By: Mia Smith
Bend is bounteous with dog parks, thanks to its dog-friendly culture. Luckily, I have a car and free time to take my own precious dog, Apollo, to a few of the most highly-recommended dog parks in Bend. After much consideration about each of the 5 spots I visited, I’ve ranked them so that next time your dog wants to play fetch, you know where to go.
To start, I love Pine Nursery Dog Park. Coming in as the most highly recommended unanimously by my sources, this is one I agree with. It’s massive, coming in at a whopping 14 acres. Pine Nursery dog park had the most diverse landscape and most inclusive structure, with both a big dog and small dog area. While it can get muddy at times in less-than-prime weather, there’s enough space for dry ground to be found. It’s located in a quiet corner on the Eastside; while far away, it’s worth the drive for the quality and enjoyment of the spot. One of my favorite things about this spot is the popularity: it’s always packed with tons of other dogs, letting them socialize and play more than just fetch.
OVERALL RATING: 4.8/5
Discovery Park: the Westside’s idea of Central Park. Though small and flat, the dog park in Discovery Park is quite popular and fun. There’s always a ton of other dogs and owners, the smaller space makes it easier to wrangle in your dog and it’s a fundamental aspect of Northwest Crossing. Plus, it’s kid-friendly and easily accessible. It’s a little small, and can get a little muddy, but overall it’s great for a quick run-around. Highly recommended by other dog owners, Discovery is a great neighborhood spot for owners and dogs alike. While not my top location, it’s convenient and enjoyable.
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5
BIG SKY PARK
“Big Sky Recreation Facilities”. Sounds fancy, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, Big Sky lived up only to its name: the sky out there is, indeed, big. And when I say “out there”, I mean out there. Located several miles beyond the town limits, with no real fencing, landscape, or excitement besides a mediocre field, Big Sky as a ‘dog park’ is an overstatement. I will say, on a clear day it’s beautiful; the big open sky certainly earns the park its name. However for a ground-dweller like myself (and Apollo) this wasn’t the park for us.
OVERALL RATING: 1/5
Next, we go to Riverbend Park. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. I had a preconceived idea of a dusty, small, boring park. Now, after taking Apollo there, I couldn’t agree more. The sights of the river, the access to the Old Mill, the bustling activity of other visitors in the surrounding area makes this a fantastic and fun place to be. Great location, great atmosphere, great quality. The only downside comes in the dusty ground material, which can be hard to handle in the summer. Luckily, the river is right there to give some reprieve.
OVERALL RATING: 4.7/5
Located deep in the Eastside suburbs, Hollinshead Park is perfect for dog owners close to the area. Expansive and quiet, it gives visitors a reprieve from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life. Unfortunately, its functionality gets called into question when one sees the wide-paneled fencing and lack of protective measures for those dogs who like to play hide-and-seek. It’s beautiful and pleasant, but isn’t the most practical park in the city.
OVERALL RATING: 4.2/5