Overnight dog friendly hiking trip?
December 21, 2012 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Where can myself, a friend, and our dogs go for a sweet overnight trip near LA next week? We'd like to do some hiking and some casual beer drinking, and we'd like to be able to get a cheap hotel room and not drive more than 3 hours or so. Also, although we're both in good shape, his dog is 12 years old and mine is a wimpy shih tzu so the hike should be fairly easy and would ideally have some access to water. I think it's too cold to camp, but if there's somewhere warmish we're open to that. Lay it on me, mefi!
posted by justjess to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Slab City! (Also at Salon, Time, a rather grim picture at the NY Times, & Slab City's own locally-produced news.) If hiking in a seemingly post-apocalyptic off-the-grid community in the desert not far from a failed resort town on the shores of the Salton Sea sounds like a good idea, that is. It's about three hours from LA, and what it lacks in amenities, it by far makes up for in terms of getting to drop in on a world that may be foreign to you but is, more or less, in your backyard. There are lots of folks, some friendly, some nuts, some both, to share beer with. Stop by the art garden at East Jesus (these are some folks I'd recommend stopping to share a beer with most of all), climb around Salvation Mountain, and take an after-dark dip in the hotsprings. You can camp out there easily, but you should bring your own provisions, including food and water. There are also a couple motels in Niland. Slab City throws a fantastic NYE party, for what it's worth.
posted by tapir-whorf at 11:29 PM on December 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

I can affirm that the Slab City/East Jesus areas are amazing, but 1) do NOT show up unannounced after dark and 2) the desert gets incredibly cold at night; prepare accordingly.

Have fun and stay warm!
posted by Space Kitty at 12:15 AM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by ambient2 at 12:48 AM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Ojai if only because you can do some Pynchon tourism (a little bit of Inherent Vice, his least-good book, is set at the cranky Theosophists Institute (wikipedia too)) and have a date shake. Also the Carrizo Plain is nearbyish.
posted by tapir-whorf at 1:30 AM on December 22, 2012

Also there is the Murphy Ranch, which I know nothing about except via Metafilter but would love to explore.
posted by tapir-whorf at 1:33 AM on December 22, 2012

Slab City and Ojai are legit destinations. If you are feeling more beachy, though, here is a possible itinerary:

Day 1: Pack a picnic. Drive up PCH with the pooches. Stop for a day hike in the Santa Monica mountains (dogs on leash OK on many trails). Lunch. After the hike, cruise on up to Ventura and get a room in a crappy Motel 6. Go into old town Ventura for beers and food. Take dogs to the beach after dinner to chase sticks and bark at waves.

Day 2: Coffee and nosh in Ventura again. Check out of motel, drive north a spell to Rincon Beach (southern Santa Barbara area), and let them romp there. Rincon is a classic surf spot, lots of cool dogs chilling on the beach, nice vibe. Apres beach, continue to SB proper, late lunch at one of the dog-friendly cafes. Reverse your trip back south, catch a bitchin' sunset along the way home.
posted by nacho fries at 12:11 PM on December 22, 2012

Came here to say Ojai.
posted by Xoebe at 7:11 PM on December 25, 2012

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