Over the last two weeks, I was lucky enough to get some time off of work to take a night class and expand some of my #worklifeknowledge! And with that night class, then, came free daylight hours! I took advantage of my time off by spending as much time outside as humanly possible. And one of my favorite outdoor activities is hiking…especially with my pup, Marty 😉
So today I’m sharing four great hikes that you can do with your four-legged friend! Three of these hikes were completely new to me! A couple things to remember when hiking with your pup: always bring lots of water with you — more than you think you’ll actually need. I like to fill up a couple bottles and put them in my backpack and then clip on one of those collapsible bowls from Petco. Don’t forget to pack nourishment — for yourself and for your pup! If you have a sun-sensitive dog like we do, slather on some doggy-sunscreen before you get out of the car. And finally, after a long hike, it’s always a good idea to soak your best bud’s paws in warm water and epsom salt to get rid of anything that might cause irritation or infections. Happy hiking!
1. Bluffs Creek Trail, Playa Vista:
Distance: About 5 miles, out and back
Featured Pup: Marty the Bully
This is an out-and-back fire road trail with relatively no climb at all. So if you’re looking for an easy stroll, this is it! I parked in the parking lot at Court Park, but I don’t think you’re technically allowed to park here unless you’re using the park. AllTrails tells hikers to park near the LMU entrance on Lincoln Blvd, or you can enter the trail midway by Altamor Drive in a residential area above. The trail is dog-friendly as long as they’re leashed, but I ran into multiple dog owners who all told me it’s understood to be an off-leash trail as long as you pick up after your dog and remain respectful. The trail itself switches between dirt and asphalt, and it’s almost completely sun-exposed, so bring a lot of water and wear a hat. You get a great view of the LMU sign and the surrounding Playa Vista area. You’ll still be able to hear cars and see buildings, but if you’re just looking to get outside with your dog off-leash, then this is a great way to do it! Visit –> this site for more detailed instructions on the trail. Bonus Tip: There are two small dog parks nearby here as well, off of West Bluff Creek Dr. if your pup feels more like playing!
2. Hummingbird Trail, Simi Valley:
Distance: About 4 miles, out and back
Featured Pup: Stone Bones
Although Hummingbird Trail is listed as 3.7 miles, you have the opportunity to continue onto Rocky Peak Trail to make it much longer and/or loop back around instead of going out-and-back. To get to the trailhead, take the Kuehner Drive Exit off of the 118. You’ll reach a private gate and you can park in front of that. You’ll want to follow the purple arrows that are painted on the ground to stay on the path, but I highly recommend downloading the Trail Map from the AllTrails App. Julie and I somehow lost track of the purple arrows and ended up forging our own path most of the way up, and it wasn’t easy! Luckily, we had our Pack Leader, Stone Bones, there to get us back on track 😉 This is a steep climb with relatively no shade cover at all. The freeway stays in sight pretty much the whole time though since you’re up high, so you can always find your way back if you do happen to lose the trail. We found that the trail was much easier to see on our way back down. We had originally picked this hike because we were looking for a Super Secret Cave, but we weren’t successful in finding it. Instead though, we found one of our favorite hikes and had a fantastic morning anyway! The geology in this area is really neat…it kind of reminds me of Joshua Tree with all the large boulders. There are some really cool caves all the way up that are worth exploring, but I would recommend getting familiar with where they are located on a map before you head out. You’ll reach a crossroads where Rocky Peak Trail intersects. If you turn left, you can loop back to where you started, or you can just turn around and go the way you came. If you turn right, you’ll continue onto Rocky Peak Trail, which I hear has all the best views! It’s on our list for next time. We kept Stone on-leash for most of the hike since we were doing a lot of bush-whacking, but we let him off in spurts. Look out for mountain bikers on this path…there’s a lot of them!
3. Burma Road Trail to Portuguese Bend, Palos Verdes:
Distance: About 5 miles, out and back
Featured Pup: Marty the Bully
Portuguese Bend is one of our all-time favorite hiking destinations in The Southbay! We love hiking in PV because it’s not a bad drive for us and the views of the Pacific are always extraordinary. Although this main trail is listed as 5 miles, there are so many offshoots of smaller trails, that you can make it as long as you’d like, and you can switch it up every time! This is a popular trail for horse riders so if your pup is easily spooked by horses, I wouldn’t recommend going early in the morning, as this is when most riders are out. (Also look out for mountain bikers). We keep Marty on-leash when we’re on the main Burma Road Trail, but often let him off-leash when we take the lesser travelled/narrower trails. To get to the trailhead, park at Del Cerro Park or on the main road if the parking lot is full. You’ll follow the paved road until you reach the sign for the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve and Burma Road Trail. The hike starts completely downhill and you’ll hit a porta-john about a quarter of a mile down in a shaded area. This is the last big shade for awhile unless you stop at the big group of trees you’ll see from a distance on your way down. Stay on the main trail if you want, or hop on the smaller trails…they all loop back to the main trail at some point. You can take the main trail all the way down to the water’s edge for a longer hike (and a challenging route all the way back up) or you can finish at Portuguese Bend with a stellar view, before turning back around. We like to take Ishbashi Trail back up for a change of scenery, which spits you out right by the porta-john again. Bonus Tip: Visit this trail in March and April for the most beautiful yellow wildflowers you’ll ever see. It feels like a completely different world when you go this time of year!
4. Forrestal Preserve, Palos Verdes:
Distance: About 3 Miles, loop trail
Featured Pups: Marty the Bully and Banjo “Banjito” The Brown Dog
I think this is one of PV’s best kept secrets when it comes to hiking! You can actually see these trails from Portuguese Bend, but I never knew how to get to them before…so I was excited to try them out one morning with my neighbor, Lauren, and her pup, Banjo. There are actually two separate trailheads for this hike. We parked at the Ladera Linda Community Center and crossed the street where the trailhead is easily marked. From here, the trail splits left to Quarry Trail and right to Pirates Trail. Although Pirates Trail is pretty dang steep and will have your muscles warmed up in no time (read as: you will be out of breath immediately), the views are awesome and there are some really cool parts of the trail. If you decide not to go up Pirates Trail, take it on your way down instead. The trail from here (which turns into Flying Mane Trail) is really easy to follow and splits one more time on a downhill into Canyon Trail and Fossil Trail. This is another loop which will eventually lead you to the other trailhead. You’ll reach this trailhead if you pass the Ladera Linda Community Center and just continue down the road until it ends. There’s plenty of street parking. I loved this part of the trail because there are a few smaller offshoot trails in this area and the views are awweesomeeee. We had the dogs off-leash the entire hike because we only ran into one other person (a trail runner) the entire time! If you decide you want to make your hike a little longer, you can actually cross over to Portuguese Bend and continue through the PV Nature Preserve. Other than parts of Pirates Trail, this hike is not shaded. I love this Preserve because the views of the Pacific and Catalina Island are constantly there, it has a nice mix of ascents and descents, and the dogs were so freaking happy the whole way through! I think this is one of my new favorites!
And there you have it: four new trails to try out with your four-legged friends! No matter where you live, I recommend downloading the AllTrails App to find some fun, new trails around you and to get you outside. The App makes it easy to set your location and apply filters like Difficulty Level, Distance, Trail Traffic, Route Type, and What To See. You can mark which trails you’ve completed and leave reviews and photos for future hikers too. It’s becoming my new favorite app, for sure!