Dog-Friendly Oregon Elopement Locations You’ll Love
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We all know dogs are not always allowed in the places we love, and they aren’t always allowed at our elopement locations. I know that so many people want their dogs involved in their weddings or elopements (myself included!). But where are they welcome? Are they only allowed in selective locations? Here’s a rundown of places dogs are and are not allowed at outdoor locations you might want to have an epic elopement.
The Columbia River Gorge – Dog Friendly
The Columbia River Gorge is a majestic elopement location. Not only does the Columbia Gorge offer spectacular views of the surrounding nature, but the local waterfalls Multnomah Falls can give you the perfect backdrop. As for bringing your fur friend – they are totally welcome on the trails (on leash).
So if you’re planning a Columbia River Gorge elopement take a look at the 26 waterfalls the park has to offer. Keep in mind some falls are more popular than others with drops ranging in height from 30 to 620 feet.
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Some noteworthy hikes to check out where your doggo is welcome:
Mosier Plateau is a great dog-friendly 3.5 miles round trip trail with 600 ft in elevation.
Many hikes will require that your dog be on leash to preserve the trails and terrain. Also, a number of the trails in the region have steep drop-offs that may be dangerous if your dog was to run free.
Multnomah Falls – The highest of the falls, Multnomah is 620 feet tall and is accessible by vehicle. It has two different drops with a bridge going across. However, as an Oregon elopement photographer familiar with the area, I would say that Multnomah is beautiful to visit, but it isn’t ideal for a wedding. Yes, I know it’s quintessential and what comes to mind when you think of Oregon, but it’s always crowded, which means that it’s impossible to get images free from people. You also need a Portland photography permit to photograph there, so in short—it’s fabulous for hiking or a visit, but there are so many other gorgeous falls to discover.
Latourell Falls (link) – At 249 feet, Latrouell isn’t even half as tall as Multnomah Falls but is my favorite waterfall because it’s beautiful and easily reachable by hiking or car.
Wahkeena Falls – This set has two hiking trails (mentioned above), which allows us to sneak away and capture images after exploring the 242-foot falls.
Be advised that Many popular trails in the Columbia River Gorge were impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire and some remain closed. Before you head out, make sure trails are open with this handy map from Friends of the Columbia River Gorge. For more helpful info on the Columbia River Gorge check out Friends of the Columbia Gorge at https://gorgefriends.org/.
Does this sound like your idea of an epic Oregon elopement? Click here to read more on how to elope in the Columbia Gorge.
Crater Lake – Dog Friendly (but not where it visually counts)
Crater lake is a great option for simple and intimate adventure weddings or elopement. Of course, you’re probably wondering if dogs are allowed at our beloved National Parks! The answer is YES! Yes, but with strict trail restrictions. National parks welcome pets in developed areas, on many trails and campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities (on leash).
At Crater Lake, dogs are welcome on the paved walkway at Rim Village near the Rim Village Visitor Center, which gives you great views of Crater Lake! Plus dogs are also allowed at park campgrounds.
There are a designated set of beautiful trails where dogs are welcome to enjoy the spectacular park scenery.
Lady of the Woods, Godfrey Glen, Annie Spur Trail, Greyback Road, and Pacific Crest Trail are all welcoming to our fur friends.
*Unfortunately dogs are not permitted on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, The Rim Trail, and dogs are not allowed in any body of water in the National Park. For more info visit: https://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/pets.htm
These trails where dogs are allowed do not have any caldera or grand lake views. They are beautiful, but not particularly spectacular.
Does Crater Lake sound like your idea of an epic Oregon elopement?
The Oregon Coast – Dog Friendly
The Oregon Coast is one of the most desired elopement locations, and for good reason.
The landscape has an uncanny ability to create the most majestic images that my couples adore. On the plus side, you can even bring your pup to any beach you want to elope on! I’m sure you’ve seen doggos roaming free on many Oregon beaches, and that is legal (within reason).
On Oregon State Park beaches, pets are welcome on most ocean beaches, however, they must be leashed if you are within the boundaries of a state park and a leash carried with you at all times on the beach. Beyond those areas, leashes are not required although they must be under direct control (within sight and responsive to commands).
Oregon State Parks asks that you have a leash ready in case you’re asked to restrain your pet by a park employee. If you choose to allow your dog to run free on the ocean shores, you are still responsible for their behavior so please make sure they are not interfering with others’ recreational enjoyment or harassing seabirds or other wildlife.
Pets are not allowed on some beaches or at certain times of the year (even on a leash) to protect wildlife, such as western snowy plovers. Snowy plover nesting areas are restricted areas from March 15 – to September 15. Follow rules posted at beach accesses and signs posted in the sand. Dogs are not permitted at all in Dabney State Recreation Area, on Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park, and in Shore Acres State Park. How does a moody Oregon Coast elopement sound to you? To learn more about eloping on the Oregon Coast click here.
Redwood National & State Parks – Not Dog Friendly
Woodland weddings are quite popular nowadays, and it’s no wonder. Being able to sneak away with your love and head into the forest gives off such romantic vibes, especially for couples who wish to elope somewhere more intimate. When it comes to saying “I do” among the trees, there really is no grander, awe-inspiring place than eloping in the coastal redwoods. There are multiple groves and parks to choose from if you want to elope in the Redwoods, and they span from the Oregon/California border and extend southward for hundreds of miles.
Redwoods State and National Parks do not allow pets on any hiking trails. Instead, you can hike with your dog outside of the park boundaries or along gravel roads. Here are some places they are allowed:
Leashed dogs are welcome on trails through scenic old-growth coast redwood forest in Sequoia Park, Eureka.
Dogs are also allowed on the Oregon Redwoods Trail (though this trail does not have particularly impressive trees).
Cal Barrel Road: This gravel road in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park makes for a fantastic dog-friendly walk.
Walker Road: Jedediah State Park also allows dogs to hike on Walker Road. The gravel road runs through an old-growth redwood forest and provides beautiful scenery.
Trinidad Head Lighthouse: Just south of the Redwoods parks, you can find dog-friendly hiking in Trinidad. The Lighthouse trail is a 1.7 mile loop trail with views of the Pacific Ocean.
Does the Redwoods seem like your kinda elopement location? I have some helpful info here on how you can do that.
National Forests – Dog Friendly
National Forests are a popular elopement destination choice for many couples.
Naturally, people are drawn to national forests, and when you think about it, it makes total sense. National forests are the best of the best, and they have so much beauty to offer us, and who would not want to bring a pup along for the adventure.
Umpqua National Forest
What a gem! Umpqua National Forest is located in central Oregon and offers a unique waterfall collection. It’s my favorite area for an Oregon waterfall elopement. I know it like the back of my hand and whether you want to focus on one set of falls or hike around and hit a few, it’s a gorgeous place to have your elopement. Hot springs are also peppered throughout the forest, making for unique images. Although I’m listing popular waterfalls, talk to me about what you want because I have a whole list of lesser-known waterfalls to check out! Lemolo Falls (link) – These beautiful central Oregon falls offer a 150-foot drop. However, these waterfalls are best left for hiking instead of an elopement, as they can be challenging to navigate.
Mt. Hood National Forest
Mt. Hood is another awesome spot to elope with your doggo, that allows you to be among all the beautiful trees and greenery and has many beautiful lakes and waterfalls like Trillium and Timothy lake. The lakes are the perfect spot for an intimate elopement and for your doggo to get a little swim in to cool down. If a National Forest elopement is on your bucket list we can make that happen! Check out my blog on how to elope in a National Forest.
Alvord Desert – Dog Friendly
The Alvord Desert is one of the most unique spots in Oregon. Maybe beaches or forests aren’t your things… Perhaps the idea of hiking up a mountain makes your feet cry out in fear of blisters. Or perhaps you just love the idea of a minimal landscape, where the only thing decorating the landscape is you and your loved one standing side by side. That’s where the Alvord Desert comes in. Your doggo will love the desert just as much as you do – with a fast space to run in, it’s a dog’s paradise. So back up your pup and their favorite ball for the ultimate game of fetch in the desert.
The desert is accessible via the Fields-Denio Highway from Southern Oregon, dipping into Nevada briefly (the shorter way from my house in Roseburg, OR). You can also drive down the 205 from Burns, OR, or the 78 from Burns, OR then turn onto the Fields-Denio Highway. The 205 is longer, but you’ll be driving less on a dirt road.
From there, you will have access to the playa by using an access point like Frog Spring (federal access) or the Alvord Hot Springs entrance.
Painted Hills – Dog Friendly
The pristine Painted Hills National Monument is a sight to be seen with breathtaking landscapes all around. All three units of the Painted Hills National Monument are dog-friendly and accessible with short, paved trails, making it a great location for you and your dog. Dogs are allowed on trails (and roads) so long as they are on a six-foot leash under the control of the owner. Dogs are not allowed off-trail or in any buildings.
If you’re out in the area in the heat of the summer be sure to bring lots of water for your fur friend, and never leave them in the car. The small towns of Mitchel, John Day, and Prineville are a short drive away where you can find all your trip essentials.
It’s also important for both people and dogs to stay on the trails, which pass through sensitive habitats. If you visit, do NOT step on the hills. On top of being disrespectful, it consequently damages the pristine hillside for future visitors. Furthermore, it also damages the geologic data that the hills have. The Painted Hills contain information that educates us about ancient environments. Similarly, some other units in the larger John Day Fossil Beds area house the best specimens of mammal fossils in the United States.
If an epic painted hills elopement is what you’re up for, check out my blog here for more info!
Christmas Valley Sand Dunes – Dog Friendly
The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes are a natural sand dune complex covering 11,000 acres of public land. The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes are remotely located in south-central Oregon, just outside of the town of Christmas Valley. The dunes are at least 2.5 hours from any decent-sized town (like Bend, OR – the closest), but that means they provide isolation and a great place to explore and watch the stars at night. Your fur baby is absolutely welcome in the dunes for the ultimate day of sandy fun. They will love the vast openness and landscape the dunes have to offer. If you want to find out more about eloping in the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, click here.
Do any of these locations tickle your fancy when it comes to including your furry family member? While dogs generally aren’t allowed in places like national parks, there are so many other spots where you can include your dogs for your elopement!