Dog Walking

Dogsare a traveling species, and as such a daily walk with your canine is important for maintaining his or her well-being-and yours. To help in that endeavor, Mountaineers Books recently published Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California, by Allen Riedel, which offers myriad treks for you and your pooch to explore-from the Central Coast to San Diego.

The trails highlighted were “carefully selected to provide the most hiking enjoyment for you and your dog,” writes Riedel. “Most are very scenic but less frequented than many of the more popular hikes.” Riedel gives the 4*1*1 on each hike, such as miles roundtrip, hiking time, elevation, best season to hike said trail, difficulty, paw comfort, which map to use, and contact info. There is also a hike summary table at the front of the book that indicates which trails allow off-leash, whether or not it’s good for senior dogs, and if there are shade and water.

For Santa Barbara County, 10 hikes are mentioned, ranging from adventurous to leisurely strolls. For example, a North County hike to Point Sal State Beach is a 10-mile roundtrip and takes five hours. Riedel gives a detailed description of what to expect: “The hike is a kicker. It is a tough piece of work to get in and out of the beach. The path follows eroded Point Sal Road 800 feet up the mountainside, and you gain most of that elevation in a little over a mile’s distance.”

If an amble is more your thing, head to La Pur-sima Mission State Historic Park. There are miles of shady, well-marked trails and “you can truly get a sense of what life might have been like two centuries ago while strolling around the nearly 1,000 square acres of state park,” writes Riedel. And, of course, dogs are allowed on all trails and the mission grounds.

Riedel also gives gobs of helpful tips for hiking with your pet, including citing potential dangers to your doggie (e.g., overheating, rattlesnakes, rough trails for paws) as well as a list of first aid kit items to carry for your four-legged pal. Happy traveling!


Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California ($16.95). Visit Visit


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