• Wed. May 29th, 2024

10 Dog-Friendly Trails in Orange County, CA (2023 Update)


May 3, 2023
Black and brown Australian Shepherd dog on leash on the Pacific Crest hiking trail near Ashland


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Black and brown Australian Shepherd dog on leash on the Pacific Crest hiking trail near Ashland

Finding dog-friendly trails in highly populated areas like Orange County can be difficult. Thankfully, Orange County has a lot to offer dog owners looking to explore with their pups. If you’re eager to hit the ground running on some hiking trails, we have you covered. From strenuous hikes to laid-back strolls, this list has something for everyone.


The 10 Dog-Friendly Trails in Orange County, CA

1. Black Star Canyon Trail

  • Includes private parking and street parking
  • 7-mile round trip that reaches an elevation of 800 feet
  • Beginner hikers and children are not recommended to take this trail
  • Beautiful scenery surrounds the entire trip

2. Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail

  • All dogs must be on a leash
  • 7-mile trail takes over 2 hours to complete
  • Wheelchairs, strollers, and bikes allowed
  • Scenic views are breathtaking
  • Many steep inclines, so be ready for a challenge

3. Peters Canyon Regional Park


  • Great for kids and dogs
  • Can park on the street or in the private lot
  • Landscape is varied, including flat walks and steep inclines
  • As a loop, the trail is about 6 miles long
  • A great trail to enjoy nature

4. San Clemente Beach


  • Spectacular view of the California shoreline
  • Near a town with amenities
  • Parts of the trail are ADA accessible
  • No motorized vehicles allowed
  • Leashes must be 6 feet or shorter

5. Salt Creek Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
🕐 Open Times: 6:00 AM–8:30 PM each day
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Connects two public parks
  • Along the trail, you’ll find a skatepark and a community center
  • Trail is made of asphalt
  • Difficult trail for experienced hikers
  • Nearly 6 miles long

6. Shady Canyon Trail

🗺️ Address: 📍 Irvine, CA
🕐 Open Times: Open year-round
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Trail is excellent for children
  • Whether you drive or ride your bike to the trail, parking is available
  • Certain areas are paved, while others are dirt
  • For first-time hikers, this is a great trail
  • Views are remarkable

7. Back Bay Loop Trail

  • Multiple entry points
  • Nearly 11 miles of trail
  • Plenty of opportunities for scenic stops
  • Parks, nature centers, and libraries are along the walking path

8. Fairview Park

  • An excellent spot for kids to visit
  • Sunset at this park offers an incredible view
  • Includes private parking and bathroom facilities
  • Dog waste bags are available

9. Sturtevant Falls

🗺️ Address: 📍 California
🕐 Open Times: 6:00 AM–8:00 PM each day
💲 Cost: $5 vehicle entrance fee
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Great spot for kids
  • Includes private parking, street parking, garage parking, and bike parking
  • Waterfall provides a spectacular view
  • Insect repellent is essential in summer

10. Anaheim Coves

🗺️ Address: 📍Anaheim, CA 92806
🕐 Open Times: Dawn to dusk each day
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Street parking, bike parking, and private parking are available
  • A perfect trail for a stroll or a bike ride
  • Offers a serene escape from the bustling city life
  • Ideal for birdwatching



We hope this list has given you some ideas of hiking trails you can explore with your dog. Before visiting any trail, remember to review their posted rules since many trails require your dog to be leashed. Bring plenty of water for yourself and your dog, and don’t forget to take breaks as needed.

Featured Image Credit: thatrogersfamily, Shutterstock

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