Red Rock Canyon Park is a hidden gem north of Los Angeles that is home to two main hiking trails, Red Rock Trail and Calabasas Peak Trail, in addition to a few additional spur routes and offshoot trails to scenic vistas. To get from the Red Rock trailhead to the mountain peak is 2.3 miles one-way. From the Red Rock trailhead to the intersection with the Calabasas Peak Trail is 1.2 miles. The entire length of the Calabasas Peak Trail, which begins and ends at points beyond the trailhead on Red Rock Road, is 3.5 miles. Starting at Red Rock Canyon Park means you'll pay $5 for parking, but will have access to amenities including toilets, doggie waste bags, and running water.
Whatever trails you take, the scenery is gorgeous. The red sandstone from which the park gets its name will make you feel like you're in the Southwest instead of just a short drive from downtown Los Angeles. Among the rocks, there's much to explore, including caves and interesting rock formations. In some spots, you can even see fossils of shells from the era when this was an inland sea. Get in touch with your inner explorer here—your dog definitely will! A leash is required, which is good, because there are many opportunities for your dog to run off into a cave or down a gully and out of sight.
Much of the hike takes place under full sun exposure, but there are many shady spots along the way where you can stop for a rest or a picnic lunch. Oak and sycamore trees provide shade at lower elevations, and elsewhere the rocks themselves provide peaceful nooks for rest and contemplation. Wildflowers that grow through the canyon include laurel sumac, toyon, California lilacs, mountain mahogany, and bush sunflowers.
Like a good character actor, this trail doesn't get top billing but offers a more complex experience than many better-known area trails. Come to this hidden gem with your pup to escape the L.A. crowds and discover a wonderland of natural beauty.