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Our Favorite Portland Parks to Visit with a Dog

Our Favorite Portland Parks to Visit with a Dog

Our friends over at will be releasing an exciting new book for anyone who has ever dreamed of going on a road trip in the US with their pet. The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Road Trip features one favorite attraction from each state.

Get your copy of the Ultimate Dog-Friendly Road Trip at

In 2017 Rod and Amy set off on a 15,000-mile road trip across the US with their dogs Ty and Buster in search of the most pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.

Amy asked several bloggers to join them in celebrating the release of the book with a virtual road trip.  Follow that link to enter to win a pawtographed copy of your own. We’re also giving away a free e-copy to one lucky reader (entry details below).

We couldn’t be more excited to transport back to Portland to share with you our favorite Portland parks to visit with a dog. Our choices differ from Ty and Buster’s favorite parks, so be sure to take a sneak peak of the Oregon chapter in their book to see even more of Portland’s great parks.

Ty and Buster of loved the Portland waterfront.

With over 10,000 acres of public parks and green spaces for its residents, Portland  has plenty of beautiful places throughout the city to enjoy a quiet walk, picnic, run, or hike with your pup. Portland is home to 280 parks, including Forest Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States (and one of my very favorite places in this entire world). The large quantity of natural areas means that you’re never more than a short walk to the nearest park. 

We love all of Portland’s parks, but we have a few favorites that we want to feature here.

Our Five Favorite Portland Parks to Visit with Your Dog

Portland's Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States with over 70 miles of trails.

Forest Park

With over 70 miles of well-tended trails, Forest Park is one of the country’s largest public parks. It’s green hills form the backdrop over NW Portland, verdant all year round. It’s most famous trail is the Wildwood Trail, which spans over 30 miles with blue diamonds and markers every quarter mile. Just before leaving on our trip, our small running group decided to run the entire length of the trail (only one person actually ran the full trail) and it’s a common goal for many runners in the area.

Though sections of the trail can get crowded on weekends, the further west you head, the fewer the crowds. It’s not difficult to find secluded spots to enjoy the park.

I have run nearly every bit of this park multiple times over and know it very well. The trails are very well-labeled with maps at most intersections and a dedicated crew from the Forest Park Conservancy spends hours each week maintaining the trails to perfection.

Aside from Wildwood, a few of my favorite trails include Maple Trail, Dagwood Trail, and Nature Trail.

Related: Want to know our favorite dog-friendly spots in Portland, including parks, bars, and breweries? Check out Dog-Friendly Portland: Our Favorite Places to Sit, Stay, and Play.

Tryon Creek State Park is the only state park in Oregon located in an urban setting.

Tryon Creek

I happened upon Tryon Creek by chance shortly after moving to Portland. I had discovered that a local running group ran with shelter dogs on weekends and drove to meet them at the designated time and place. Only no one showed up. I still have no idea what happened that day, but I figured that I was dressed to run and saw a sign for a park nearby. I decided to check it out and it quickly became one of my favorite spots to hike and trail run in Portland.

Tryon Creek is the only state park in Oregon within a major metropolis. Eight miles of hiking trails meander through 658 acres of second-growth forests and cross back and forth over the bubbling Tryon Creek. The park also features an additional 3.5 miles of multi-use horse trails and 3 miles of paved trails.

Home to an assortment of animals including beavers, owls, and woodpeckers, it’s not uncommon to spot signs of their presence. Those who visit regularly will see the change in seasons happen based on which flowers are in bloom.

Mt. Tabor is set atop a dormant volcano and offers one of the best views of downtown Portland.

Mt. Tabor

When we had our home in SE Portland, Mt. Tabor was our go to for shorter runs or evening picnics. One of Portland’s most popular parks, Mt. Tabor is set atop a dormant cinder cone of the Boring Lava Field, which has been extinct for over 300,000 years. Portland is one of four cities in the United States with have extinct volcanoes within the city limits.

Not only does Mt. Tabor offer one of the best views of downtown Portland in the city, but you’ll also find great views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens from the top. It’s the perfect spot to watch the Fourth of July fireworks without the downtown crowds. This urban oasis makes you forget that there’s a busy city just at the bottom of the hill.

What is unique about Mt. Tabor is that it houses three of Portland’s five open drinking water reservoirs. The three located in Mt. Tabor are listed as part of an historic district in the National Register for the gatehouses, wrought-iron gates, walkways, and lampposts.

The park features all sorts of amenities for recreators, including tennis courts, picnic areas, horseshoe pits, an amphitheater, and a large off-leash dog park.  The park features three designated routes, ranging from 1-3 miles.

Related: Oregon is home to some great pet-friendly accommodations. See our list here for picks around the state: Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Hotels in Oregon.

Powell Butte in SE Portland is the city's second-largest park.

Powell Butte

A running friend introduced me to Powell Butte shortly after I moved to Portland and I’m so glad she did. Due to it’s location farther outside of the city, the park is always empty. The park’s nine miles of trails are open to all users, including mountain bikers (one of the few parks in Portland that welcomes MTB). The rolling hills make for a great workout and the trails are all well-labeled making it easy to complete a loop.

Like Mt. Tabor, Powell Butte is also an extinct volcano and is Portland’s second-largest park after Forest Park. On clear days, locate the visible five mountain peaks and test your Cascade mountains knowledge by identifying each one.

The park has been through a renovation in recent years, and recently opened a new visitors’ center that features interactive display panels, pipe exhibits, and a paved interpretive trail highlighting the various habitats.

Thousand Acres is one of the best off-leash dog parks in the country.

Thousand Acres (Sandy River Delta)

A quick 20-minute drive from Portland, Thousand Acres in Troutdale is the ultimate doggy playground. There is no shortage of trails, rivers, fields and muddy wetlands for your dog to splash, get muddy, and run, While not exclusively a dog park, the 1,400-acre property also permits horses and mountain bikers and is a great area for birding. But, there will be dogs, and lots of them.

In total, nearly eight miles of pure off-leash freedom wind through the park (minus the parking lot and the Confluence Trail). Suitable for all levels of hikers, the trails are flat and well maintained.  The trails are not marked, but it’s impossible to get lost. Simply pick a direction at a fork and see where it leads you.

Keep in mind that this park can get extra muddy, so bring along a dog towel or this handy [portable dog shower] to keep your car clean after a romp in the mud. Thousand Acres is very popular on nice days and on the weekends.

Related: Looking to venture outside of Portland? We love the Willamette Valley for dog-friendly wine tasting!



Portland has parks just about everywhere you look, so we picked a few of our favorites to visit with a dog.

Cassandra D

Monday 29th of October 2018

To Seattle on the ultimate trip.

Jen Sotolongo

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

Well, we approve of that trip! :)

Michelle Rouse

Monday 29th of October 2018

I found you via Instagram. Love your site. I'm new to adventuring with my pup (he just recovered from bilateral TPLO surgery). I'm excited to learn more and explore more on the weekends. Next stop for us - the Redwoods in Northern CA.

Jen Sotolongo

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

Thanks so much for the kind words! I hope that you enjoyed the Redwoods! They're so beautiful!

Kelley Caton

Thursday 25th of October 2018

WOW. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest. It's on my bucket list!

Jen Sotolongo

Friday 26th of October 2018

Yes, do make sure it's high on that list! It's such a great place to visit in general, and especially with a dog!


Thursday 18th of October 2018

There is nothing better than a city with lots of open spaces to explore. Portland's parks look amazing!

Jen Sotolongo

Friday 19th of October 2018

It's so, so wonderful. We're definitely quite spoiled there!

Nichole B-P

Thursday 18th of October 2018

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful part of the country!

Jen Sotolongo

Friday 19th of October 2018

It's our favorite part of the country. But we're kinda biased. ;)