Metro Area Dog Parks
By Jan Carr
Last revised: September 20, 2009
This is a run-down of the 44 dog parks in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area - including Battle Creek Dog Park. I have not visited them all, but I have added a description for those I have. All require a dog license, which is intended to insure that your dog has been inoculated against rabies. Where a permit is required, enforcement is generally hit or miss; that is, if you are stopped, they will usually give you a warning if you are pleasant.
Resident vs Non-Resident Permit Fees: See note at end of this document.
Boarding/Training: See end of this document for list of local training and boarding facilities.
Best Of Minnesota: Dog Park
Matt Brickman and his dog, Gus, go in search of Minnesota's best dog park--and find Battle Creek Dog Park, Matt Brickman reports (4:12). ~April 2012
Note: See a map at the bottom of this page, by Minnehaha Media, for a visual overview of where the parks are located.
The only dog park in St. Paul (east side) run by the city; no permit required, but your dog must have a license.
Large (4.5 acres), completely fenced, wooded, trails but no water access (for swimming).
There are four off-leash areas in Ramsey County, none of which require a permit at present. Fencing: all 4 parks are fenced in. Here is a link for more info. Go to “Locations”, click on “brochure” for directions to each.
I have offered my personal comments on the four, since none are described in the above link.
Battle Creek Dog Park (St. Paul/Maplewood).
Best of Minnesota: Dog Park by WCCO (watch video)
The OLA (off leash area) is 35 acres and encompasses the areas which have traditionally been used by dog people for the past 10 years. A fence has been installed around the entire perimeter.
Altogether, BC is one of the best dog parks in an urban setting anywhere in the country, especially if you like walking trails with your dog.
There are several ponds, but they are often muddy and full of algae. If your dog is a swimmer, Minnehaha (Minneapolis) is a better choice, since it runs along the river.
Directions: Hwy 94 east, exit McKnight road (right, or south), left on Upper Afton road, look for parking lot on right.
There is also a parking lot on Lower Afton Road -- turn left off McKnight, turn left into parking lot (about one block).
Otter Lake (White Bear Township).
I liked this park a lot. It's open, undulating terrain, with many trees, good for trail walking. Park is now completely fenced (9-09), and there is a separately fenced area for small dogs. No water access. 10 acres.
Directions: 35 E, R @ County J, R @ Otter Lake Road, .7 of mile on left
User Group Location/Map
Popular because it is one of the few dog parks in the area with a fenced area for small dogs and puppies.
However, the main park area is unfenced, unattractive, and bordering a marshy area -- so your dog is likely to get muddy. Not heavily used. Just across the city border at Larpenter and Dale. 4 acres.
Rice Creek (Shoreview).
Basically, it is a huge, treeless meadow, with a path around it. Good if you and your dog like wide open spaces, but not very interesting. Does have a smallish pond. 13 acres.
Directions: 35E, west on Hwy 96, R @ Lexington Ave, park is on left just after Hamline Ave intersection.
Map: see here
White Bear Lake (city) Website
The city of White Bear Lake apparently has 3 “unofficial” dog parks, but no mention of any on their website. The parks below have been mentioned; try calling Brad Fortin (Parks Director) at 651-429-8566.
Lakewood Hills Park
Matoska Park – adjacent to the public beach on the lake, providing lake access to dogs. Lake Avenue And 7th St., No fence, keep dogs in assigned area (and away from the public beach).
9-06-08 I visited this off-leash park today, and if you like to walk with your dog along a pleasant trail in wooded surroundings, this is a great place — and well worth the trip. My dogs loved it.
The main area is an open, mowed meadow, larger than a football field, with no trees.
There is a very nice trail (about a mile long, 12’ mowed path) that circumvents the open meadow, and runs through a forested area, with a few benches for rest stops.
No permit required, but they claim you must have a dog license from the city of Woodbury (which is probably not enforceable as long as you have a license from another jurisdiction). Porta-potty on site: no water access for swimming dogs. 70 acres. Fencing around most of the perimeter, but your dog still needs a solid recall.
Directions: Hwy 94 (east), south on Hwy 95 (Manning Drive), Right on Dale Road. 11644 Dale Road, Woodbury 55129 (NB. Dog park is up a gravel road, off Dale Road) Map
April, 2011 – A 14 acre dog park was approved, and a nonprofit group has been organized to raise money.
More Info Facebook
South St. Paul
Completely fenced, large (6.3 acres), flat, grass covered area, with two small shelters (big enough for a single picnic table). No trees, no trails, Double gates, no water access for dogs. Nice trails outside the OLA (along the Mississippi river), but dog must be on leash. $20 permit required, but enforcement will be lenient until park is established.
As monies become available through permit revenue, trees will be planted, walking trails established, and will probably erect a fenced area for small dogs.
The OLA is the first amenity set up on this old landfill site (55 acres total) that runs along the Mississippi.
Directions: From STP: Hwy 52, exit Concord (left toward SSP), about 2 miles, left on Bryant, follow road ½ mile, OLA on left. Plenty of parking.
Park Info Map Link
City of Lauderdale
A very small, fenced in dog park (no trees) was opened September 2008. No info on city website, but it is located in Lauderdale Community Park (northeast part of the park, along Fulham St, between the parking lot and the hockey rink).
Not worth the trip, unless you live in the neighborhood.
There are two parks in Dakota County - 16 and 7 acres, both completely fenced. Alimagnet Dog Park was voted third best dog park in the country by Dog Fancy Magazine in 2009.
Dakota Woods Dog Park (Rosemount)
16470 Blaine Avenue East, south of CR 46 (160th Street E), in the center of Dakota County, near Coates
16 acres, completely fenced, wooded trails, 3 acre open field, no water access for dogs.
Permit required: $42.85 annual, $5 day pass (available at trailhead)
Alimagnet Dog Park (Burnsville).
This 7 acre dog park was recently voted the third best in the country by Dog Fancy magazine. Completely fenced, walking trail around park, nice pond for water access. Separate fenced area for small dogs. On the small side, but nicely designed with great amenities (heated shelter, lighting, dog washing station, heated water bowls).
A permit fee ($20) for regular users is recommended, but not required.
Has 8 dog parks; 3 are located within the downtown area (Loring, North Loop, and Gateway). Requires a use permit -- $35 per year for residents, $60 for non-residents. (See note at the end of this document about Resident vs Non-Resident permits).
With the notable exception of Minnehaha, the model used for dog parks in Minneapolis could be termed “dogs in a box”. That is, they are basically relatively small open spaces (fenced) where people stand around and the dogs interact –not worth the trip unless you live close by.
The jewel of the system is Minnehaha, which is very large (not completely fenced) with trails for walking, river access along a very long, sandy beach. Actually much larger than the 4.3 acres noted; Some fencing, but your dog needs a solid recall for this park. Take quarters for parking meters, towels for wet dog, and brush to remove sand. FYI: I've been there about a half dozen times with my dogs without a permit, and have never seen any of the park police checking -- but occasionally they do. IMO this is the best dog park in the metro area.
Address: 5399 S Minnehaha Park Drive
Columbia Park Map
Fenced, parking lot nearby, mainly used for exercise by neighborhood residents. Listed at 2.3 acres, but it seems smaller than that.
Address: 700 St. Anthony Parkway
Franklin Terrace Map
Fenced, on-street parking only. Large open plot (1.6 acres), with tiny wooded area on one side of the park. Mainly for the ball throwing crowd.
Address: 925 Franklin Terrace
Lake of the Isles Map
Completely fenced, one large open area (3.6 acres), contiguous smaller open area, on-street parking only. Heavily used, but not very interesting. Separately fenced area for small dogs.
Address: 2845 E Lake of the Isles Parkway
Loring Park Map
Beautifully appointed, but tiny (.23 acre). Next to Minneapolis Community College, at the north end of Loring Park.
Address: Near Maple St. and Harmon Place
North Loop Map
6000 Sq Ft
Address: 3rd St. N and 7th Ave. N.
Address: 4th Ave S, bet. 10th and 11th St. S
Airport Dog Park
This is an 80 acre, unofficial site (no permit required), on property owned by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), where they allow dogs. Not completely fenced, large meadow with some trees, adjacent to marsh area (muddy). Very pleasant and heavily used, but since it is near airport runways, it's noisy. Large parking lot (for MAC office) next to park. Small irritant: there are no garbage cans for dog poop, and they ask that you take your poop bags with you for disposal elsewhere (I put poop bags under my windshield wiper).
Directions from St. Paul: West 7th to Hwy 494 to Hwy 55 to Hwy 62. Take 28th Avenue exit, turn left (south toward airport), look for MAC building and parking lot on right, about a block before road terminates.
More info: Website
One park, no permit required, 25 acres, mostly open meadow, with some trails along perimeter, and a nice (small) pond for water access. Was not completely fenced when I visited, but I understand it now is.
Dog Park USA: link here
Yahoo Discussion group for this park: link here
St. Louis Park
Two parks, one official, one unofficial.
Permit: $25/year residents, $50/year non residents. No info on size, fencing, amenities:
Located at the southeast edge of Dakota Park (27th and Dakota Ave)
Bass Lake Preserve
Not listed on the SLP website, but off leash area said to exist here
Three Rivers Park District
(Hennepin, Carver, Scott Counties)
They have 6 off-leash dog parks; I have visited 4 of the 6 parks, and have included my comments under each.
Three Rivers opened their first dog park in 1983, and is considered by many to be one of the best dog park systems in the country. The 4 I have seen are thoughtfully designed (for dogs and people), well cared for, and sited in very pleasant natural areas.
All require a permit ($30/year), but you can buy a daily pass at each site for $5 (with an honor box). The pass stays with your car in the parking lot, so you can take multiple dogs. Enforcement is quite strict.
With the exception of Crow-Hassan, all are completely fenced,
In addition to the off-leash areas noted below, many of the Three Rivers Parks have officially designated “dog walking trails” ---but dogs must remain on leash. See this link for list: Dog Walking Trails List
Bryant Lake Regional Park (Eden Prairie)
9.3 acres, completely fenced, separately fenced small/frail dog area, fenced pond with gate access, toilet, but no drinking water.
9-19-09 this is a very nice, heavily used OLA. Basically there is one trail around the perimeter (with some stretches that can be a little treacherous), with a couple of nice open areas where people and dogs congregate. As with any storm pond after a dry period, this one was pretty much covered with duckweed.Not worth a trip unless you are in the area.
Carver Park Reserve (Victoria, west of Chanhassen)
27 acres, completely fenced. Separate fenced area for small dogs.
Cleary Lake Regional Park (Prior Lake)
28 acres, completely fenced, fenced wetland pond. Drinking water and toilet on site. 27 miles from STP. 9-28-08 – one of the best designed dog parks I have seen -- great for dogs and owners. There is a system of meandering trails with a couple of grassy meadows (with a bench) where you and your dog can stop for a breather. Terrain is open with no forested areas. The swimming pond is fenced off, so you have the option of letting your dog have access. This is a storm water pond, and several of the people I spoke with said that some dogs have become sick after swimming. However, both my dogs had a swim and suffered no ill effects.
Heavily used. Cleary Lake was a 30 minute drive from St. Paul, and well worth the trip.
Crow-Hassan Park Reserve
(Hanover, just west of Rogers)
40 acres, unfenced, no small dog area, nice picnic area, toilet on site, but no drinking water. 9-20-09 I would agree completely with the description below. This is the best off-leash dog park I have seen in the metro area. There is a long, spectacularly beautiful path along the Crow River (with dog access), through a mature forest. My dogs loved this area so much, we did not walk over to the other side of the park with trails through open fields.
If you are ever looking for a day trip destination with you dog, this park is well worth it; pack a lunch for the picnic area which abuts the parking lot.
Address: 12595 Park Dr, Rogers, MN 55374 / 42 miles from STP.
Directions: Hwy 94, exit Hwy 241 (left), Left on Hwy 22, dog park on left.
Description from one of our members (Ross Peterson, 7-08):
Crow Hassan is REALLY nice with several long wood chipped trails, about 20 acres heavily wooded and 20 acres open field. Very "wild" compared to even Elm Creek and down right wilderness compared to "in town parks". It is bordered on one side by the Crow river with excellent dog swimming and later in the summer it gets shallow enough for the dogs to romp on the sand bars.
Elm Creek Park Reserve (near Maple Grove)
29 acres, completely fenced, separately fenced area for small/frail dogs, smallish fenced pond (with gated access), toilet, but no drinking water; about 26 miles from St. Paul. 9-20-09 – I agree with Ross Peterson’s assessment. Nice park, with one long section of trail through a wooded area; but if you make a trip to this area, go to Crow-Hassan instead, which is about 10 miles away.
Description from one of our members - Ross Peterson (7-08):
Elm Creek is very nice too. It gets heavy use and it shows in some areas, but still nothing like urban dog parks. At busy times the parking lot overflows. I'd guess that's like 30 cars. Like Crow Hassan it has long wood chipped trails, woods, field, swamps and a shallow pond to romp in. (Ruby my coonhound loves that thing) There's a nice hilltop overlooking a big field where the dogs can really rip around while in full view so that's cool. Great for tennis ball chasers.
It is completely fenced with a double gate entry, poop bag dispenser, poop cans, outhouse, quite a few picnic tables scattered about.
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve (near Lake Sarah)
40 acres, fenced, free parking, restrooms, separately fenced area for small/frail dogs. 36 miles from St. Paul.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
Run by Carver County. Permit: $5/day, $22 annual. Fenced pond, small dog area, .8 mile walking trail, but total acreage of OLA not noted.
Egan Park (northwest Plymouth)
10 acres, unfenced, but apparently has at least some natural barriers, no permit required. No map available.
Dog Park USA link to this park.
No info, but three dog parks listed on Crystal web site: here
See also: here
Eden Prairie has six dog parks, but four of them are hockey rinks which are used for OLA’s during the off-season.
Staring Lake Park
A 5.7 acre wooded area that is closed to dogs during the winter months (for cross country skiing).
7171 Flying Cloud Drive
They have one other fenced dog park that is open year round at this location.
No annual permit fee, but a dog license is required (from any jurisdiction.)
Eden Prairie OLA pamphlet with map
See also dog park in Bryant Lake Park Reserve, run by Three Rivers Parks District.
One OLA, located at Van Valkenburg Park.
$25 annual permit fee for residents. $50 for non-residents.
The city of Woodbury has opened an OLA (see above), but there are no dog parks in the four Regional or four County parks operated by Washington County.
North Metro Area
A single county dog park is available, but they are apparently discussing the possibility of adding one more (5-09).
Locke County Park (Fridley)
1.5 acres, fenced., no permit required. Dog Park USA link here
Address: 450 71st Avenue NE
Trackside Dog Park (Coon Rapids)
Run by the city of Coon Rapids, 4 acres, completely fenced (with separate area for small dogs), no permit required.
Brookdale Park (Brooklyn Park)
7650 June Avenue North (off Brooklyn Blvd). Not sure if it is completely fenced yet, pond access, no permit required.
Boarding, Training, Indoor Off Leash Activities
Resident vs Non-Resident User Fees
June 20, 2008:
Any park designated as “Regional” cannot charge differential rates for residents and non-residents. All parks with this designation receive substantial funding from the Met Council, and they insist on one rate for all users.
Minneapolis is the one system requiring a permit that violates this policy, since one of their eight parks (Minnehaha, along the river) is a designated Regional Park.
It is not clear if they are still allowed to charge different rates if only one park in the system is “regional” and the rest are regular city parks. But if you are a non-resident buying a permit, you should raise the issue.
Map of Twin Cities Dog Parks
More about the map:
2013 edition: The Twin Cities Dog Lovers "Run Play Wag" Map is a complete map of off-leash dog areas including acreage, amenities and permit requirements.
The map is produced by Minnehaha Media which is a division of Hedberg Maps, Inc..
They'll customize this map for places like Veterinarians who want to promote active dogs and provide this map to their clients.