Friday, February 3, 2012

Take your Pup to the Park!

Hollywood’s Best Dog Parks

If you have a pup and want to get out and about in Hollywood, there are some great dog parks in the local area. It took us a while to find the best ones, so here's a quick rundown (all parks personally vetted by Katie the golden retriever!)

Lake Hollywood Park
3200 Canyon Lake Drive, Hollywood, CA, 90027

I’m almost loath to disclose the location of our local dog park because this is one of Hollywood’s hidden gems. Tucked away at the bottom of the Hollywood hills with an incredible view of the Hollywood sign, this park is a firm favorite among nearby residents. It is officially an on-leash park, although few visitors pay attention to that rule and most of the dogs run around freely. There’s plenty of lush green grass for pups to play on, a few picnic tables and benches for owners, and even a small children’s play area with playground equipment for the kids. The park has a water fountain and plenty of dog waste bins, but there are no bags or scoops, so make sure you bring your own. The biggest disadvantage to Lake Hollywood is that the park is not completely fenced in. Most owners don’t have an issue with this, but if your dog has a tendency to ignore commands there is little to stop him from galloping onto Canyon Lake Drive. Parking is street only and can be a little tricky during tourist season when everyone is trying to snap pictures of the Hollywood sign.

Pros: Great view of Hollywood sign! Quiet; friendly; clean.

Cons: Not fenced in; no parking lot; no small/timid dog area

Katie’s verdict: Four and a half bones out of five

Laurel Canyon Dog Park
8260 Mulholland Drive, Hollywood, CA, 90046

Laurel Canyon is a favorite among professional Hollywood dog walkers, so the park can get fairly busy at peak times. However, the main off-leash area is huge, and is rarely too crowded to be enjoyable. The park is fully enclosed and well stocked with dog waste bins, a water fountain, and plenty of scoops. There are lots of picnic tables and a good few trees to provide shade for the dogs. It’s not as picturesque as some of the parks we’ve visited in the area; the ground is mostly dirt where the grass has been worn away and the park has that pervasive dog pee odor that is to be expected at such a popular place. We have also had a couple of negative encounters with aggressive dogs here and would advise owners with unspayed male pups to steer clear (or at least stick to the small/timid dog area). One final local tip – the park is cleaned on Friday mornings, so if you want to experience it at its finest, head over as soon as your boss lets you out of the office for the weekend.

Pros: Huge main off-leash area; well-equipped; small/timid dog area; safely enclosed; small children’s play area

Cons: Small parking lot; park can be crowded; occasional aggressive dogs

Katie’s verdict: Three bones out of five

Runyan Canyon Park
2000 N. Fuller Drive, Hollywood, CA, 90046

Runyan Canyon is not so much a dog park as a collection of hiking trails, some of which are off-leash. Frequented by the fittest, leanest joggers in Los Angeles, this park will whip you into shape in no time if you decide to step up the pace and take your pup for a run. For those who prefer to relax at a gentler pace, the trail to the off-leash area is by no means strenuous, and the walk is well worth it for the spectacular views. Smog permitting, you can see Griffith Park Observatory, the Hollywood sign, and the whole of downtown Los Angeles. Be careful with undisciplined dogs, because there are steep cliffs here with little to prevent enthusiastic pups from skidding over the edge. Water is provided at the entrance to the park, but if you are planning on a lengthy hike, make sure you bring your own. Some of the trails have loose gravel and are not suitable for those who have difficulty walking. Do yourself a favor and bring your pup here for a sunset picnic – we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Pros: Beautiful views; good exercise; off-leash area

Cons: Not much shade; small parking lot; steep cliffs

Katie’s verdict: Four bones out of five

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