I’ve been living in Bend, Oregon for almost a year now. I adopted my dog around the same time that I moved here, so together we have been enjoying hiking the local trails. Luckily for us, Bend has plenty of dog-friendly hikes.
Since my dog is so young and energetic, we mostly just go to trails where she can be off-leash. These are our favorite places to go. They are all within an hour of Bend. There are about six different off-leash dog parks in Bend and an off-leash hiking area called Good Dog. I won’t talk about those places here since most dog-owning locals already know about them, but if you’re new to the area I would check those out first.
These places are not the best hikes in the whole area by any means; they are just chill places you can take your pup that usually aren’t too crowded. There is a map below with pins for all of these trailheads.
Best Dog-Friendly Hikes for Winter
This area is east of town and is a wide open stretch of desert. This is on the winter time list because there’s no water and it gets very hot in the summer. I usually only ever see a few other people when I come out here, and most of them also have dogs.
If you want an alternative trailhead that most people don’t know about, go to Larry Chitwood Trailhead.
BLM Land on Stevens Road
This is the perfect spot if you’re on the east side of town. I mostly see runners and other dog owners out here. There are even caves that you can go into. There are several spots to park as you drive down Stevens Road. The downside is that it seems that they’ve possibly started construction on part of this land, so the area seems to be shrinking.
China Hat Road Area
This is another desert area with lots of public land to the Southeast of town. If you get ahold of a map, you’ll see that there’s lots of hiking trails around here. I’ve parked at Horse Butte before and got on trails from there. Bessie Butte is another place where you can park and hike. The options are really limitless out here though. There’s tons of little trails all around.
Other than a few caves and mountain bike trails, most of this area is OK for off-leash dogs.
Edison Butte Sno-Park
If you have a pup who enjoys the snow and you yourself enjoy snowshoeing, this is the spot for you. You and your pup can frolic through mounds of snow on this winter trail.
Best Dog-Friendly Hikes for Summer (with Water)
Conklin Road Trailheads
There’s several different trailheads along this road, so you can visit them all. There’s Big Eddy Trailhead, Slough Day Use Area, and Lava Island Trailhead. It is leash mandatory from mid-May to mid-September, but other than that time frame it’s OK for dogs to be off-leash.
It’s a really great area that is perfect for dogs who love to swim and conveniently close to town. And other than summer time, it’s really not that busy.
Meadow Day Use Area
This is technically part of Good Dog. And even though it’s on a different road, it does connect to the trails along Conklin Road. This would be a good spot to park on a hot day, so the dog can hop right in the river to cool off.
Fall River Loop at La Pine State Park
Most of the trails in La Pine State Park are leash mandatory, but this one isn’t. It’s along the river, which is crystal clear. The trailhead is at the back of the park, so it’s really not busy at all.
Fall River Trail
This one follows the river through the forest. It’s not a bad spot if you’re looking to get out of town. Some parts of the trail are kind of close to the road, so skip this one if your dog likes to chase cars.
This pond is East of town. There’s a walking path around the pond, or if you park at the trailhead parking you can walk on trails along the river to get to the pond. It’s not a very popular spot and is almost never busy. It is a popular fishing spot, and my dog has rolled in dead fish several times here. So be aware of that.
Cascade Lakes Highway
There are lots of trailheads along this highway to choose from. There are different rules for dogs in the winter and in the summer. The Deschutes National Forest website has a very clear set of rules for when and where dogs are allowed to be off-leash. I won’t repeat it here, since they do such a good job.
Many of the trails in this area have streams and lakes along the way. They’re usually a good bet for hot summer days.