Dog-friendly Wilacre Park's 128 acres lie within the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Center, and its chaparral-covered hillsides contain 2 trails within the park, with connections to other trails in the system with Fryman Canyon, Coldwater Canyon and Franklin Canyon Parks. Wilacre's trails are the Betty B. Dearing Trail at 2.8 miles, and the U-Vanu Trail at 2.4 miles, connecting with the Dearing Mountain Trail at 2.7 miles. Together, they form a large loop through various landscapes and a residential neighborhood of impressive homes.
The Betty B. Dearing Trail arises from the parking area, which features restrooms, drinkable water and waste bags for Fido. After a moderate uphill climb, the trail evens out along a ridge and affords furtastic views of the San Fernando Valley and Studio City below. Wildflowers abound on this trail, and a rocky, seasonal creek makes its appearance from time to time. As the trail winds through trees and brush, it connects with the U-Van Trail which continues the loop. It's also at this point that the Betty B. Dearing Trail continues south to connect with the Coldwater Canyon and Fryman Canyon Park Trails.
Heading east on the U-Van Trail, you'll encounter wildlife, including deer and diminutive quail, along with reptiles and arachnids. Birds are abundant here, with hawks and other raptors soaring on the thermals, and songbirds and other species that nest in the chaparral and trees along the path. Several spots on the trail provide pawrfect photo opportunities of the Gene Autry Ridge in the distance and the valley in between.
The Dearing Mountain Trail begins in Wilacre Park, but quickly heads south to the Fryman Canyon on its mostly wide, dirt trail and initial steep incline. The out-and-back trail narrows at some points and can be challenging, featuring shade and many side trails to try. Although cut through residential neighborhoods, the trail is peaceful and secluded, and offers scenic views and vegetation.
Whether you and your fur-pup hike only the trails within Wilacre Park, or venture outward to some of the other nearby canyons, you'll find something to love in this recreation area!