FIVE OREGON DAY TRIPS TO TAKE WITH YOUR DOG
written by Jean Chen Smith
Summer is a great time for getting outside with your four-legged buddy. The state has a plethora of state parks and eleven national forests, all with their own ecosystems and wildlife, ripe for exploring. In urban areas such as Portland and Ashland, there are huge parcels of verdant land for hiking, trail running or throwing a Frisbee. When traveling with your dog, be mindful of the leash regulations specific to the area. Some places call for leashing your dog because of sensitive wildlife and plant life. Additionally, make sure to carry some doggie bags and leave no trace. Here are our five picks for a summer of fun—choose one or do them all. We have even given you an overnight option should you choose to make a weekend trip out of it.
Riverbend Park is an idyllic place to spend the afternoon with your dog. Completed in 2009, the park meanders along the banks of the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District with lawns for picnicking, lounging, playing ball and throwing a Frisbee. For an easy stroll, opt for the Deschutes River South Canyon Trail, a 3.1-mile loop that can be accessed at Riverbend Park or Farewell Bend Park, depending on where you start. This is a popular route, where you will see other hikers, bikers and dog walkers. There is an off-leash dog area where friendly dogs can romp and play. A picnic pavilion offers shade on sunny days. The Old Mill District is a great place to stop, browse shops and grab a bite to eat. Many of the restaurants, such as Anthony’s at the Old Mill District, have nice outdoor seating to accommodate your dog.
Tumalo State Park is in Tumalo, not Bend, but this is one of my favorite places to visit with our dogs. It is a short fourteen-minute drive from downtown Bend and provides many outdoor activities including hiking, running, mountain biking and floating. The park has year-round camping sites and rustic yurts, some of which are dog friendly. Surrounded by towering ponderosa pine and juniper trees, 2.4 miles of the park intersects with the Deschutes River Trail, which eventually leads to Riley Ranch Nature Reserve. Because of the sensitive wildlife on the reserve, dogs are prohibited at Riley Ranch.
MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT TRIP
The Alliance is a beautifully restored twentieth-century church that is now a rental for vacationers. Nestled in the Old Bend district, it is centrally located to many restaurants and shops. Run by Portland management company Vacasa, the rental process is smooth with easy check-in and checkout, along with assurance of cleanliness and comfort. The house’s open-concept floor plan allows for spacious bedrooms and a cute loft for kids, it also welcomes up to two dogs. The kitchen provides high-end appliances with all the necessities to cook up a delicious meal. The private backyard ensures safety for your pets to explore, and humans will enjoy lounging on the outdoor furniture and relaxing. Additional amenities include a washer and dryer, gas grill and hot tub.
Haystack Rock, an iconic landmark at Cannon Beach, is a must for all. The 4-mile-long beach is beautiful on misty mornings, and you will find many dogs both on a leash and off-leash meandering about. Because the sand is compact, it is easy to walk or jog. If you have a four-legged companion that enjoys running, this is a great spot to do so. The beach is wide, and although it is a popular spot, especially in the summer, it never feels too crowded. There are many birds, especially tufted puffins from early spring throughout summer, so if you are an avid birdwatcher, bring your binoculars. It can get windy and hot, so be sure to bring water for your buddy and yourself, too.
Neahkahnie Mountain Trail is a twenty-minute drive from Cannon Beach. If accessed through the south trailhead it is considered a moderate 2.5-mile loop and sees an elevation gain of 885 feet. For a more challenging adventure, you can start at the north trailhead, which is a 5-mile out-and-back with an elevation gain of 1,450 feet. Either entryway allows for spectacular views of Nehalem Bay and the Pacific Ocean as you ascend the ridge. Dogs must be leashed on this trail.
MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT TRIP
The best part about Cannon Beach is the many dog-friendly hotel options. One of our favorite places to stay is Surfsand Resort because of its proximity to beach access and restaurants. Rooms are spacious with comfortable beds, modern bathrooms and amenities such as coffeemakers, minifridges and microwaves. Depending on which room you choose, some face the beautiful oceanfront, which makes waking up a sight to see. The team sets out a bowl and some treats for your dog, so they are dog friendly for sure.
The historic town of Joseph has a quaint downtown with small shops and many dining selections.
If both you and your furry pal are active and up for a challenge, check out the Chief Joseph Mountain Trail, an 8.1-mile roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1,715 feet. Set within the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, this trail is not as popular as some of the other paths because of how challenging it is, but this is a great choice if you prefer some solitude. As you meander, you might discover brightly colored wildflowers, pines and some alpine firs along the way. Once at the summit, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Wallowa Lake and Chief Joseph Mountain.
Falls Creek Trail to Legore Mine hike is a twenty-minute drive from Joseph and is a challenging 5.8-mile out-and-back with an elevation gain of 3,024 feet. Though a popular trail in the summer, it is a dependable route for seeing wildflowers and native wildlife. Dogs are allowed to be off-leash in some areas.
MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT TRIP
Eagle Cap Chalets at the nearby Wallowa Lake has a variety of options that include condos, chalets and cozy cabins. Only certain units allow dogs, so be sure to check in advance. All accommodations have air conditioning and heat, flat-screen TVs, coffee makers and free wifi. Daily housekeeping is also available. The property offers a barbeque area and picnic tables, a hot tub and an outdoor swimming pool. There is a seasonal snack shop along with an espresso bar.
Hogback Mountain, an out-and-back moderately challenging hike is a great option for both you and your buddy because it is a secluded trail. The total length is 3.4 miles with an elevation gain of 1,768 feet. The interesting name is derived from the fact that from above the hill resembles a pig’s shoulders. The land is private property, but open for hiking and trail running. Some areas are designated off-leash for dogs to wander. Owners should keep dogs away from fenced-off areas due to livestock. It is closed during certain times of the year in autumn due to deer hunting, so be sure to check ahead of time. Otherwise, you will find this an enjoyable trek with rewarding views.
Link River Trailhead, an out-and-back trail approximately 2.7 miles long, is a gravel maintenance road that runs parallel to the Klamath River. The path is not shaded, so make sure to dress appropriately with a hat, use sunscreen and bring water for both you and your pup. There is a small, 5-foot waterfall to view before turning back in the direction from which you came.
For a longer stretch, the challenging Varney Creek Trail to Lake Como is about 9.6 miles and takes at least four and a half hours to finish. With an elevation gain of 1,620 feet, it is popular with locals and tourists. The trail is great for hiking, jogging and birding with several meadows, which might be blooming with wildflowers, depending on the time of your visit. Dogs may be off-leash in some areas.
MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT TRIP
Stay at Running Y Ranch Resort, which is a pleasant resort with a spa and golf course. The 3,600-acre property offers a range of accommodations, with options ranging from rooms in their main lodge or private vacation rental homes. Main lodge rooms provide all the comforts of home, with air conditioning, comfortable pillow-top mattresses and refrigerators. For your vacation home, choose from deluxe chalets or spacious townhomes, all with fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers. The property has a fitness center, pool and hot tub. Book their signature massage at the Sandhill Spa after a day of hiking with Fido. The on-site restaurant Ruddy Duck has plenty of outdoor patio seating, which is dog friendly.
It is hard to believe that Forest Park is larger than New York’s famous Central Park, but at 5,200 acres of forested land, it is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Officially open to the public in 1876, this historic park has more than 80 miles of trails for exploration. Surrounded by a canopy of Douglas firs, western hemlock and western red cedars, you can spend hours enjoying the outdoors. One of the most popular trails is the Wildwood Trail, which is recognized as a National Recreation Trail. It snakes for a lengthy 29.6 miles throughout the park, so if you opt for this, make sure to bring plenty of treats, water and snacks. Another well-known trail starts from Lower Macleay Park upward to Pittock Mansion, with an elevation gain of about 700 feet. It is a 5-mile out-and-back. Leashes are required throughout the park.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a well-maintained state park that is fifteen minutes from Portland’s downtown. Approximately 658 acres, this lush, forested land has abundant wildlife such as woodpeckers and squirrels. There are 8 miles of hiking trails, over 3 miles of horse trails and a paved bike path. There are eight bridges, several viewing decks and restrooms. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT TRIP
Stay at The Hotel Zags, a chic and dog-friendly hotel within walking distance to Pioneer Square, the Portland Art Museum and Waterfront Park. The 174-room hotel has standard rooms as well as suites, which offer a separate sitting room with a pull-out sofa that converts to a bed. The lobby is decorated with eclectic bright colors, and the courtyard features lush gardens and fire pits. Zags Restaurant & Patio offers happy hour and dinners every day of the week except Sundays and Mondays. It is an ideal outdoor space to dine and hang out with your pup.