Elmira is a small town near Eugene in Oregon’s Cascades and Coast Region that lies on the plain between the mountains and the coast. Bordering on Fern Ridge Lake, it is a bedroom community for commuters who work in Eugene and other surrounding towns, and a haven for telecommuters. It’s also a destination for campers who come to the Oregon Country Fair every summer. You can rest easy knowing that there are 3 veterinarians in Eugene only 12 miles away, should your fur-pup become ill or injured during your stay in Elmira.
The Furtherside Campground in Elmira is just one of the family- and dog-friendly places where you can sleep under the stars, whether it be in a tent, RV or camper. Featuring easy access via Suttle Road, the campground is close to the annual Oregon Country Fair location and downtown. The site is mellow and uncrowded, with tent sites available in the meadows, riverfront and forest. Doggos are welcome on leash, and Furtherside provides hot showers, clean portable toilets, food trucks, plenty of parking, and drinking water. Many people return here year after year for the Fair, so there is a feeling of community and inclusion. You and your fur-pup will feel secure and relaxed. Arf!
Whether you and your fur-baby are residents of Elmira or just visiting, you’ll find lots to do here year-round!
Veneta is a mile or so south of Elmira and is home to Zumwalt Park on the shore of Fern Ridge Lake. Zumwalt is a 74-acre county park which welcomes unleashed doggos and their humans, and while it is located near some densely populated neighborhoods, it is a secluded and beautiful site that also serves as a wildlife refuge. Maintained primarily by volunteers who love and appreciate dogs, the park features woodland trails laid with wood chips provided by local utility companies. Be sure to stop by the “Dog Father’s Bench” placed near the beach area on the Oak Meadow, dedicated to a man who has visited the park regularly for over 2 decades and knows all the canine visitors by name. Have a sit and contemplate the sparkling lake and singing birds.
This Veneta neighborhood is where you’ll find the Coyote Creek Nature Trail in the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area. The trail winds along the creek, its wetlands and marshes, where you’ll likely spy ospreys, eagles and herons along with beaver, otter, snakes and other wildlife. Dogs are welcome here on leash, and will have a great time using all their senses to sniff out the critters! If the 2 of you are up for a paddling exploration, put your canoe or kayak in and navigate the canoe trail to get even closer to the wildlife and acquire a different vantage point on the quiet beauty. Note that the canoe trail is open from March through October only to protect the winter habitats of the migrating birds.
The Siuslaw National Forest can be accessed via Route 126 in Mapleton in the Cascades, or via the coast at Newport and Florence along the Pacific Coast Scenic Highway. The forest encompasses more than 630,000 acres that range from dense trees to fields, mountains to beaches, and this varying terrain provides woofderful opportunities for outdoor activities for you and your pooch. The wilderness areas of Drift Creek, Cummins Creek and Rock Creek offer primitive hiking and camping if you like, and many streams afford views of salmon and steelhead trout on their annual spawning trips. This vast and diverse forest is a haven for dogs who love to hike and observe nature with their humans whether in the woods or on the shores of the Pacific!
In this neighborhood of nearby Eugene is the dog-friendly Alton Baker Park, 373 acres with family-oriented activities like disc golf and informal sports fields. It also contains multi-use trails and picnic areas with tables, and a looped walking path that can provide hours of fun and exploration for you and your fur-pup. Located next to the Willamette River, there are also opportunities for fishing and swimming, or paddling on the river with Fido along for the ride. It is also home to the Alton Baker Park Off-Leash Area, which can be reached on Leo Harris Parkway near Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. Featuring a path within it, the fenced dog park is divided into small and large dog sections, and features like mini pools and water buckets with a hose for filling them. For the humans’ comfort, you’ll find lots of shade trees and picnic tables so you can relax and watch the canine mayhem!
This neighborhood in the west part of Eugene is where you’ll find the 35-acre Maurie Jacobs Park, which is leashed-dog-friendly and features an off-street walking path with scenic views of the river as well as lots of vast green space for playing catch and running with your fur-baby or just sitting on the grass and relaxing. A plaza equipped with picnic tables and benches surrounds the playground under large shade trees for those al fresco meals or a beverage while the kiddos play. The Greenway Bridge in this park is the trail-head for the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path, which crosses the Willamette and connects with downtown Eugene and on to Springfield. A multi-use rail trail, it can be picked up in several locations along the river where there is parking and drinking water. Furtastic!