Hiking With Dog Friendly SoCal

My husband and I, and our two dogs, just recently moved back home to sunny Southern California. While my husband and I have spent most of our lives here, our dogs have only known life in the Midwest. I cannot wait to get them out more on the beach, on the area’s many trails, and up into the mountains.

dogs smiling on hike
These dogs are living the California dream.

Before we moved, I began looking up dog-friendly things to do in the area which led me to find Dog Friendly SoCal on Instagram. The group shares dog-friendly hiking trails, camping spots, and SUP spots. I about passed out with joy upon reading the latter. These were my type of people.

Along with sharing, Dog Friendly SoCal also has a Meetup group that has planned hikes almost weekly! I reached out to them and asked if I could join them on a hike to get photos for Coop & You β€” and also to scout out how my own dogs would do on a hike. They invited me to join them on hike of Hellhole Canyon Preserve near Escondido that they themselves were trying out to see if it would be suitable for a Meetup event with a larger group of dogs.

woman and dog on hike overlooking mountains and a valley
These views made this challenging hike well worth it.

We met at 9 a.m. at Hellhole Canyon Preserve and then off we went with four pups in tow (well, more like leading) on the Paradise Mountain Loop trail.

The elevation gain on this hike and its steeper sections gave me a much needed reminder that my time in the less-mountainous Midwest has left me sorely out of shape when it comes to inclines. While I completed the eight-mile hike up and down steep, rocky terrain, there were a few moments in which I questioned my sanity at making this my first foray back into hiking in SoCal.

The hike also served as a reminder that my own dogs need better training before jumping into a more challenging hike like that. Both of our pups like to pull β€” one to get where he is going, the other out of fear and a desire to get back to the car. A dog pulling you too hard down the steeper sections could definitely result in injury.

dogs walking on hike
Tails up, onward to adventure!

Luckily, all of the dogs on our hike were amazing and hiking pros. True adventure dogs, happy to be out on the trail and spending the day with their favorite people.

The full loop took us about five hours to complete β€” a perfect way to tire out your dogs, and yourself. Though, I’m sure every dog on that trail was ready for another adventure as soon as they got home.

If you have dogs and enjoy getting out in nature, I highly recommend following Dog Friendly SoCal on Instagram for ideas, and if you’re looking for others to hike and adventure with, join their Meetup group! I cannot wait to take Coop and Fidus with us on a future hike they plan.

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