One of the great benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest is the incredible natural beauty available to us. You don’t need to journey far to find fantastic dog-friendly hiking areas with everything from mountain views to waterfalls. Fall leaves and a break from our hotter-than-average summer mean it’s the perfect time to escape the city for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
We Portlanders often forget how easy it is to drive to Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, or Astoria for a day of adventures. With 363 miles of public coastline, Oregon’s beaches are perfect for running through the waves, chasing seagulls, and chilling on the sand. Most beaches allow dogs on-leash or off-leash with direct voice control (with some exceptions during the snowy plover nesting season March 15 to September 15).
Ecola State Park is just a mile north of downtown Cannon Beach and offers cliffs, beaches, an abandoned lighthouse, and a network of trails that includes an 8-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail, and the 2 1/2 mile Clatsop Loop Trail. It’s also a prime spot for viewing migrating gray whale, Roosevelt elk, and bald eagles.
Once everyone is thoroughly windblown and sand-covered, head to one of the many dog-friendly restaurants and breweries where you can refresh and relax while Buster can be social with other canine passersby.
Don’t want to head home just yet? The Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria offers pet-friendly rooms with fireplaces and balconies that look out onto the river. More adventurous? Head south to Tillamook where Cape Lookout State Park offers full-hookup sites, tent sites, six pet-friendly yurts, and three pet-friendly cabins and hiking trails nestled among old growth forests. The nature trail uses numbered markers keyed to a trail guide if you want to learn about native trees and other plants.
Heading east instead of west, Bend is almost as dog-friendly as Portland itself and the landscape offers high desert majesty all year long. After 3+ hours in the car, the beautiful hikes near the town are a welcome way to stretch your legs—and for Buster to explore the local smells and sounds. The Metolius River Trail is a 12-mile relatively flat stretch through the Deschutes National Forest at the base of Black Butte. The trail can be broken up into smaller pieces with the West Metolius River Trail stretch offering a waterfall and a number of activity options for you and your pup. Todd Lake Trail is an on-leash loop near Sunriver that features a lake for cooling off. Good Dog Trail (or Rimrock Trail) is a local favorite enroute to Mt. Bachelor. Upper Deschutes River Trail and Green Lakes Trail both allow dogs to be off-leash starting on September 15th.
Once you’ve worked out an appetite, check out some of the many options in the Old Mill District. Downtown you’ll find both all sorts of shops and restaurants including J-Dub—Buster will flip for the Pup Menu featuring Pooch Hooch, the house-made dog “beer” (non-carbonated and non-alchoholic) made with beef, malt, and glucosamine to keep your pup’s joints happy after all the outdoor adventures.
It’s hard to say whether Bend has more hiking trails or restaurants, so stay overnight at pet-friendly Townplace Suites by Marriott (look for the “Fluffy Friends Stay Free” package) or MyPlace Extended Stay Hotel (80 pound limit and up to two pets per room) so you have extra days to relax and enjoy spots like the McKay Cottage Restaurant, 10 Barrel Brewing, and Cascade Lakes Brewing… though almost any patio you find will welcome a four-legged diner.