Explore the PNW the Mud Bay Way!
Healthy Dogs | May 3, 2021
Mud Bay is a proud Pacific Northwest company with 60 stores from Bellingham, Washington down to Bend, Oregon. Many of our stores are located near the heart of some of the best hiking that both of these states have to offer. Ellie and I have been exploring these areas for years and are thrilled to share some of our favorite hiking spots that are all within a 100-mile radius of our main local communities – Seattle, Portland, Bellingham, and Bend – and just a drive away from your local Mud Bay!
Before heading out to the trails, you’ll want to make sure that both you and your canine have your 10 essentials packed (check out this 10 Essentials Guide for Your Dog for more information). If you’re missing some essentials, stop by any Mud Bay location on the way to the trailhead to stock up! Don’t forget to check out Ellie’s Essentials, her must-have items listed under each hike.
Sheep Lake Essential
Gold Creek Pond Essential
Heather Lake Essentials
The hiking near Seattle is unlike any other place Ellie and I have explored! Not only is Western Washington home to three National Parks (FYI – dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails), but there are also what seems like limitless wilderness areas to explore. So grab your gear and your pup and check out these wild places!
Wilderness Area: Mount Rainier
Hike Length: 3.6 miles round trip
Distance from Seattle: 88 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Sumner
Sheep Lake is located right outside of Mount Rainier National Park, so not only will the destination take you to a beautiful lake with a lush meadow, but you’ll also get peeking views of Mount Rainier and layers of mountains surrounding this area! This hike is a part of the Pacific Crest Trail and if you’re looking to extend the hike, you can continue on after Sheep Lake.
Ellie’s Essential: Whenever we hike to a lake, I always bring an all-natural insect repellant keep the bugs at bay! Bodies of water often go hand in hand with mosquitoes, and in addition to spraying it all over Ellie, I also spray it on my own gear to help repel ticks and other insects.
Wilderness Area: Snoqualmie Pass
Hike Length: 1 mile loop
Distance from Seattle: 55 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Issaquah
Gold Creek Pond is an all-season hike that can be easily accessed throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons and is a great option for snowshoeing in the winter. This picturesque hike is nestled at the top of Snoqualmie Pass, making it feel worlds away from the busy city life. Another reason we love this hike – it’s ADA accessible! The pond has a paved trail all the way around, making this truly a hike for all!
Ellie’s Essentials: Since we usually hike Gold Creek Pond during winter, we always remember to bring plenty of water and a travel bowl. A good travel bowl will fold flat and comes with a carabiner that we use to clip the bowl onto a backpack. We also use this bowl for both Ellie’s food and water. Because it’s a 2-cup capacity, it’s easy for me to measure out Ellie’s freeze-dried food when we take a snack break!
Wilderness Area: Mountain Loop Highway/North Cascades
Hike Length: 4.6 miles round trip
Distance from Seattle: 57 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Mill Creek
A gradual incline through the moss-covered, old-growth forest brings you to this alpine lake surrounded by a beautiful rock basin. On a calm day, you might experience a lake reflection, wildflowers in the summer, or snow-capped views in the winter. No matter what time of year you hike here, it’s sure to capture the beauty that the PNW has to offer!
Ellie’s Essential: We never forget poop bags whenever we are hiking! We bring bags that fit into a poop bag dispenser that can easily clip to my backpack or Ellie’s when we’re hiking. Because you should ALWAYS pack out your pet’s waste, we also recommend a pack-out bag. A well-made option will give you an odor-free way of carrying waste until you can responsibly throw it away and packing out is the best way to keep our wildlands in their best condition!
Artist Point Essential
Oyster Dome Essentials
Bellingham is a growing city just 80 miles north of Seattle right on the border of Canada. Even if you don’t have time to hike, this place has plenty of dog-friendly parks. Near the base of Mount Baker, it’s only natural that this community is an active one! Some argue that the North Cascades reign supreme in Washington…it’s up to you to get outside and weigh in!
Wilderness Area: North Cascades
Hike Length: 4 miles round trip
Distance from Bellingham: 58 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Bakerview
This day hike is best accessed during the winter as a snowshoe and is sure to deliver vast mountain views. Artist Point takes hikers on a steady incline with peek-a-boo views of multiple peaks, and in your face views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. Experience a PNW winter in all its glory with this snow-covered, can’t miss hike!
Ellie’s Essential: In the winter, it gets cold in this area! We often hike with Ellie’s best friend, Sookie Supernova, a Bernedoodle who gets chilly on our winter adventures. In order to stay warm, Sookie wears a stretch fleece coat! The coat she wears is a lightweight and flexible layer that keeps her warm during adventures without being too heavy.
Get your blood pumping with this hike! The steady incline through this enchanting forest is worth the views at the top. Once through the forest, walk out into the open and onto the rock ledge that acts as a viewpoint. Here you’ll find vast views overlooking Samish Bay and Lummi Island with the Olympics subtly in the background.
Ellie’s Essentials: Probably our most important gear for each hike is Ellie’s leash/collar combination. Right now our go-to leash and collar are Ruffwear’s Crag Collar and Lead. I like it because I can wear it hands-free around my waist or I can quickly adjust it into a normal 6-foot length. Both of these items have been tested through our rigorous outdoor activities and they still look as good as new, but there are plenty of other leads and collar sets for you and your dog to try!
Dog Mountain Essential
Silver Falls Essentials
Top Spur & Timberline Trail Essentials
With Mount Hood, the Oregon Coast, Mount Saint Helens, and more all within easy driving distance of Portland, no matter which way you travel – north, west, east, or south – you’re sure to hit some amazing outdoor recreation areas. Gear up and get outside to see what Oregon has to offer!
Wilderness Area: Columbia River Gorge
Hike Length: 6 miles round trip
Distance from Portland: 59 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Fisher’s Landing
Hike this trail in the springtime and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a wildflower extravaganza! Although we didn’t choose this hike for its namesake, the views throughout this trail are one to marvel. This is another hike where you’ll have quite the incline, but it’s all worth it once you reach the viewpoints.
Ellie’s Essentials: This hike starts in a wooded area, but quickly opens and winds up an exposed mountainside most of the way. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that your dog remains cool throughout the hike. Ellie and I recommend starting your hike earlier in the day and using a cooling vest for your dog in the summer months. This vest is made of a lightweight fabric that keeps your dog cool using an evaporative cooling technique.
Wilderness Area: Willamette Valley
Hike Length: You choose!
Distance from Portland: 54 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay West Salem
Silver Falls State Park is a recreation area in the Willamette Valley with tons of trails to choose from — you decide how hard of a hike and how far you’d like to go! Some of these trails do restrict access to dogs, so just make sure whatever trail you choose is dog friendly and you’re free to wander.
Ellie’s Essential: When we go on long hikes, I always make Ellie carry her gear in her own backpack. While we’ve tried a lot of backpacks in the past, this year we’re trying a backpack that combines a dog harness with dual saddlebags. I’m hoping that this pack will fit snacks, water, poop bags, or any other small items Ellie needs. Don’t forget, your dog needs to start slowly with only a few lightweight items, and the total weight should never exceed 25-percent of their body weight!
Wilderness Area: Mount Hood
Hike Length: 2.1 mile loop
Distance from Portland: 58 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Happy Valley
A short and steep workout, this trail will give you a clear view of Mount Hood once you reach the top. During the spring and summer months, this trail is donned with lovely wildflowers in addition to its expansive mountain views. If you’d like to extend your hike, there are plenty of trails to jump onto, including the Pacific Crest Trail!
Ellie’s Essential: Any time I know we are going to be hiking a steep or long trail, I make sure to bring extra food for both Ellie and I—we want a snack at the end of an intense incline! Ellie loves eating freeze-dried dinners and snacks when I’m prioritizing a high number of calories in a lightweight, easy-to-serve protein-packed form. If we’re going on a shorter hike, a larger bar-shaped treat will provide just enough nutrition to finish the hike.
Proxy Falls Loop Essential
Smith Rock State Park Essentials
Bend, Oregon is surrounded by national forests making this area an outdoor recreators dream throughout the year. Whether you prefer winter or summer activities, there’s always something to do, especially with your dog! Fun fact: this is the home of one of my favorite brands that Mud Bay carries, Ruffwear Performance Dog Gear!
Wilderness Area: Willamette National Forest
Hike Length: 1.6 mile loop
Distance from Bend: 32 miles
Closest Mud Bay to the trailhead: Mud Bay Colorado Crossing
This loop trail leads you to a picturesque waterfall in the Willamette National Forest and can be accessed all year round. In the summer, watch the wildflowers bloom and in the winter, enter a snowy wonderland. This trail is great for all skill levels and is also often used frequently by bird watchers.
Ellie’s Essential: Hiking safely with a dog means being prepared for anything, including accidents. That’s why Ellie and I carry a first aid kit specifically tailored for dogs. Make sure that the kit you choose has all of the basics needed to take care of the most common wounds experienced by dogs on the trail, with a special emphasis on items to treat paw wounds. Comb through the items in the kit beforehand and understand how to use each item in case you do need this item on the trail.
Wilderness Area: N/A
Hike Length: You choose!
Distance from Bend: 28 miles
Closest Mud Bay to trailhead: Mud Bay Robal
This 640-acre recreation area just north of Bend has a variety of trails to choose from! It’s beautiful rock formations make this a popular destination for climbers, so often times when the weather is nice, you’ll see enthusiasts scaling the rock’s walls. The trails at Smith Rock State Park can vary from gentle walks along the river or high-intensity inclines to a vast viewpoint overlooking the park! No matter what trail you take, be prepared to be enthralled by this park’s remarkable land features.
Ellie’s Essential: As you can imagine, Smith Rock State Park has some rough terrain. In order to protect Ellie’s paws from injury, I rub them with paw wax before we start the climb. Ellie also carries a pair of dog boots as a backup paw protection mechanism in case the paw wax isn’t enough. Being prepared for a paw injury is something I take very seriously while hiking, and I know that with a first aid kit, paw wax, and boots, we are as prepared as we can be.
Hiking with your dog is extremely beneficial for them physically and mentally! Being prepared for both yourself and your pup is crucial while recreating in outdoor spaces. If you’re looking for more resources not just for where to hike, but tips and tricks to help create a pleasant outdoor experience, Ellie and I recommend these resources that we use whenever we go outside
A nonprofit organization dedicated to making trails accessible for everyone in Washington state, WTA has a wonderful website full of education for outdoor enthusiasts. This site (and free phone app) also has a “hike finder” feature with a dog-friendly filter where Ellie and I often turn when looking to find hikes in new and exciting places! WTA provides the different features for each hike, directions to the trailhead, complete hike description, and which pass you’ll need to recreate in that particular area!
This resource comes in both a website and a free phone app (upgrade to AllTrails Pro with more features for an additional fee) and gives information on trails all over the world! AllTrails has a great filter to find different hikes that are dog-friendly and the ability to download the trail map if needed. With engagement from users all over the world, you’re guaranteed to find some awesome hiking using AllTrails!
BONUS: Are you ready to upgrade your hiking to overnight backpacking?! Check out our Mud Bay Adventure Series blog on Prepping for Overnight Adventures With Your Dog! Ellie and I cover the lightweight gear we recommend if you’re looking to extend your adventure.
Please respect land-use rules and guidelines. If your dog is not allowed in a wilderness area, it is imperative to follow these rules in order to keep you and your dog safe, protect wildlife in the area, and to protect and maintain the ecosystem for future generations.