One of the great benefits of living in the Portland Metro Area 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 makes September and October 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.
Sometimes you just need room to run. Pick up the pace with the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon’s Dog Leg on October 21st!
Just about an hour outside of Portland, the small town of Hood River is packed full of dog-friendly restaurants, places to stay, and of course hiking trails—like the 2.8-mile Hood River Waterfront Trail and The Spit, a 40-acre sandbar flanked by the Hood and Columbia rivers.
Westcliff Lodge allows pets in their beautiful Riverview Rooms and Cottage Suites, and many local hotels are happy to provide a comfy rest after you’ve lived out your gold medal dreams!
Celebrate with a local rosé at the Naked Winery where Buster is welcome in the tasting room with you—and even encouraged to take a selfie in a red feather boa. For homemade (dog) biscuits under the ever-watchful statue of Lucky, check out the locally owned Pine Street Bakery & Pine Street Kitchen.
Grab your morning cup of energy at 10 Speed Coffee Company and check out some of the beautiful waterfalls that line the Gorge as you meander your way back to the city.**
Columbia Gorge Waterfalls
Punchbowl Falls, south of Hood River on Hwy 35 occurs at the confluence of the East Fork and West Fork of the Hood River. The quarter-mile trail follows a basalt cliff and leads to a beach right above the falls, where you and your pup can see all the way to Mt. Hood on a clear day. The nearby Dead Point Creek Falls is just above Punchbowl Falls where the Hood enters an impressive canyon with columnar basalt formations before plunging 75 feet in a two-tiered display.
Back on the I-84 side of things, keep an eye out for two of our favorite Columbia Gorge hikes, re-opening soon!
Wahclella Falls, is a 1.8-mile hike along Tanner Creek that takes you through the verdant green that makes Oregon forests so iconic and ends with a gorgeous two-tiered waterfall. This trail can serve as a nice warm-up for Angel’s Rest, or if you’re not up for a strenuous hike, pair Wahclella Falls with the famed Multnomah Falls, which is also dog-friendly. Both falls are on-leash.
Angel’s Rest is a 9.4-mile loop just outside of Corbett, OR. This longer hike takes you past Coopey Falls before reaching 1.6 miles of switchbacks that reward you with a 270-degree view of the Columbia River Gorge and Beacon Rock in Washington. Dogs are welcome on-leash.
Thirsty yet? The patio at Thunder Island Brewing in Cascade Locks offers a beautiful view of the Columbia River and Bridge of the Gods, and welcomes Buster who will most likely just want to snooze at your side after all that hiking. Enjoy the local craft beer, salads, and sandwiches before finishing your journey home.
** Traveler Alert: This area was impacted by the recent Eagle Creek Fire. Before you head out, please check with USFS for the most up-to-date information on closures.
Are you ready to go? Sharing all of these awesome adventures has us ready to stand up from the computer and get outside. At Hot Diggity!, a dog-sitting and dog-walking service in Portland, they love taking pups out on the trails and Forest Pack Hikes around the Portland area. If you’re too busy to take your pups on the trails just now, feel free to call them up about getting your dogs into Pack Club today!