How to Upgrade Your Pup’s Dog Park Experience in L.A.

Your dog deserves better than a fenced-in dirt lot

Dog parks don’t have to be synonymous with a patch of dusty earth confined within a depressing chain-link fence—although a quick survey of Los Angeles’s pooch-friendly playgrounds might have you thinking otherwise.

Consider a real estate upgrade by taking your buddy to Lake Hollywood Park, a grassy oasis situated nearly 500 feet above the city (and within perfect-picture range of the Hollywood Sign). The unexpected expanse of green is a draw, thanks to its impressive views of the skyline and the Hollywood Reservoir—even the ocean on clear days. Chances are you’ll see a lot of dogs joyfully zooming across the field, unfettered by a leash, but follow suit at your own risk: The whole no-leash thing technically isn’t allowed, and city park rangers have been known to ticket.

If you’ve got a dog who’s more partial to hiking trails than open fields, keep it classic with a visit to nearby Runyon Canyon, the only legal off-leash trail in L.A. Head east for even more options: Ernest E. Debs Regional Park offers an extensive network of broad trails for people and pups, while the 5.8-mile Beaudry Loop in the southern Verdugo Mountains provides a solid workout and stunning panoramas of the city.

Almost the entirety of the larger, more rugged San Gabriel Mountains is open to on-leash dogs, too—the 5.9 miles out and back to Henninger Flats, right above popular Eaton Canyon in Pasadena,will take you up the front range to a shaded picnic and campground area. The sprawling trail system in Big Santa Anita Canyon has a variety of hikes for people and canines of various abilities, not to mention year-round water and cover from the sun (a welcome respite in the hot summer months).

As for wave-runners, there’s Long Beach’s Rosie’s Dog Beach, the county’s sole slice of sand that doesn’t require you to pack a lead. Spend a few hours romping in the surf, then hightail it to nearby Gallagher’s Pub & Grill, where you can kick back with a stuffed cheeseburger and a brew on the outdoor patio (just make sure to toss a tater tot or ten under the table for your doggo).

RELATED: It’s Time You Took a Walk Around the Hollywood Reservoir

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