Posted by Jen Sotolongo, Long Haul Trekkers on October 27, 2016
Oregon is undoubtedly one of the most dog-friendly states in the country. Aside from a few state parks, dogs are pretty much allowed everywhere. Many hikes in the state require a NW Forest Pass , which you can purchase for $5 per day or get an annual pass for $30.
1000 Acres (Sandy River Delta) - This is essentially a massive dog park consisting of a number of short, interconnected trails. Set on a large swath of land between I-84 and the confluence of the Sandy River and the Columbia River, just 20 minutes from Portland, this park contains several miles of trails, bird watching, and all the off-leash freedom your dog could ever ask for.
Forest Park (Portland Metro) - Located right in downtown Portland, Forest Park is a green area with over 70 miles of trails. The gem is the popular Wildwood Trail. Start towards Germantown Road or Newbury Road and you’ll hardly run into a soul despite its popularity and proximity to the city.
McKenzie River Trail (Linn County) - This 25-mile, fairly flat trail has so much to offer
and with plenty of campgrounds along the way, choose to do a day hike, or plan a long weekend backpacking. For a short hike, do the three-mile Waterfall Loop Trail and take in the views of powerful Koosah and Sahalie Falls. Continue on to Tamolitch, or Blue Pool, a brilliant topaz blue pond, for a 9.5-mile round trip hike.
Opal Creek (Willamette National Forest) - Follow the original logging road to Jawbone Flats for this 6.5-mile out-and-back that includes abandoned mines, 700-year-old trees, and Opal Pool, a turquoise blue pool perfect for taking a dip on a hot day. The best parts of Opal Creek are the natural water slide (located in the first half mile, just listen for the sounds of people shrieking with delight) and Three Pools, which offers some of the best cliff jumping and waterfall playing in Oregon.
Neahkahine Mountain (Northern Oregon Coast) – This lovely coastal mountain hike offers sweeping views of the Oregon Coast and Pacific Ocean. Hikers have the option to do an out-and-back starting from either end of the trail or a point-to-point with a shuttle. Either way, the hike is about five miles long and meanders through a meadow filled with wildflowers in the spring before entering the woods for the moderate, but steep climb to the summit.
Angel’s Rest/Devil's Rest (Columbia River Gorge) – A quintessential Oregon hike with sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge, Angel’s Rest is a must-visit hiking spot. A 1991 forest fire makes for a varied landscape towards the top as the verdant forest turns to a rocky hillside. Detour from the trail to Angel’s Rest for lunch and while admiring the Columbia River below and then continue on to Devil’s Rest for views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams to complete a 10.9 round trip hike.
Horsetail, Ponytail, and Triple Falls Hike (Columbia River Gorge) – Oneonta Gorge is a magical place, a gorge within a gorge, with green everywhere you look. This four-mile out-and-back packs four waterfalls into this gem of a hike, which includes a chance to walk behind a waterfall. No matter what season you visit, this hike won’t disappoint!
South Sister (Central Oregon) - Plan a long weekend to summit the non-technical 10,358-foot peak. Camp at Lake Diablo at the base the night before and wake up early for the 12-mile round trip hike. Walk across Oregon’s largest glacier and take in views of the other two sisters – Middle and North Sister, Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams.
Wilson River Trail (Tillamook Forest) - There are plenty of great hiking options along this 22.6-mile trail, all of which boast plenty of beauty. Try the 11.2-mile point-to-point section along Lester Creek that begins at Kings Mountain Trailhead. With 2,486’ of elevation gain, the hike is fairly difficult, as it winds through forests filled with Oregon natives like Douglas Firs,
Oregon Grape, and Trillium. The trail eventually descends to a 110-foot suspension bridge over the North Fork Wilson River where there is a picnic table to enjoy lunch.
Cooper Spur (Mt. Hood Wilderness) – Hike above the timberline with Mt. Hood in your face, as well as Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier at your back on this strenuous, but well-worth-the-effort seven-mile RT hike. Arrive early or camp at Cloud Cap to get an early start, as the trail can get hot in the summer months. Keep your eyes out for the stone shelter built long ago to serve as a refuge for mountaineers caught in bad weather. Continue along – the last mile is quite steep, but hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood and Eliot Glacier Moraine.
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 1.5 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.