Hiking in the Santa Monica area is some of the best in Los Angeles County. People always ask us where they can take their dog hiking on the Westside. This is our answer; The Westridge Canyonback Wilderness Park. The trail head for this hike start 20 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. To get there, go to Mandelville Canyon Rd. which is west of the 405 near Paul Revere Elementary. Take Mandeville Canyon Rd. north. The first road on your left is Westridge Rd. Turn left on Westridge Rd. and drive up hill until it dead ends. The parking lot is small and can be crowded on the weekends. Park on the street if this is the case.
This is a great hike if you have dogs. Lots of hiking in the Los Angeles area allows you to bring your dog but this one is different because it is one of a few parks that permits you to let you take your dog off the leash. Because of this dog owners from the westside bring their canine friends here for casual walks, trail running and even mountain biking. The trail is a well groomed fire road with lots of space for everyone. This trail is used a lot and the people. All the animals we encountered were very friendly. It is a great hike to bring your dog or friends from out of town. It is also a great work out. From the trail head its 3.5 miles mostly up hill and then back.
At the start of the hike one is graced with some really nice views of the Santa Monica bay and LA Basin. A mile or so in, one hikes parallel to Sullivan Canyon to the west. Its a great representation on the wide open spaces the Santa Monica Mts. offer just 5 miles from the hustle and bustle of the big city. No matter how many times we hike in this region we are always amazed how quiet it is. The trail for the most part winds though the Santa Monica Mts. in it’s natural state. The trail is not shaded however. The day we went it was mostly cloudy and offered relief from the sun and heat. It the heat of summer I could see this trail being pretty hot. Make sure you bring plenty of water for yourself and your pet.
Somewhere around 3 miles into the hike one can see the finish. An abandoned Nike Missle Site. The site is called LA96C. It was a military run installation in the 50’s. The city now maintains the property and allows visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with a peice of history. The Nike Missle was an anti missle and aircraft defense system focused on protecting the mainland from cold war threats. Since the the 70’s it has been abandoned and all the locations have been destroyed. This place in particular is special because not only was it presserved but it can be visited. In addition to the history the views from the top of the tower are spectacular. The Encino Reservoir sits to the north and sprawling views of the valley remind you how large city is.
This hike is highly recommended for anyone on the Westside and is totally worth the drive if one likes to take their dog on hikes. The people are very friendly who come here and it offers a quiet, natural sanctuary just 10 minutes s from the hustle and bustle. This hike could be useful for many reasons. You could make this full day hike if you wanted, with a picnic at the Missle Site. You can do this one after work with your dog or strap on your trail running shoes and really bomb up this one. We here at Hikes You Can do strive to bring you all the information you need when looking for a hike in the Los Angeles area. We hope this has inspired you to go out and check out the Santa Monica Dog Hike in the Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park in the Santa Monica Mts.
If you have a hike that you think we should feature on the site contact us and we will get back to you right away. For more information on this hike and many other hikes you can do in Los Angeles, visit; http://www.losangeleshikingguide.hikesyoucando.com