Pippin always expects something good to happen. Every day. That’s one of the many admirable qualities of our golden-on-the-go. He rushes to the back door ferociously wagging his tail whenever he hears the garage door open, because one of three things is about to happen:

  1. He’s going for a walk. We know a sweet little trail nearby where he can bound about unleashed, sniffing and chasing and running a muck.
  2. He’s going on errands. He gets to ride around in the car, stick his head out the window, and get dog treats from the banker, the dry cleaner and the kiosk lady at Dutch Bros.
  3. He’s going on a road trip. Now we’re talking!

We love to travel and we’re always finding new and interesting places that are Pippin-approved: easy on the paws, experienced off-leash, access to a lake or stream, and nearby pet-friendly lodging. Here is one of our favorites:

Big Lake and Patjens Lakes
Central Oregon/ Mt. Washington Wilderness

A forest of lodgepole pine and Douglas Fir surrounds this pretty trail, which skirts the south shore of Big Lake. The left fork just after the trailhead will take you quickly to the lake (1 mile) and your first chance for a swim or a game of fetch-the-bumper. Pause for the amazing view of Mt. Washington from here; you’ll be in the forest from this point onward. The four smaller Patjens Lakes will be hidden on your right as you travel the next mile. Look for open spaces in the forest and bushwhack your way to these little jewels, where wading may be more the order of the day than swimming.

Vital Stats
Distance: 6.1 miles roundtrip
Easy Hike: 4 hours
Water Available: Big Lake and the four Patjens Lakes
Best Seasons: Spring and summer
Trailhead Elevation: 4,550 feet
Highest Elevation: 4,810 feet

The Trailhead
From Sisters: 13 miles west on Highway 20/Oregon Route 126
From McKenzie Bridge: 26 miles east on Oregon Route 126/Highway 20.
Trailhead: Turn south on Forest Road 2690 toward Hoodoo Ski Area. Travel 3.2 miles, passing the ski area, to the west end of Big Lake. Parking is on the right. Look for trail #3395.

Northwest Forest Pass required.
Google Map

Pet Friendly Lodging

The Lodge at Suttle Lake
Cabins: $99 – $499 per night
$25 per night per pet

Black Butte Resort
Motel: $75-85 per night, plus $10 per night per pet
RV Park: $26-28 daily, no charge for pets

Cold Springs Resort & RV Park
Cabins: $120-194 per night, plus $8 per night per pet
RV Park: $30 daily, plus $2 per pet

Lake Creek Lodge
$145 – $390, plus $10 per pet per night and a limit of 2 pets per cabin

Big Lake Campground

Pippin’s Rules to Live By: Play often, sniff everything, and expect something good to happen.

Kyla Merwin Cheney is a freelance writer, editor and custom publisher. She also publishes the online magazine: Oregon Lakes & Rivers: Travel and Recreation, and the Weekly “Oregon Road Tripper E-Report” (www.OregonLakesAndRivers.com). She makes her home in Bend, and loves to explore new places with her husband, Mike, and dog, Pippin. She can be reached at kyla[at]kmc-media[dot]com.


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