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Angeles National Forest, California – Best Dog Friendly Trails


November 11, 2017

Dog Friendly Trails At Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest

A Backyard Wonderland Just Waiting To Be Explored

Want to find the best dog friendly hikes in Los Angeles? Take your dog to Angeles National Forest!

You couldn’t call yourself a local if you haven’t been on one of these trails in the Angeles National Forest! It only takes a short drive from home to find yourself far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday Los Angeles life. 

Angeles National Forest includes much of the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains, 176 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and 5 wilderness areas; Cucamonga Wilderness, Magic Mountain Wilderness, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, San Gabriel Wilderness and Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

Dogs are allowed on trails and campgrounds, but should be kept on leash and up-to-date on vaccines.


See our full list of Dog Friendly Outdoor Adventure Guides made just for dog owners. We give you everything you need to plan your next adventure outing with your dog right at your fingertips. We also pick the best dog friendly trails for you! These destination guides are invaluable one-stop source of information if you have a dog!



Consider purchasing an Adventure Pass that will give you year-long access to several areas. You can purchase an adventure pass online, at any large sporting goods store or at a recognized vendor. Daily passes are $5. Annual passes are $30.

You should also check for last minute notices or closures in the area. There are many trails to consider in the Angeles National Forest. Instead of trying to pick one for you and your dog – we’ve done it for you. Here is our take on the most popular, must-do hikes and adventure hikes you and your dog will love!



These are our top three must-do hikes in the Angeles National Forest. Parking is easy, trails are well-marked and well-populated (you won’t get lost!), and they are easy enough to do from a 30 minute quick hike to a whole day of play.

Switzer Falls


Out of all the trails in the Angeles National Forest, this is the one most have been to because it’s so accessible and easy. You also get the bonus of hiking near the water, multiple stream crossings, swimming areas, and a 50 foot waterfall to enjoy at the end.

The 4-7 mile RT trail gets busy with hikers and mountain bikers, so come early. Drive to the parking lot area off the Angeles Crest Highway 2 at 701 Angeles Crest Hwy, Tujunga, CA 91042 (GPS Coordinates 34.268920, – 118.146247 Map).

You will want to start your hike at the Gabrieleno Trail near the second parking lot farther down at Switzer Picnic Area. The trail splits off on the left to Bear Canyon Trail and descends and steers right just before you get to Switzer Falls. If you continue farther down the canyon toward Bear Creek you will find some swimming holes. Farther down is the Bear Canyon Trail Camp.

Cooper Canyon Falls Trail


This is a great day-hike, with camping options at Buckhorn Campground or Cooper Canyon Campground nearby. To get to the trail, park at Buckhorn Campground and find Buckhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls (GPS Coordinates 34.347518, -117.911058 Map)

The trail is 3 miles RT and you’ll see a small waterfall at the end. Look for a rope for an easy way down to the bottom of the waterfall, or you will have to climb down carefully with your dog. Stop, relax, have a picnic and play with your dog in the water!

Chantry Flat Trail or Mt. Wilson Trail to Mt. Wilson Observatory


Mt. Wilson is popular among hikers. There are several ways to Mt. Wilson. Chantry Flats is probably the most popular option since there is a large parking lot, which fills up fast on weekends. (GPS Coordinates 34.196228,-118.023271 Map) Big Santa Anita website provides a great map and information about the Chantry Flats / Mt. Wilson area.

The Chantry Flats loop starts at Gabrieleno Trail, to Sturtevant Trail (with optional small detour to Sturtevant Falls), past Sturtevant Camp and then to the Observatory. There are many options on the way back, but if you want to see the east side head back down Old Mt. Wilson Toll Road toward Sierra Madre, Mt. Wilson Trail / Manzanita Trail, and then opt to take the Lower Winter Creek Trail (instead of Upper Winter Creek Trail) with 1/2 mile climb back to the parking lot.

If you don’t want to start from Chantry Flats, you can take a less crowded Mt. Wilson Trail which is about 14 miles out and back to Mt. Wilson Observatory. Drive to 189 E Mira Monte Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024 and park by the side of the road. (GPS Coordinates 34.1694489, -118.0483716 Map) The trailhead starts just behind Lizzie’s Trail Inn.



Want to go on an adventure hike? These are higher elevation hikes that will take you to the summit of some amazing peaks for a breathtaking view of Los Angeles. Make sure you and your dog are conditioned for these hikes, especially at higher elevations. Some trails look out to steep cliffs, so your dog should be very reliable on leash and responds well to voice commands.

Vincent Gap to Mt. Baden-Powell


The USDA Forest Service rates Mt. Baden-Powell (9,399 elevation) as a moderate to strenuous 8 mile out and back hike due to a lot of switchbacks and quick elevation gain. To get there, drive and park at Vincent Gap (GPS Coordinates 34.373611, -117.752281 Map).

Take the Pacific Crest Trail from the parking lot all the way up, past the 1,500 year old Wally Waldron tree and then to the top Mt. Baden-Powell where you’ll see an awesome view of Mt. Baldy in the distance.

Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio)


Mt. Baldy (10,064 elevation), also known as Mt. San Antonio, is the highest peak  in the San Gabriel Mountains. There are many ways to get to Mt. Baldy so choose the path best for your and your dog. Check the weather report to see how conditions are before you head out. Definitely go elsewhere if there is too much snow, ice and wind.

For an 11-12 mile loop hike, head past Manker Campground and park along Mt. Baldy Road near the intersection of Falls Rd (GPS Coordinates 34.2662659, -117.6268521 Map). Walk up Falls Rd until you see San Antonio Falls. Then, veer right up the road again and turn on to a trail that leads up. This is the Ski Hut Trail / Baldy Bowl Trail. Continue on up, past San Antonio Ski Hut, until you get to the top of Mt. Baldy.

When you are ready to go back, head east to Devil’s Backbone. The trail will be steep in many areas, so make sure your dog is reliable on leash. Devils Backbone will bring you down to Baldy Notch near Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts and then it’s a 3-4 mile walk down the road back to your car.

Pawtivity Members Also Like: Mt. Islip

It’s always debatable which trails are the best for dogs. We always like a bit of water, some challenge, awesome views, and areas to explore. Which trail did you go on and what would you recommend to others with dogs?

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Location: Los Angeles, CA  |  California
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping

About the Author

Life is an endless journey with a dog at your side. Find your next dog friendly adventure on Pawtivity!  We are a community that inspires and captures the stories of our dogs.

Instagram @pawtivity

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