Paddle Boarding on the Deschutes (credit: © Craig Zagurski/

Someone recently suggested that I kennel my dog during a five-day business trip to Denver. As in, send my sweet little Pippin to five sad and lonely days of Hell. Not going to happen. I’ve joined the growing cadre of travelers who adore their pets don’t leave home without them. Some brilliant hoteliers have noticed this trend and cater to the dog crowd, as do some al fresco cafes. Communities and park districts have joined the fray and offer leash-free play areas and walking trails.

Bend, Oregon leads the four-legged way. In fact, it’s common knowledge in Bend that if you have a Subaru and a dog, you’ll have no problem getting a date. Here’s how you and your best friend can get in on the action:

Dog Parks: Pet owners collect with other like-minded at no less than seven (7) fenced areas in Bend to let their dogs romp and sniff around in the company of their own kind. Click on the links below for maps and more information from Bend Park & Recreation:

Big Sky 21690 Neff Road (pdf)
Riverbend Beach 799 SW Columbia Street (pdf)
Ponderosa Community Park 225 SE 15th Street (pdf)
Pine Nursery Community Park NE Purcell Road (pdf)
Hollinshead Community Park 1235 NE Jones Road (pdf)
Overturf Butte Reservoir Skyliner Summit Loop (pdf)
Awbrey Resevoir NW 10th and Trenton (pdf)

Good Dog! Trail: For those who want to stretch the limits of their legs and give their dogs a unbounded experience, several trails wind through the Deschutes National Forest. Local dog walking advocates, DogPAC have lobbied long and hard to get leash restrictions loosened in Deschutes County. That’s good news for dog lovers who enjoy great wide green spaces. One of our favorite trails is the Good Dog! Trail along the Deschutes River, with plenty of splash and fetch opportunities.

Old Mill District: If you can get out before dark, you’ll find a trail that borders the Deschutes River though the Old Mill District, past Log Deck Park, and – if you hike far enough – into the wild and scenic stretch of the Deschutes that flows north from Sunriver. Mingle with other happy urban explorers, from stroller-pushing moms and hand-holding couples, to dog walkers and rosy cheeked revelers.

Helpful Links:
Off-leash parks and trails at DogPAC:
Dog Parks at Bend Park and Recreation District:
Stroll along the Deschutes River at the historic Old Mill District.
Pet Friendly Lodging:
Shilo Hotels & Suites:
Entrada Lodge
Bennington Properties (Sunriver)

Editor’s Note:  For more pet friendly adventures in Bend, check out “The Ultimate Dog Date in Bend“.   To find a fido-friendly hotel or bed & breakfast throughout Oregon, just go to our hotel listings and turn on the “pet friendly” button.  For more information on pet friendly 

Kyla Merwin Cheney publishes Oregon Lakes & Rivers – the website, Road Tripper E-Report, and online magazine.


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  1. Larry says…

    I live over here on the WETside and travel with my dog Zotoichi (Ichi for short).
    And Bend is one of the best places we travel to.
    I even use it as a base of operation for other adventures in central Oregon.
    I knew that Bend had some dog parks, but didn’t know there were 7.

    Written on November 22nd, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  2. Terry Miller says…

    Pip in a KENNEL???? NEVER!!!!!

    Written on November 22nd, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  3. gloria says…

    lived in oregon for 12yrs miss it everyday since moving back

    Written on November 22nd, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  4. John Greenstone says…

    While there are places in Bend where dogs and their humans need not be tethered by a leash, most trails, parks, and other open spaces do require dogs to be leashed. Remember, dog lovers– not everyone feels the same as you do about dogs. My wife and I have had many encounters over the years with inconsiderate dog owners and their pets. One owner, when his illegally-unleashed Lab ran up and jammed his wet, muddy nose in the crotch of my wife’s light-colored jeans, actually said “don’t worry, just stand still, he’ll be fine!” Incredible.

    Written on November 22nd, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  5. Lenora says…

    The Entrada is NOT dog friendly! The owner purposely tried to run over my dog a few winters ago when we were passing along the back row of EMPTY cabins after a snow storm to yell at me to get off the property

    Written on August 10th, 2012 / Flag this Comment

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