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I grew up on a farm in Oregon, and we always had a dog or 2. Every morning at 0430 I'd feed & water my dog & clean out his pen before taking care of the horses, cattle, & catching the bus to school. My husband's in the AF, & we have no pets, so I've really missed dogs. Luckily, I've been able to do some dog-sitting for several weeks while in grad school. I'm excited to be able to spend more time with dogs while walking them, & being outdoors, which is something else I love!
Sitting pretty on the banks of the lower Umqumpta River, Elkton, OR is a tight-knit community of just about two hundred or so souls. What the tiny town lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty, however -- not only is Elkton surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery that this part of Oregon has to offer, but it also has no shortage of manmade wonders. It’s no surprise that tourists flock here to see the gorgeous Butterfly Pavilion and gardens. Not only that, but Elkton is beginning to make a name for itself in winemaking and bass fishing! There’s no veterinary practice in town, unfortunately, but you’ll find a variety of clinics to take good care of your buddy in nearby Sutherlin.
Elkton is a bit too small to sustain its own dog park, but you and your pooch are still sure to sniff out something to do! There are some furrifically fur-friendly hiking trails in the area, and you two won’t find it too difficult to find a pretty place to stretch all six of your legs. And, if your furry friend needs a fenced area to run free in, don’t fret -- you’ll find some pawesome off-leash exercise options just a short drive away!
While you and your pooch are in town, you’d need to be barking mad not to pay a visit to the Elkton Community Education Center! The center is the pride of Elkton -- out of the 195 citizens of the town, 115 are volunteers. Your buddy won’t be able to come inside the visitor’s center, of course, but you two are free to wander around the historic Fort Umqua, a restored 19th-century trading post. Make sure you two don’t leave without checking out the park and gardens, and, of course, the famous butterfly pavilion! Don't forget to bring plenty of waste bags with you to keep this area tidy.
You’ll need to drive about thirty minutes from Elkton to get to Sutherlin Dog Park, but once your pooch is let loose in this pawesome dog run, you two might decide the trip was worth it! There’s plenty of room in both the small and large dog areas for your pup to leap about to their heart’s content, as well as a shaded glade to sniff and explore and plenty of seating for tired owners. As an added bonus, the park is hilly, so your furry friend is guaranteed some extra canine cardio! Afterward, you two can chow down at Pedotti’s Italian Restaurant, a local gem that welcomes doggy diners outside.
Make no bones about it -- if your pooch likes hiking, they’ll love a trip to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area! The park is a popular spot for campers, and it’s easy to see why -- you could spend days or even weeks exploring this huge preserve. There’s a trail here for every age and ability, running through woodland, wetland, serene lakeside vistas, and along the seashore itself. Your pooch is welcome as long as they’re leashed, but be sure to bring your own bags and water. It’s also a good idea to look up a trail map before you go, as some hikes are much more challenging than others!
If your pooch likes to swim as part of their off-leash exercise, then Champion Park in Reedsport is a real mutts-visit! Pooches here have their own slice of Scholfield Creek to splash about in, and any water-loving pup is sure to have a whale of a time doing just that! Dogs are allowed off-leash in the whole of Champion Park, so your fur-ball also has access to several large fields ideal for games of tug-of-war and catch. There’s also a small, enclosed dog run, just in case you and your four-legged friend feel more secure in a fenced area. Bags and water are provided.
Cooper Creek Reservoir Park in Sutherlin is a little-known hiker’s haven! The 160-acre reservoir is bordered on all sides by a walking and biking trail, so you’re guaranteed a good view of the lake as you walk. Careful, though -- the trail features some steep inclines, so while this hike is a great opportunity for fitter furry friends looking for a challenge, it’s not suitable for less athletic animals. Don't fret if you have a couch pup-tato, though! You’ll find a couple of easier, tree-shaded trails in the park itself. Remember to bring bug spray; otherwise, you and your buddy will be scratching all the way home!
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