Bend and Stretch in ‘Dog Town USA’

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog running on a snowy trail

Situated smack in the middle of the state and straddling a geographic divide—high desert on the east side, typical Northwest evergreen forests on the west—Bend is a sophisticated town of 82,000 that’s been drawing California refugees (and their four-legged friends) for decades. Dog Fancy magazine named it Dog Town USA in 2012, and in the years since, even more establishments have opened their doors to dogs.

Small(ish)-town life and outdoor recreation are the major draws here, with 50-plus miles of dog-friendly trails lacing the city proper. Hundreds more miles of trails wind through the surrounding Deschutes National Forest, where the non-profit DogPac has helped create many off-leash areas (as well as dog parks in town). More than 40 restaurants welcome wagging tails at al fresco tables, while dozens of businesses place water bowls on the sidewalk and don’t mind if your leashed pet accompanies you inside.

Bend also boasts an extremely vibrant beer culture, with some two dozen craft breweries claiming membership in the Bend Ale Trail. The well known Deschutes Brewery operates a Public House eatery with outdoor tables where your pup can lounge while you enjoy a meal and a flight drawn from 19 taps. Locals (and their four-legged sidekicks) flock to Crux Fermentation Project, where outdoor entertainment is on tap weekends, along with Off-Leash Northwest Session Ale, which made its debut during Dog Town celebrations and has stayed in the lineup since. And if that’s not dog-friendly enough, there’s an off-leash dog park adjacent to the patio! Don’t leave Bend without a six-pack of Dawg Grog, an organic, liquid-treat supplement made especially for your dog by Boneyard Beer, another great place to visit.

When it comes to places to stay, the two-room Hillside Inn B&B gets our five-bone rating for its self-contained downstairs unit featuring a full kitchen, dining area, private entrance to the outdoors and great location in a beautifully restored craftsman home in an older, well kept residential neighborhood. The luxury Oxford Hotel in the heart of downtown is also dog-friendly, as are indies including Pine Ridge Inn, Shiloh Inn Suites Hotel and Entrada Lodge, as well as most of the chain properties in town. Scores of vacation rentals offer additional options. Just outside town, the year-round Sunriver Resort community at the foot of Mount Bachelor offers more activities than you can throw a stick at, as well as dog-friendly lodging.

Worth noting: Wanderlust Dog Adventures will pick up your well mannered (and spayed or neutered) dog and take her hiking for an hour or three, either on- or off-leash, depending on level of obedience. Wanderlust Tours, meanwhile, invites canines to join their people on hikes, canoe tours, snowshoe outings and more.

Bend is about 150 miles north of the California state line via Highway 97. For more dog-friendly ideas once arrived, click here.

Photo Credit: @photographybylynnmarie