Dog Friendly Trails in SoCal

Posted by Adventure 16 | 09.15.2017

A16 is Dog-Friendly! We welcome all well-behaved, leashed dogs in our stores.

A16'er Chris Ramirez' dog "Jack" & friends at Black Mountain in Idyllwild
A16'er Chris Ramirez' dog "Jack" & friends at Black Mountain in Idyllwild

Resouces for Dog Friendly Parks & Trails in Southern Califonia


This list of Southern California trails, is a work in progress so be sure to check back again. Feel free to email info@adventure16.com if you have any additions or corrections--or a photo or two of your dog on one of the listed trails.  See you out there. Woof!


Tips for Hiking with Dogs:


Dog, Scooby Do, Running on a trail

  • On trails and in parks, assume dogs must be on a leash, unless otherwise stated


  • Always pick up after your pet immediately




See below for an interactive map of the trails mentioned in this blog post.

Los Angeles Area:





  • HikeSpeak.com: A collection of over 75 dog-friendly trails around Los Angeles.


  • Hiking Trails for Dogs in Los Angeles“There are a few general rules for locating dog-approved trails around L.A. If it's national, like Angeles National Forest or Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, you can bet that dogs are welcome. If it's a California state park, like Malibu Creek State Park or Topanga State Park, dogs probably aren't invited on trails. City and county parks like Griffith Park usually allow dogs. Despite some restrictions, there are lots of great parks around Los Angeles that welcome canine companions. Here are five great hiking trails to explore.” -- Huffington Post Seth Smigelski creator Hikespeak.com


  • A dirt path allows you and your dog to walk along the bluffsPalos Verdes Peninsula -- "Conservancy managed trails offer a wide variety of walks and experiences, many of which feature spectacular views, native plants and wild flowers, fascinating geology, glimpses of the Peninsula's history, and animal sightings. They range from easy strolls to strenuous climbs up hillsides and ridges." Leashed dogs are allowed.

Another great resource for hikes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula can be found on HikeSpeak.com, which includes links with photos, GPS maps, and directions.


Orange County



San Diego County



  • San Diego Park & Rec List and Map of leash-free locations 


  • Balboa Park, San Diego

    Dogs must be leashed and under control of owner at all times throughout the park, including trails and canyons. 

    There are three exceptions. The following areas are designated and posted as 24 hour dog-off-leash zones,but it's always prudent to check the park's Rules & Regulations before heading out.

    • Nate's Point at Balboa Dr. at El Prado,south side of Cabrillo Bridge
    Morley Field, northwest of tennis courts. 
    Grape St. Park is designated and posted as dog-off-leash area during the following times: Monday-Friday, 7:30--9:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 9:00--9:00 p.m. 

  • Batiquitos Lagoon, between Encinitas & Carlsbad  Leashed dogs are welcome The lagoon can be seen and experienced from a nature trail on the north side. The public walking and hiking trail is about 2 miles long.


  • Seaside bluffs at San Onofre State BeachBluffs Beach Trail--San Onofre State Beach (North San Diego County)Six signed Beach Trails descend from the Bryce Canyon-like bluffs to the beach. Dogs permitted on trails 1 & 6 only.


  • Check the tide table before attempting this hike as some sections are impassable at high tide.


  • Cleveland National Forest--San Diego, Orange & Riverside counties. Leashed dogs are permitted on trails and in campgrounds (limit of 2 dogs per camp site). Click here to view a list of trails and trail guide. Rules for bringing your dog can be found here.


  • Clevenger Canyon Open Space Park. Leashed dogs are allowed. Additional trail map here. From San Diego, take the Interstate 15 to Via Rancho Parkway and travel east. Turn right on San Pasqual Valley Road and follow signs to the Wild Animal Park. The southern trail head is located 5.3 miles from the Wild Animal Park and the northern tail head is 5.8 miles ahead. Parking lots are open from sunrise to sunset. For more information on San Pasqual and Clevenger Canyon, call the office of the park ranger at (858) 538-8082. 


Trails of San Dieguito River Park

  • San Dieguito River Park Trails-- Leashed dogs are allowed on most trails in this natural open space park. Click here for maps & trail descriptions.  


  • Daley Ranch, Escondido--Miles of well-maintained trails. Dogs on leash are allowed. Map


  • El Cajon Mountain--This very difficult 11.2 mile out and back hike is uphill both ways. Widely considered the hardest hike in San Diego County, this hike has hills aplenty, coming and going. Take plenty of water for you and your pet as there is no shade. The trail is closed the entire month of August.


Directions: From San Diego, take I-8 east or Hwy 52 East to Hwy 67. Go North to Mapleview Rd and turn right. Mapleview Rd turns into Lake Jennings Park Rd. Turn left onto El Monte Rd and drive 5.7 miles to the El Cajon Mtn parking area. If you get to the El Capitan Reservoir gate, you've gone too far.


  • Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve -- Escondido
  • Monday – Friday: Dogs under effective voice command are permitted off leash but only at the top of the “Way Up” Trail (point marked with sign). 
  • Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: Dogs are required to remain on leash at all times throughout the Reserve. 
  • Way Up” Trail and Lower Trails: Dogs must remain on leash at all times.
  • Additionally, dogs must be held on leash in parking, picnic, and overlook areas or any time they become a nuisance to people, property, and wild or domestic animals.



  • Gate to Iron Mountain trailsIron Mountain -- An easy to moderate 5.6-mile, out-and-back hike to the scenic 2,700-foot peak. This trail is relatively flat and is very popular with trail runners and hikers of all types. To avoid the heavy weekend and early evening crowds, try this trail mid-week, very early in the morning, or as a full-moon night hike.

Directions from San Diego: I-15 N to Scripps Poway Pkwy.; turn R and drive 9 mi. Turn L onto CA 67. Park 2 mi. later at trailhead just S of County Hwy S4/Poway Rd.


  • Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve -- There are several convenient entrances to the Preserve: 
    • The East entrance, or staging area, is located at the intersection of Black Mountain and Mercy Roads.
    • The western staging area is on the south side of Sorrento Valley Boulevard, approximately 1 mile east of Vista Sorrento Parkway.
    • The northern entrance is near Peñasquitos Creek Park at the intersection of Park Village Road and Camino Del Sur in Rancho Peñasquitos.
    • A staging area for Lopez Canyon is located at the intersection of Pacific Mesa and Pacific Center Boulevards in Mira Mesa. 

Information kiosks are  located at each of these entry points that designate the trail head and provide additional park information.


  • San Diego's Top 50 Trails -- from San Diego Magazine. Look for the dog symbol in each description to find dog-friendly trails.

Adventure 16 dog, Duce, enjoying the view from the Mt. Woodson hike

  • Mt. Woodson -- This is a great cool-weather hike with lots of scenic views, but too hot for dogs in the summer months.  Dogs must be on leash. Directions


Southern California




  • National Forests: Dogs are welcome in National Forests. The few rules that apply to dogs are meant to assure that you and other National Forest visitors have an enjoyable outdoor recreation experience. If you are traveling in a National Forest Wilderness, dogs are permitted. However, if you leave a National Forest Wilderness and enter into a National Park, dogs are not permitted.




  • Hike With Your Dog: “The site where you won't be able to wipe the wag off your dog's tail” 



Additional Resources




This interactive map features "Ellie" who belongs to A16 Customer Tracie Masi.  Click on each dog icon for details about the trail.

Adventure 16'ers Adventurous Dogs

Black and white photo with A16 Founder Mic & RozieSince our early beginnings, Adventure 16 has enjoyed incorporating our canine friends into our company culture, starting with “Duchess,” a black lab that shadowed A16 CEO, Mic Mead, when he first joined A16 in 1970. In 1979, Mic’s Viszla Hound, “Rozie” came to A16 as a pup and was a daily fixture at the San Diego and Horton Plaza stores until Mic retired (and sold A16 to the employees) in 1995. Rozie often appeared in advertisements for A16 back in the early ‘80’s.

Baja the canine greeter of the San Diego and Solana Beach stores


Other canines that are fondly remembered include former A16 President, Steve Meyer’s Black Lab, “Dirt,” Buyer Christo’s Yellow Lab, “Baja” (shown at right, was a greeter in A16's San Diego & Solana Beach stores for years), “Bear” and “Rosie” in our LA Store, “Wookie“ in our (now closed) Tarzana store, as well as “Ripley,” “Summit,” “Sarah,” “Cole,” “Bob,” “Aspen” and countless others that came faithfully to work everyday with their A16 owners.

In addition to the fun and morale they bring to employees and customers, dogs are also a big part of A16’s business. In fact, A16 was one of the first outdoor specialty stores/distributors to offer outdoor accessories for dogs, including toys, packs, trail booties, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, travel beds and float coats. 

As enthusiastic as A16’ers are about the outdoors, our dogs, it seems, enjoy being outdoors even more than we do! Perhaps you've even met some of our furry friends on trail:


Photos of the dogs Duce, Jack, and Zeigen out on hikes


Photos of Ebi, the current greeter at the San Diego store, and Aspen


Photos of dogs having fun on hikes, featuring Tamarac, Sierra, and Loki


Cool Videos


Adventures of Biscuit the Jack Russell



Dog playing in leaves is B.O.L. funny!



A16 dog, Aspen, wearing a GoPro Camera



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