With Los Angeles County being best known for its cityscape and industrial aesthetic, you wouldn’t expect to find wide open dog-friendly areas full of beautiful nature, would you? When exploring the town, not everyone wants to hike with their pup right near a busy street. And you don’t have to—situated amidst the paved metropolis is a little slice of natural paradise known as Eaton Canyon.
The Eaton Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center can be found on North Altadena Drive in Pasadena, which may sound like an unlikely spot. However, an even bigger surprise is the pot of gold at the end of the park’s hiking trail—a gorgeous 40-foot-tall waterfall that drops into a wading pool. And best of all? This park is completely dog friendly.
A personal favorite hike of mine, this local secret spot opens with about a 1-mile trek on a wide dirt pathway, with greenery and trees on either side providing shade during the summer months. Now, the beginning of the hike may not appear interesting (although your dog’s nose will likely disagree), but this section of the hike is quickly followed by a very exciting and adventurous 0.65 miles of single track up a narrow canyon. Jumping on rocks and crossing very shallow streams, you and your pup will feel like you’ve stepped into something out of an Indiana Jones film!
At the end of your hike, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a beautiful waterfall opening up before you and your pup. In the warmer months, you’ll often find other visitors playing in the water (and their dogs, too!). This park is a lovely 3.5-mile round trip escape from the bustling city that is still located near some of the iconic Pasadena landmarks for those who would like to spend a day there (might as well go sightseeing, right?).
Do keep in mind that while an amateur hiker can probably handle the terrain on this hike without too much trouble, there is a 375-foot elevation change during the duration of the hike—which, in my opinion, changes the temperature rather abruptly. So be prepared!
As is common with most parks, dogs must be kept on leash and in control at all times. This isn’t just a suggestion … you will be ticketed if a ranger sees your dog running free. Remember, leash laws exist for a reason: to protect your pup! There is wildlife on the trail, and you don’t want your dog messing with any critters or disturbing a natural area.
As is common with most parks, dogs must be kept on leash and in control at all times. This isn’t just a suggestion … you will be ticketed if a ranger sees your dog running free.
So check out Pasadena’s Eaton Canyon for a fun-filled day out in nature with your dog, right here in Los Angeles County.
Trail users are encouraged to check the Trails LA County website — https://trails.lacounty.gov/ — prior to visiting trails for updated lists of open trails, safety guidelines, notifications, and up-to-date information. The trail’s website offers information for over 600 miles of trails, including trails managed by partner agencies that residents can visit to experience the wonderful outdoors. https://parks.lacounty.gov/eaton-canyon-natural-area-and-nature-center/