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9 Awesome Things to Do in Bend, Oregon with Your Dog

9 Awesome Things to Do in Bend, Oregon with Your Dog

Bend, Oregon is a favorite year round destination for adventure enthusiasts. A three hour drive from Portland, many head to the Central Oregon vacation spot in search of sun during the rainy winters, delicious craft beer, and all the outdoor activities one could ever want.

Thanks to the outdoor culture, Bend is very dog friendly, with lots of parks, trails, and restaurants that welcome our four legged friends. We made an effort to go at least a couple times each year when we were still in Portland. Whether you go for a quick weekend or a longer stay, you can create the ultimate adventure itinerary with this guide full of fun things to do in Bend with your dog.

The Best Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Bend, Oregon

Paddleboard on the Deschutes River

During the summer months, the Deschutes River is filled with paddle boarders and inflatable rafts in an effort to escape the heat. Morning is the best time to go to avoid crowds, particularly if you’re new to the sport, plus, it’s just so peaceful to paddle on an empty river and watch the city arise from slumber.

Rent boards from TumaloCreek for $40 for two hours or $80 for a full day. Need a life jacket for your pup? We recommend the Ruffwear Float Coat (which is a local Bend business!) or the Kurgo Surf n Turf Jacket.

If you’ve never paddle boarded with your dog, read this!

Visit Smith Rock State Park

Whether you’re looking for a hike, epic trail run, or some of the best rock climbing in the region, Smith Rock is the place to go. Several networks of trails provide access to views and climbing areas and range in difficulty from easy to extreme. Know your limits and don’t overestimate your or your dog’s abilities.

Leash laws are strictly enforced, and don’t forget to pick up your dog poop.

However, if you hit up the trails just outside of Smith Rock (which are very accessible from Smith) then you have pure off-leash freedom. Between Smith Rock and Gray Butte lie dozens of miles of trails that range from very challenging to leisurely. I did much of my winter training there when I lived in Bend and loved the trail network.

Paulina Lake near Bend, Oregon.

Take a Hike around a Caldera

The turquoise waters of Paulina Lake give off the impression that you’re in the tropics, rather than the Oregon desert. The 7.8-mile loop around the lake makes for an easy day trip from Bend, just 25 miles to the south.

Part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Paulina Lake is a caldera that was formed as a result of 500,000 years of volcanic activity. Thanks so all that lava  flow, visitors can dig their own hot springs along the shore of North Beach.

Walk along the Deschutes River Trail

Located right in the city, the Deschutes River Trail is the best way to get around the Old Mill District in downtown Bend on foot (or two wheels). Footbridges connect the trail on either side of the river providing several miles of car-free recreation for water users, cyclists, runners, and dogs.

Riverbend Dog Park is an off-leash dog park with water access is located on the west side of the river.

Continue past Farewell Bend Park to add on extra distance and enjoy some unpaved surfaces that connect to other trail networks.

Run a Race

One of the most iconic dog-friendly trail races, the Peterson Ridge Rumble allows dogs to join their humans in the 20-miler. A fairly gentle race as far as long distance goes, the 20-miler gains about 2,000’ in elevation gradually increasing over the first half.

Aid stations include dog water bowls and treats, and all four-legged finishers receive a pig’s ear as they cross the line. (Sora and I ran this race together in 2014!)

Three Sisters peaks in Bend, Oregon.

Summit South Sister

Mt. Bachelor may be the jewel of Bend, but the Three Sisters adorn the skyline just as much. If you’ve ever wanted to bag a peak in the Cascade mountains, South Sister offers a good opportunity to do so. At 10,358’ it is the third-tallest peak in Oregon and during the summer months does not require technical skills.

It’s not a walk in the park, however. The 11.2-mile climb gains nearly 5,000’ of elevation and requires knowledge of mountain hiking. Dogs and humans should not attempt this hike unless they are in good condition. Between May 15 and September 15, dogs must remain on leash.

In hot weather, either bring extra water or consider beginning the hike before sunrise to minimize time spent in the heat. Consider bringing dog booties to protect paws against the sharp obsidian rocks along the trail.

Dog-Friendly Breweries in Bend

With 22 craft breweries within the city limits, Bend has more craft breweries per capita than any other city in the country. Home to one of the most beloved Oregon craft breweries, Deschutes, many other craft beer producers have followed their lead by producing some of the finest beers in the state. Getting a few good post-adventure beers is one of the most popular things to do in Bend.

GoodLife Brewing

From the outside, you’d never guess that the GoodLife Biergarten is essentially a backyard BBQ all summer long. Bring the kids and the dogs and all your friends for a relaxing time lounging in the cozy Adirondack chairs, playing Bocce Ball or corn hole, and staying warm by the fire pit once the sun goes down.

Crux Fermentation Project

The original picnic-style brewery, Crux Fermentation Project sports a giant lawn overlooking the Cascade Mountains and serves some of the best beers in the state. Visit during “sundowner hour” and catch beer specials and the sunset in one of the best spots in the city.

Boneyard Beer

We used to visit Boneyard when it was a tiny tasting room using second-hand equipment located at the end of a neighborhood street. Today, the brewery has evolved into brewpub pumping out 15,000 barrels of beer annually. However, that bootstrapping charm still remains. And they haven’t forgotten about your furry friend, Boneyard produces Dawg Grog, a nutritious brew made from brewer’s wort.

Worthy Brewing

Perhaps the only brewery on the planet with a “hopservatory,” Worthy Brewing certainly makes for a fun and unique experience. After dinner and beers, join the open house night sky viewings (no registration required) and learn about the Central Oregon night sky. You’d be surprised how much you can see, thanks to kind neighbors who turn off their lights and it’s location just outside of the downtown area, near Pilot Butte.

Best of all, Worthy produces quality ales while putting the planet first. The brewery prides itself for being a leader for sustainable brewing practices and incorporates waste reduction, energy efficiencies and local sourcing as part of its mission.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Bend

The Lot

This dog-friendly food cart pod features a variety of street food options, open air seating, and a bar serving craft beer, cider, and kombucha. The Lot is open year round, seven days a week, for lunch and dinner. During the winter months, the heaters make the seating area toasty warm.


Located on the west side of town, Kebaba offers Middle Eastern fare like falafel, babaganoush, and schwarmas. The menu features something for all diets and the beautiful garden patio is a lovely setting to hang out with your pup.

Bonus, it’s located right across the street from our favorite grocery store in Bend, Newport Avenue Market. Head in to pick up some locally produced goods.

Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Cafe

This one is for the beer lovers who are also foodies. The shop has a rotating list of 12 craft brews and cider on tap, plus over 400 bottles to choose from. Check the calendar for events like Paint and Sip, Local’s Pint Night, and beer and wine tastings. The outdoor patio welcomes dogs and the restaurant has won several accolades for is vegetarian offerings.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Bend


Tumalo State Park

Just four miles northwest of Bend, Tumalo State Park is located right along the Middle Deschutes River with easy access to hikes like the popular Tumalo Falls, mountain bike trails, and verdant Cascade lakes. The park features 54 tent sites, 23 full-hookup sites, and two pet-friendly yurts.

Sparks Lake

For one of the most beautiful sunrise spots in the region, spend the night at Sparks Lake. The blue green lake features some 20 campsites around its shores. Car camping spots fill up fast during the summer months, so either arrive early or during the week, or rent a boat or paddle board and find a more secluded spot.


Fancy a hammock in your room? Book a stay with LOGE in Bend.
Photo courtesy of LOGE Bend.


Geared toward those interested in outdoor activities, LOGE Bend is a 20 min drive from Mt. Bachelor, 15 minute bike ride to downtown, located directly on hiking and mountain bike trails, and has onsite Raleigh city cruiser bikes available for all guests. Our favorite part is that they give back to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance.

Riverhouse on the Deschutes

Just 5 minutes away from downtown Bend, visitors love the spacious rooms, onsite restaurant, and close proximity to Bend and Mt. Bachelor.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School

This converted 1936 Catholic schoolhouse is conveniently located right in the heart of Bend. The hotel includes a brewery, movie theater, soaking pool, and pub. As with all McMenamins properties, dogs are always welcome.

See what else is available in Bend:

House/Apartment Rentals

AirBnB has great choices for dog-friendly rentals in Bend, especially if you want to have a kitchen or go stay in a home with a group of friends. Here are our picks for pet-friendly places to stay in Bend. If you’re new to AirBnB, you can save $40 off your first stay using our link.

Home away from Home (aka Book House)
Remodeled studio loft in one of Bend’s best neighborhoods
Classic, but modern getaway in the heart of Bend

What are some of your favorite things to do in Bend, Oregon with your dog?

What else would you add to this list?

Looking for more ideas? Be sure to check out The Dog Guide Bend, a local magazine dedicated to all things dog in the region!

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Duke Da Doodle

Friday 21st of May 2021

The leash law is not strict if you get on BLM land on Smith Rock. Its marked and you can take your dogs off leash. Public land!!! :O)

Jen Sotolongo

Friday 21st of May 2021

Oh yes, I'm well aware! I've run Gray many, many, many times. But that's a good note that I should update this post to say as much. Thanks!


Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

Does the water in Paulina lake stay pretty warm as a result of the hot springs nearby? Most of the lakes seem like glacier melt!

Jen Sotolongo

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

I didn't test the waters myself, but I would guess that it's not warm, as it does rely on snow melt.