendly hiking trails in Southern California that you can explore in 2023.

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The Top 13 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Southern California

1. Paramount Ranch

🗺️ Address: 📍 2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills, CA 91301
🕐 Open Times: 8 AM–8 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No

  • Features several loop trails with minimal elevation gains and lovely views
  • Horseback riders also use the trails
  • Plenty of free parking, bathrooms, and water are available
  • Previously the site of an old West town set used in movie productions
  • A good spot to hike with kids

2. Runyon Canyon Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍2000 N. Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
🕐 Open Times: 6 AM– 6:30 PM
💲 Cost: Free (may have to pay for parking)
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes, in designated locations

  • One of the most popular trails for dogs
  • Limited street parking is available
  • Off-leash dogs are allowed along part of the trail
  • 7-mile loop trail with limited shade
  • Bring your own water

3. Wisdom Tree Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 3569 Wonderview Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068
🕐 Open Times: 5 AM–10:30 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A hard, 3.9-mile loop trail located in Griffith Park
  • Street parking only
  • Bring your own water and waste bags
  • The trail can be steep, slippery, and overgrown
  • Amazing views from the top

4. Escondido Falls Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍27200 Winding Way, Malibu, CA 90265
🕐 Open Times: 7 AM–7:30 PM
💲 Cost: $12/day parking fee
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A very popular hiking spot with a seasonal waterfall
  • A shady, moderate 3.7-mile out-and-back trail
  • Watch out for mud and multiple water crossings, especially after rain
  • Bring your own water and waste bags
  • Watch out for bikers and horses along this trail

5. Aliso Summit Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 29292 Ridgeview Dr., Laguna Nigel, CA 92677
🕐 Open Times: 6 AM–9 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A 4-mile, moderate, out-and-back trail
  • Gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean
  • Street parking only
  • Bring your own water and waste bags
  • Tends to be less crowded early in the morning

6. Black Star Canyon Falls Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍13333 Black Star Canyon Rd., Silverado, CA 92676
🕐 Open Times: 24 hours
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A challenging, 6.7-mile out-and-back trail that gets crowded fast
  • Rock scrambling and climbing are required on the second half of the trail
  • Small dogs may need help on the rocks
  • Protect your pup’s feet with hiking booties
  • Bring water and waste bags

7. Pratt, Foothills, and Fox Canyon Loop Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍Shelf Rd, Ojai, CA 93023
🕐 Open Times: 7:30 AM–7 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No



  • A moderate, 3.1-mile loop trail near the vacation destination of Ojai
  • No water or restrooms are available
  • Street parking only
  • Minimal shade—avoid hiking when it’s hot
  • Often has lots of bugs

8. Mission Creek Preserve

🗺️ Address: 📍60550 Mission Creek Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
🕐 Open Times: Dawn to dusk
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Wildlife preserve near Palm Springs with 17 miles of trails
  • Beautiful desert landscape
  • Parking, restrooms, water, and picnic areas are available
  • Rattlesnakes, black bears, and mountain lions inhabit the preserve

9. Potato Mountain Wilderness Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍Palmer Evey Motorway and Mt. Baldy Rd., Upland, CA 91786
🕐 Open Times: 6 AM to 8 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Moderate, 5.2-mile out-and-back trail with beautiful views
  • Limited parking at the trailhead
  • No facilities—bring your own water
  • Rocky terrain, but the trail is well-maintained.
  • Pack your used waste bags out—many people don’t

10. Big Horn Mine Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍Big Rock Creek Rd. and Angeles Crest Hwy, Azusa, CA 91702
🕐 Open Times: 24 hours
💲 Cost: Adventure Pass required to park in Angeles National Forest: $5/day or $30/year
🐕 Off-Leash: No



  • A moderate, 3.7-mile out-and-back trail in the Angeles National Forest
  • Limited parking is available
  • No water or restrooms
  • Not much shade on the trail
  • The trail is rocky and slippery in places—be careful

11. Sunset Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍Sunrise Hwy, Mt. Laguna, CA 91948
🕐 Open Times: Dawn to dusk
💲 Cost: Adventure Pass required to park in Cleveland National Forest– $5/day or $30/year
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • An 8.0-mile loop hike over relatively easy terrain
  • Multiple options to shorten the hike
  • Bring water and waste bags
  • You’ll share the trail with mountain bikers
  • You’ll travel through meadows, forests, and near a pond

12. Mount Woodson Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍14644 Lake Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92064
🕐 Open Times: $10/day parking on weekends and holidays for non-Poway residents
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A moderate, 7.4-mile out-and-back trail near San Diego
  • Offers beautiful views and the famous Potato Chip rock formation
  • No shade or water and can get very hot
  • Best for more experienced hikers in hot weather
  • Great workout to help you and your dog get in shape for long-distance hikes

13. Volcon Mountain Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍1107 Farmer Rd., Julian, CA 92036
🕐 Open Times: 8 AM–6 PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • A moderate, 4.9-mile out-and-back trail near San Diego
  • Follows an old road near an abandoned mining town
  • Gorgeous views of mountains and the desert
  • Bring your own water
  • Can get windy at the top

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Conclusion

The amenities at these 13 hiking trails in Southern California vary considerably. To be safe, always bring water and waste bags. Keep your dog on a leash except where posted for their own safety and to protect local wildlife. Southern California is home to many predators and snakes who pose a threat to your pup. Stay alert, be prepared, and always pay attention to the weather. These precautions can help you and your dog safely enjoy the beauty of Southern California.

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Featured Image Credit: N K, Shutterstock

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