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5 of Our Favorite Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails In California


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There are many positives when it comes to being a dog owner. Although their cuteness, loyalty, & friendliness alone are positives, having an outdoor companion is probably one of the best things dog owners can collectively agree on. Whether it’s taking them to the dog beach or taking them on a hike, there is something special about spending time with your four-legged friend. Finding a hike suitable for your dog can be challenging. Many places don’t allow dogs on the trail due to business and other factors. Finding a trail that matches your dog’s ability to hike is important for many reasons. If your dog gets rowdy around other hikers, hates the sun, or is overall just getting a bit too old to handle the trails, finding the right trail for their needs is something you should keep in mind. 

Here are some of the best dog -friendly hiking trails in California that you should take your dog on this upcoming weekend. Each is different and will have suitable factors for every kind of dog.  Also, be sure to check out our variety of dog leashes you can use while taking your dog outdoors. 

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails:

Henninger Flats, Pasadena (6-miles) - With amazing views of the Los Angeles skyline, the Henninger Flats hike is the perfect way to start your day. This trail consists mainly of switchbacks and is located on a fire road amongst the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s 3-miles up and 3-miles back and gives hikers and their pet lots of space when hiking. At the top, you will find a relaxing campground where you can picnic and enjoy the views of Los Angeles County. This trail is dog-friendly as long as you use a dog leash. The trail can get fairly busy during the day and there is not a lot of shade on the trail. Perfect for the morning or evening. 

Elfin Forest Trails, Escondido - This beautiful San Diego Country area is full of hiking trails that offer you and your dog amazing views of the forest. Hike by a creek of water or through gardens of flowers. Dogs are allowed off their dog leash Monday through Friday as long as they are under voice control. This hike offers lots of shade and small bridges. Be sure to bring water and food so that you can picnic at the end of your hike!


More Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Northern California:

McCloud River Three Falls Hike, McCloud (3-miles) - This amazing Northern California hike can be found right outside the beautiful town of McCloud. Hike through the majestic forest along the river of McCloud while passing three waterfalls. This hike is dog-friendly as long as your dog is on a dog leash. This hike is mostly shaded and is usually not busy. Perfect for those older dogs.

Shirley Lake Hike, Squaw Valley (3.6 Miles) - Known as one of the most dog-friendly hikes in California, Shirley Lake Hike is a must-visit for those near Lake Tahoe. Catch amazing views of the forest while you hike past waterfalls and granite boulders. This hike ends at Shirley Lake where you can relax and take a dip in the refreshing lake. Being Lake Tahoe, this hike is extremely dog-friendly as you can bring your four-legged hiking friend along leash-free. Be aware of other hikers, and remember to pick up after your dog. 

Felton Pipeline Road Trail, Scotts Valley (5.9 Miles) - Don’ t let the fact that this trail is heavily trafficked deter you from visiting this beautiful country. This trail offers relaxing views of the San Lorenzo River County and is mostly on a paved road. Dogs must be kept on a leash mostly because many other dogs will be seen on this popular trail. It’s a great workout with a little elevation that you and your dog will both enjoy. 

There are many dog-friendly hiking trails across California. Always remember to be respectful when hiking with your dog and pick up after them. Next time you have a weekend off, be sure to take your four-legged hiking buddy along with you on one of these hikes. Looking for a new dog leash? Be sure to check out our collection here.

Written by @visualsbyry