Where to Hike with Your Dogs in LA, and Where to Eat Brunch Afterwards

Reviewed by Dr. Katy Nelson

May 2, 2016

If you’re a dog owner, you know that your pet wants to be involved in everything you do, especially outdoor activities. Our family loves to hike and from personal experience I know that it can be difficult to find both a dog-friendly hike and and dog-friendly restaurant to eat at afterwards. So, I’ve put together a list of my favorite places to bring my dogs hiking in Los Angeles and some nearby dog-friendly eats!

Hike #1: Griffith Park

Griffith Park is often referred to as an urban oasis. This park features hiking & equestrian trails, exquisite city views, the Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theatre & the L.A. Zoo (just to name a few).

My favorite trail is the Mt. Hollywood Trail, a six-mile round-trip hike to a nice view of the uber-famous Hollywood sign and the highest peak of the park. Griffith Observatory Park offers more than 50 miles of trails and multiple trailheads. Most of the hiking trails are pretty dog-friendly but dogs must remain on leash. However, the park does allow dogs to roam free in the designated dog park located on North Zoo Drive at the north end of the soccer fields. There is plenty of shade along the way of the Ferndell Trail, and incredible views to snap a pic with your dog at the top of the observatory itself.

Where you’re eating: Du-pars Restaurant & Bakery:
You’ve taken on the hike to the Griffith Observatory and back, and you’re famished. Where to? Du-pars, hands down. Since first opening at The Original Farmer’s Market in 1938, generations have enjoyed the classic fare at Dupar’s. Their buttermilk hotcakes have even become famous. Order some eggs for your pooch who will enjoy sitting on the patio by your table waiting for some crumbs to fall!

With three locations in LA, all offering plenty of outdoor seating, there’s no reason to skip this gem. Although they do not take reservations, the fact that they are open 24 hours is a huge selling point, especially to those craving breakfast in the middle of the night. Don’t worry about showing up in your hiking clothes though, it’s a pretty casual breakfast joint.

Hike #2: Runyon Canyon
While the hiking trails of Runyon Canyon are currently closed until July to repair water lines, you’ll want to visit this spot as soon as it opens. It happens to be one of the most famous places to bring your dog for a hike in California. Even celebrities do it, so you know it must be cool, right? This park is complete with 160 acres of land near Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills featuring 90 acres of off-leash dog fun with an abundance of hiking trails. You will get a great workout no matter which trail you choose and bonus: you’ll meet a ton of other dog owners and cute pooches along the way.

Beware: It does tend to be very sunny and hot on these trails. Although the park provides several water stations, I recommend bringing plenty of water for you and fido to share!

Where you’re eating: In-N-Out
You need an excuse to visit In-N-Out Burger when you’re on the west coast, right? Well you’ve just come from a hike, with your dog, you’re starving and dressed in workout clothes. What’s the excuse? All of the above! Plenty of outdoor seating and if you order a burger “protein style” (sans bun), your pup can have their post-hike meal too.

Insider Tip: the closest In-N-Out location to Runyon Canyon is on Sunset Blvd., only a 15 minute walk away, so treat yourself for the extra effort and add fries to your order!

Hike #3: Caballero Canyon Trail
Having briefly lived in the Valley, I was able to regularly explore some lesser-known trails along the Santa Monica Mountains. You and your pooch can enjoy a 3.4-mile round trip hike as you ascend Caballero Canyon on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains. Just south of the 101 Freeway, drive to the very end of Reseda Blvd. and you will find plenty of parking available by the trailhead. People come from all over to check out this hike and bring everything from their dogs to their horses. That’s right, horses are often seen on this trail.

Warning: this trail has been known to have random appearances by snakes, hawks and coyotes. Technically, this is their home, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. But keep your pup close and always in sight of you as a precaution.

Where you’re eating: Cici’s Cafe
A true Tarzana staple. Just up the road from the Caballero Canyon Trail, Cici’s Cafe is exclusively known for its massive breakfast selection, including decadent pancakes. You’ll be jonesing for carbs after that hike, so head on over and request an outdoor table on their patio (unfortunately they only have a few, so you might have to wait). But don’t worry, their menu is so extensive it’ll keep you busy. Did I mention they were dog friendly?

Reviewed by Dr. Katy Nelson

May 2, 2016