Walk On, Fido: A Guide to Dog-Friendly Portland, Oregon

Tired of having to leave your best friend behind because there are no pets allowed? Head to Portland, Oregon where you and your pooch can enjoy time together, following in the footsteps of GoNOMAD author Jane R. Stevenson and her dog Ozzie!

Ozzie and his owner enjoy the rare Portland sun. Photos by Mark Stevenson.

“Walk” is a four-letter word in my household. My family and I spell it out, say it in Spanish, and do whatever it takes to avoid its usage in the presence of our dog. If we do happen to utter the fateful word, our energetic poodle, Ozzie, will be sure to follow us around the house relentlessly until we grudgingly leash up and take him outside.

We are not the only family to have banned the free use of this word, for most other dog owners in Portland, Oregon, are burdened with the same dog-walking condition. A canine’s need for constant activity can certainly be credited to their innate desire for exercise, but also to the enticing thrill of the various parks that lie in Portland and the surrounding area.

From the squirrel-infested trails at Forest Park to abandoned fields in quaint Northeast neighborhoods like Laurelhurst, Portland’s dog owners and their respective pets are pampered with the luxury of choice.

My family’s love for outdoor activity has only worsened Ozzie’s condition, making it impossible for him to settle for the typical walk around the block. Thankfully, Portland provides many solutions to this common dog walker’s dilemma.

Historic Architecture

For those who admire historical architecture and landscaping, Northeast Portland offers dog-walking routes that pass numerous colonial houses decorated tastefully with turrets and unruly ivy.

Tucked in between these mansions are hidden stairways overgrown with wildflowers and shrubbery.

At the top of these passageways, breathtaking views will cause walkers to pause before being pulled down the stairs by their curious dogs. The pristine houses at the base of the stairs, with their manicured lawns and stylish design, will be sure to incite envy and awe.

For those who seek challenge and exercise, the hills of Southwest Portland provide scenic inclines that look out over of the metropolitan area. The Marquam trail, in particular, leads dog walkers through various parks and back roads, finishing at the highest point in Portland — Council Crest.

From the top of the hill lies the rare panoramic view of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Rainier, along with downtown and the winding Willamette River.

A portion of grass is available for off leash dogs to run free during certain hours of the day and benches are ready for those tired from the elevation gain.

Walk On, Fido: A Guide to Dog-Friendly Portland, Oregon