For I did go a-wandering, a-wandering I went...with dog.
April 22, 2011 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Where can I hike with a dog off-leash in or near Portland, OR?

The boyfriend and I took our Australian Shepherd to Forest Park the other weekend. We had been up there before, and had seen dogs off-leash, so had assumed it was an off-leash area... until we "officially" went with Jezebel. We kept her leashed, as per the signs, but no one in our band of three were particularly thrilled. She's good on leash, but actually better off leash (her recall is fantastic). Since Forest Park is apparently out of the question, where can we go that will allow the three of us to hike without being tied together?

Bonus points for any "hidden" or relatively unknown spots in walking distance from NW Portland. There's a field about 3 miles out from Nob Hill area, for example, but I'm looking for other haunts as well.
posted by thatbrunette to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
Best answer: I'm not sure about hikes specifically but if you want to play some off leash fetch no public schools in town are policed when it comes to off-leash action, as long as you're not there during school hours or disrupting soccer practice or something. We take our dog to a couple schools on rotation around our house in southeast, and no one's ever batted an eye.

Generally, the further out you get, the less stuff like this is policed. You'll have less problems out of the city with off-leash walking than you will in town.

Also, all beaches that are not state parks on the oregon coast are ok to have your dog off leash.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:36 PM on April 22, 2011

forest park is not technically an off-leash area but a lot of ppl do and i've never had a problem with my dog off-leash there.
posted by violetk at 2:46 PM on April 22, 2011

Yeah, I see dogs off-leash in Forest and Washington parks ALL THE TIME and have never seen or heard of anyone having a problem.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:04 PM on April 22, 2011

Best answer: If you want to head out to the east side, there's the Sandy River delta. Some parts are on- but most of it is off-leash. Huge area to wander around in. Horse riders do use some of the trails so watch for dung, and when it has been rainy, it can turn fantastically muddy (as, being a delta, you can imagine; river will flood way over the banks and cut your trip short). The parking lot is okay but the road TO the parking lot has unbelievably huge axle-busting potholes, so be careful and drive very slow.

Since it has been crazy-rainy I'm not sure I'd go just yet, you could head down yourself first and see what the water levels are like. Otherwise it should definitely be fine in a month or so and be okay until the rains come in autumn. Make sure to bring a good towel (or three) if your dog likes to dash around in the river.
posted by curious nu at 4:08 PM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Sandy River Delta, especially for dogs that love to both swim and run, though you obviously have to drive there. As for Forest Park, I've never had problems with my dogs off-leash. I keep them on-leash on the most popular trails (certain sections of Wildwood, Leif Erickson) and call them back when we see other people, and no one's ever complained (and usually have their own dogs off-leash). There's always the chance of getting a ticket, and technically it's not allowed, so keep that in mind of course.
Finally, I found this on Google which might be helpful.
posted by janerica at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: None of the parks with off-leash areas also feature hiking trails. At least, not according to the city park-finder.

That said, Sellwood Riverfront Park, at the foot of the Sellwood Bridge on the east side, has an off-leash area, and if your dog enjoys swimming, she can jump right into the Willamette. It's adjacent to the awesome Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, which is technically an on-leash area, but I've certainly seen a lot off... if you're feeling like risking it, and your dog is awesomely well behaved, maybe it could work for you.
posted by mumkin at 8:33 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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