Pippin is asleep in the back of the car, as he tends to be in any moving motor vehicle. No stranger to road trips, this dog is happy to be on the move, confident in the knowledge that his destination will please him.

While dogs don’t keep diaries, I wonder if they might catalogue their memories, as in: Squishy balls are good; Those bushes always smell funny; I don’t like when … oh look!…Was that a bunny or a butterfly? … Steak is my favorite table food …

On behalf of The Pip, silent keeper of delightful thoughts, I offer a collective of ideas for those who want to sniff out some unleashed opportunities in Central Oregon.

Cascade Lakes

Pip and I spent a day kayaking with friends recently on Hosmer Lake – one of the many glittering jewels sprinkled along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. We paddled (correction: I paddled, Pippin served as a bow ornament) through emerald green waters; waters so clear you could see trout taunting nearby fishermen. Mt. Bachelor and South Sister stood on the near horizon, causally taking our breath away. Across the lake we entered Quinn Creek and paddled upstream to a lovely little waterfall, where the grownups picnicked and Pip ran wild, sniffing out his own brand of fun.
Read more about the Hosmer trip here.

Other area lakes include Elk Lake, Lava Lake, Cultus Lake, North and South Twin Lakes, and Crane Prairie Reservoir.


In the heart of Bend lays a trail system known as Phil’s Trail, miles and miles of winding, looping, intersecting single track. Most popular with mountain bikers, this trail is also a leash-free Mecca for pups off their leashes. It can be accessed from the Cascade Lakes Highway or Skyliners Road in Bend. Map courtesy of Traditional Mountaineering.

At the end of Skyliners Road, you’ll find Tumalo Creek and Tumalo Falls. The creek follows a double track dirt road, closed to motor vehicles. A spectacular waterfall at the end of road awaits, and beyond that a single track leads into the Deschutes Forest.

The Badlands

You’ll find a rugged beauty in Oregon’s Badlands, dry and prickly with ancient juniper and volcanic ridges. Fifty miles of trails wind through 29,000 acres, 16 miles east of Bend on Highway 20. You’ll encounter hikers, horseback riders and wildlife in the Badlands, so make sure your dog is in your control at all times. Trails of note include Badlands Rock Trail, Flatiron Rock Trail, and Tumulus Trail.

Supplies and Training Resources

Polka-Doodle Dog Bakery: Healthy dog biscuits and treats
Healthy Paws: Specializing in eco-friendly toys, treats, beds, clothing, raw and grain free diets.
Dancin’ Woofs: Dog Training and Dog Daycare Center
Ruff Wear: Gear for dogs on the go

Great Local Resources

DogPAC: Dedicated to maintaining and expanding off-leash recreation in Central Oregon.
Visit Bend: The good folks at Visit Bend have compiled pet-friendly travel information on their website.
Bend Park & Recreation District: Off-leash areas in Bend, Oregon parks

Nearby Pet Friendly Lodging

Elk Lake Resort
$99 – $195 per night

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