If you like dogs, then Bend, Oregon, is the place for you.
Bend has numerous dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants, and lots of off-leash hiking trails. One of these trails is located close to town along the Cascade Lakes Highway toward Mt. Bachelor. Rimrock Trailhead, or Good Dog! as locals call it, is a series of trails on the Deschutes River where you and your dog can hike, bike, or jog off-leash all year round.
(watch this video by DogPAC)
Good Dog! is a favorite spot for locals and as such, the parking lot can get pretty busy. However, there is so much space and so many trail options that you can walk without seeing many people at all (which makes it great for social distancing in 2020).
There are wider forest roads or narrow trails. You can hike to the water or take a gentle stroll. Take a quick walk or explore for several hours. There is something for dogs of all sizes and abilities.
One of the more popular spots is a small open beachy area on the river. Accessible from several trails, this spot usually has at least one dog enjoying the water, regardless of the weather or season.
It is open all year but be careful of the intense summer heat. Go either early or later in the day when it is cooler.
Come winter, it doesn’t get a lot of snow (but can on occasion), but it does get icy. I recommend taking a pair of ice cleats even if you don’t end up using them. It took me several falls to learn my lesson. Don’t make the same mistake.
As if this area wasn’t enough, connected to the Rimrock Trail is a series of day-use parks along the Deschutes linked by the Deschutes River Trail. This trail allows dogs off-leash from September 15 to May 15 and goes from the Meadow Day Use Area up to Benham Falls (about ten miles).
As always, make sure your dog is under your control and clean up the poop. Garbage cans are located in several spots, and poop bags are found at the parking lot (thanks to DogPAC). There is also a bathroom for us humans.
Have fun! Your dog certainly will.
If you are looking for winter activities, click here.