More big news in Finn’s world, we’re back in Los Angeles. Because of a few things out of Finn’s control it just wasn’t working out so we decided to come back to the land of Sun with a new plan to take advantage of all the things we neglected in the past. That means lots of beach visits, enjoying cool new restaurants, seeing friends, and checking out LA’s mountains for some good hikes. And what better kickoff to these hikes than Runyon Canyon Park, considered by many to be the premiere place to view Los Angeles while still feeling like an escape.
Runyon Canyon is a massive, 134 acre, hiking trail and park located in the Hollywood hills between Hollywood boulevard and Mulholland Drive. Parking is a hassle on the southern side (street parking is available all around the Fuller St. entrance, a small lot sits near the trail head at the Mulholland entrance) and can add a mile to a hike if you go at a busy time. The off-leash area, which is signed but functions essentially as anything inside the main gates, is packed with people from dawn until dusk and there are loads of dogs around. Personally I keep Finn on a leash when we are there simply because he is excitable and I worry that he’ll go scampering off down a slope that is too steep for a chase, or he’ll find some wildlife that I don’t want to save him from. As you can see from the picture below (taken of the west trail from the eastern trail) the path is fine but there is a lot of area in the park that you do NOT want a pet going.
That being said, the park is gorgeous. The western side has a paved service road that is almost entirely off leash. The eastern path (above) is an unpaved trail that winds up the side of the hill and provides some great lookouts of L.A. The two do meet up for a total hike that is about 3-4 miles of off leash excitement. More trails at the top of the hill attach the off leash area to the Mullholland entrance (which does have some limited parking).
The park caters to dogs and dog owners and there are plenty of water stops at the base of the trails and a few along the way. You do have to bring your own bags though, the park does not provide any and is notorious for being a “toilet” thanks to the off leash nature and some irresponsible pet owners.
There are some picnic tables and a garden by the Fuller entrance where you can catch your breath after a long hike and along the trail benches and well positioned rocks provide a place to sit (albeit unshaded) to admire the scenery.