Don’t skimp on outdoor activity if you truly love your dog. A walk around the block is nice, but interacting in a natural environment without a leash is priceless. Imagine the rush of sensory stimulation, the ardor of physical challenge and the immeasurable mental stimulation obtainable in outdoor off-leash dog parks. Here are the six best dog parks in the state, where you can introduce your dog to new experiences not found in your backyard. Learn about three more great parks in St. Paul, one in South St. Paul and another in Burnsville, in “Best Off-Leash Dog Areas In Minnesota.”
Minnehaha Off-Leash Recreation Area
5399 S. Minnehaha Park Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
The south end of Minnehaha Park has over six woodsy acres with everything your dog could want. Your pet will have plenty of water for swimming, massive fallen logs for jumping over, sticks for fetching, holes for digging and squirrels for chasing. Take a path through the forest to a long stretch of sandy beach on the Mississippi and plenty of fun. There are complimentary bags and trash receptacles throughout. Drivers can use the cash or credit parking lot across the street on 54th Street.
625 N.E. Riverside Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Secluded Wilson Park has a large off-leash area at the south end of the park right on a sandy Mississippi River beach surrounded by trees and grass and enclosed in a chain-link fence. Not only is it great for dogs, but also the whole family can picnic at the barbecue pits just outside the fence. Kids can fish, enjoy the playground and play on the basketball courts. This is one of St. Cloud’s nicer dog parks.
Elm Creek Reserve Dog Park
12400 James Deane Parkway
Maple Grove, MN 55369
This 29-acre park is great for dogs with boundless energy as they scurry throughout the stunningly scenic Elm Creek Reserve. Also available for you and your dog to enjoy are the 20 miles of trails and rich woodlands year round. Just remember to have a six-foot, non-retractable leash and to pick up after your pet. You can take your dog into campgrounds on a leash, but not in picnic or beach areas.
Bloomington Dog Park
111th St. between Nesbitt and Hampshire Ave.
Bloomington, MN 55438
This huge park of 25 acres allows for small dogs to have their own area. Owners enjoy the grassy area, hills and trees by walking around the loop a few times while their dogs run free. Water dogs will race to the lake for a swim and all benefit from the dog water fountain. Owners like the park-provided water hose, as the lake is a bit muddy.
Bryant Lake Regional Dog Park
6400 Rowland Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Your pet will love you after one visit to this 9.3-acre, fenced, off-leash play area in Eden Prairie. Beautiful Bryant Lake Park also offers two miles of paved trails with spectacular scenery year round. Bring a six-foot, non-retractable leash for the paved area and remember that picnic and beach areas are off limits.
Keene Creek Dog Park
Grand Ave Exit off Interstate 35
Duluth, MN 55807
Park at 62nd Avenue West just off Grand Avenue or at Bristol just off 63rd Avenue West. Then follow the paved walkway to a double-gated entry to the fenced area. Bring your own water. Choose between the regular area and the small dog area.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.