The trail network in Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park is a pawsome resource for dog lovers in Los Angeles. The park includes over ten miles of dog-friendly trails through 1500 acres of open land in the Santa Monica Mountains. Not only will the Westridge Trail—also known as the West Mandeville Fire Road—and the Upper and Lower Canyonback Trails treat you and your dog to gorgeous scenery and a good aerobic challenge, you can hike all of them leash-free!
With a little over 700 feet of elevation gain, the main Westridge Trail provides the park's most challenging hike. At 7.5 miles round trip, it takes between four and five hours to complete. In addition to the mountain scenery and panoramic views of the L.A. city skyline, the sights along the Westridge Trail include an abandoned Nike missile defense site that was active during the Cold War. Informational plaques provide the history of this interesting place.
For a shorter hike, you can take one of the branches of the Canyonback Trail. The once-connected Upper and Lower Canyonback Trails were split up by the private Mountaingate development in 2006. The Upper Canyonback Trail is a three-mile round-trip hike along a mountain ridge with only 200 feet of elevation gain, making it the park's shortest hike at just under two hours. This accessible trail is so pupular that some people say more dogs than people use it! The Lower Canyonback Trail is four-miles round-trip with 500 feet of elevation gain. Both trails feature views of undulating mountain ridges, chaparral plants, and wildflowers.
The Westridge and Upper Canyonback Trails have separate trailheads about a mile apart from one another off of Mulholland Drive. There's also a southern trailhead for the Westridge Trail off of Westridge Road. The Lower Canyonback Trail starts at a trailhead on North Kenter Avenue. If you turn off of Sunset Boulevard onto North Kenter Avenue, the trailhead is just over two miles north.
You will need to bring your own waste bags and water for your hikes on the Westridge-Canyonback trails. Also be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. The hikes are almost completely devoid of shade. To avoid having either you or your dog overheat on the trails, it's best to do these hikes in the early morning or late afternoon, on overcast days, or during cooler times of the year. And if you want to hike without a leash, make sure your dog is well-behaved and responds to your vocal commands.
Come to Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park to experience the rare treat of a leash-free hike in Los Angeles. Your dog will thank you with a wagging tail and a smile!