Five Forays for Fido to Hike

It’s that time of year where you want to take a walk everyday because it’s just so lovely and dry outside… but maybe the same few places start to get boring. And yet, it’s not like you can just wander into any old wildlife refuge… what will you do with the dog?  

Well, we’ll tell you. Here are our top five favorite dog-friendly trails. Just don’t forget your dog-waste bags, and respect the other hikers. 

Willamette Park and Natural Area 

Willamette Natural Area is a classic dog-friendly park, but it’s that way for a reason. If somehow you’ve never visited this lovely riverside park and walking trail tucked away in South Corvallis, you’ll love the beautiful views of the river and all the towering oaks. And your dog will love the “off-leash” rules that apply everywhere in the park except for picnic shelters, playgrounds, and the soccer fields. The address is 1350 SE Goodnight Ave. 

Chip Ross Park and Natural Area 

Chip Ross Natural Area is another Corvallis classic, tucked in the hills on the north end of town. The beautiful trails offer stunning views and just a bit of challenge as you hike through dense oak woodland and prairie landscapes. The area is designated “off-leash” for dogs, although it is advisable that humans and their companions alike stay on the trail as much as possible. This helps protect unique wildflowers, and avoid sneaky patches of poison oak. Chip Ross is over 125 acres located on Lester Ave. 

Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area 

Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area has several trails — all of which, like most state parks, are accessible to leashed dogs. The trails wind through gorgeous sunny pastures and along the Willamette River, with lots of beautiful waterside views. Enjoy the sunshine that varies from dappled to full-force along these floral woodland trails. These beautiful trails — open for daytime use year round — lie at the far Northeast end of Corvallis, in Adair Village at the junction of Corvallis, Albany, and Independence.   

McDonald Forest Trails  

In all McDonald Forest trails managed by Oregon State University, dogs must be on leash or under good vocal command, and aggressive dogs are asked not hike the trails. Nevertheless, these are perfect hikes to bring a friendly pooch! Here are a few options:  

Homestead, Extendo and Uproute Trails 

The Homestead, Extendo, and Uproute trails are all accessible from the same trailhead in Western Corvallis, and each offers different treats. The Homestead trail is the shortest and easiest, and is often used for walking dogs. The Extendo and Uproute trails connect to one another creating a loop, and offer a steeper climb through the woods and prairie of the hills. If you and your dog are feeling brave enough for the longer, tougher hike, then the loop has a lot to offer in terms of view and exercise  

Section 36 Loop Trail 

The Section 36 Loop trail is accessible from Peavy Arboretum just north of Corvallis. Meandering in a wide loop, the trail goes through thick old growth forest, and passes the manmade Cronemiller Lake constructed in 1938. This trail is full of history, from the ancient trees and life you’ll enjoy, to the remnants of the area’s use by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 20th century. 

By Ardea C. Eichner