Sparky One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “Can I take my dog on this trail?”

The short answer on my FAQ page is “Generally, YES on Federal Land, NO on State Land” – but it’s not always the case … and in areas like the Santa Monica Mountains, where there’s a complicated patchwork of federal, state, and local parklands, the answer’s not always that clear, either.

I love hiking with dogs, but I don’t have one myself so I don’t always take note of the pooch provisions when I get to the trailheads around L.A., but thankfully, someone at the L.A. Times decided to do a lot of legwork for us and our four-footed friends.

A new interactive feature called Sit. Stay. Hike. showcases 19 local trails and hiking areas where Fido is welcome, each with some nice Google Earth flyovers and links to more detailed information, like safety tips.

It’s a very well put-together resource for anyone who wants to take their dogs on the trail with them and doesn’t feel like putting up with the crowds at Runyon.

via LAist.

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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Modern Hiker
Since founding Modern Hiker in 2006, Casey's work on the site has appeared in regional and national publications, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, CNN, New York Magazine, High Country News, and others. He has broken several national news stories about outdoor vandalism and policies and his first book "Day Hiking Los Angeles" is available for pre-order.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on May 4, 2010


  • Thanks for the link! We hike with our two dogs and they love it as much as we do. Around LA the biggest danger with dogs is probably poison oak because they get it on their fur and give it to us when we cuddle them…. Snakes can be a problem as well, but so far we’ve been lucky (we are very careful).

    Dogs love to exercise and it always breaks my heart when I see some over weight furry friends.


  • Hannah says:

    Hiking is our hobby with our dogs since we moved and we got this small forest park open for all. They all enjoy the park, plus there is a close 15 minute drive to the beach that allows dogs too. Noticeable, our dogs become healthier and more active.

  • Ethan Hickerson says:

    I’m glad you got some use out of my photo! :D

  • Dave Watts says:

    What could be more natural than walking with your best friend in the country?

  • Bryan says:

    I love hiking with my dogs and I enjoy it a lot. My favorite partner hiking is my german shepherd which just turned 3years old yesterday. We should consider choosing a safe place to hike with our dogs.

  • Andy M, USA says:

    Taking dogs where there are other predators like bears is often prohibited, and if not, it is unwise for the safety of the dog and you. The gov. of Texas was in the news recently for a run-in with a coyote while taking his dog for a walk/hike:

    • Modern Hiker says:

      While it’s true that dog owners do need to exercise extra caution (as is mentioned in the guide), most of the time hiking with dogs is no more or less risky than hiking without them. They’re allowed in most of the National Forest land here, which has both mountain lions and black bears, as well as coyotes. While I’m not surprised that Rick Perry has a quick trigger finger, he probably could have just made a loud noise and scared off the coyote instead of shooting it with his laser-guided pistol. Most lone coyotes won’t attack dogs as big as his labrador retriever, but those with fashionable Hollywood-sized minidogs *do* need to be on the lookout!

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