Tuna Canyon Park lies amid the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Pacific, and its mostly fire road trails are hidden among the sycamore and oak trees, along with sage scrub and grassland dotted with exquisite wildflowers. Parking is along the Tuna Canyon Road, a winding, hairpin turn and blind driveway route that requires caution. The unmarked Main Entrance Trail, a short, slightly steep 500 feet long, leads to a "T" in the road. If you go right, the Big Rock Motorway leads to a fork in the road where you can choose a gentle climb leading to a sandy hilltop featuring a 360-degree panorama that includes Downtown LA, the long curve of Malibu Beach and Catalina Island. The flat surface here is perfect for a picnic, a bit of yoga, or just a contemplative sit.
If you take a left at the fork, you'll climb the more strenuous Budwood Motorway trail, an uphill hike where you'll encounter a massive oak tree and a bench facing out to sea at the top. Along the way, in the spring and fall, you might spy monarch butterflies flitting among the eucalyptus trees on their north or south migrations. Passing beyond the oak is a stone labyrinth like those used for walking meditations, but relaxing for anyone who tries it.
A side spur off Big Rock, called Big Rock Lateral, will lead you to small dead end canyons, and a dirt single track path extending from the south end of Budwood takes you down an extra, very steep 3-mile slope to the Pacific Coast Highway. If you opt to take this last hike, though, be sure you have a way to get back to Tuna Canyon Road and your vehicle.
Tuna Canyon's Trails are pawrfect for a hike with your furry bestie: not too strenuous, but full of sensory adventure to keep Fido busy, and well-placed rest stops for both of you!
Rattlesnakes sometimes sunbathe on the trails, so keep an eye ahead and give them plenty of room to retreat. Stay on the trail to avoid startling a snake or being preyed upon by ticks lurking along the path. Long pants will help, and will also protect you from poison oak that grows nearby. There is little shade on the trail, so be sure to come prepared with sunscreen and a hat, along with plenty of water for you and your fur-pup.