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Runyon Canyon may be Sparky's favorite spot to see and be seen, but the hordes of people (not…

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Runyon Canyon may be Sparky’s favorite spot to see and be seen, but the hordes of people (not to mention the lurking pawparazzi), can really put a damper on things. Bark up a different tree by heading to a much less crowded dog-friendly hike that’s just a 15-minute drive up Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Keep your cool with a down-and-back 3-mile (round-trip) hike in Fryman Canyon. The Betty B. Dearing Trail hugs the north side of the mountain, offering plenty of shade even during the dog days of summer. Park in the small lot just off Mulholland Drive, at the Nancy Pohl Scenic Overlook, where you’ll get a wildflower-studded view of Studio City. Then head down the Betty B. Dearing Trail. Take a left at the first fork to stay on the switchback. You’ll pass a creek filled with vocal frogs sounding their late spring mating calls. There’s also an old half-buried Jeep found to the right of the trail—rumor has it this car flew off of Mulholland while speeding around its famously dangerous curves. It’s a brief uphill before the final descent into a shaded gully—known as the “rainforest.” Picnic on one of the fallen trees in this quiet spot and watch Sparky play in the stream. When you’re ready, head back the way you came … on the upswing this time.

BONUS: Instead of turning around at the “rainforest” gully, you can continue on to the Rainforest Trail, adding another 2 miles (round-trip) to your hike.

From Laurel Canyon Blvd., head west on Mulholland. (Note: For a shortcut from the south, heading north on Laurel Canyon Blvd., turn left onto Lookout Mountain Ave., right onto Laurel Pass Ave., then left onto Mulholland.) The paved parking lot for the Nancy Hoover Pohl Scenic Overlook will be on your right. When the small, free parking lot is full, additional street parking is available nearby. Dog-friendly!

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