14 Close-to-Seattle Off-Leash Dog Areas
By Dana Standish
February 19, 2015
All the spots your pup can cavort without fear of reprimand
South Lake Union, 100 Dexter Avenue N
A tiny (.1-acre) graveled area inside the city’s oldest park, surrounded by beautiful towering trees, rhododendrons and azaleas. A nice touch: a fire hydrant situated inside the dog area, for dogs with a sense of humor. Better than being on a leash, but its small size would not be satisfying for active dogs.
Lower Kinnear Park
Queen Anne, 899 W Olympic Place
Dogs are required on-leash in the upper portion of the 5,400-square-foot pocket park located on the west side of Queen Anne’s majestic Kinnear Park. Though walk down the steps to the lower park where dogs can run off-leash amid towering trees, native vegetation and (on-leash) nature paths offering views westward over Elliott Bay. No ADA accessibility; see website opposite page for parking details.
Plymouth Pillars Park
Capitol Hill, Boren & Pike
This .2-acre park is squeezed in near Interstate 5, within walking distance of the retail core, with a scenic view of downtown. Perfect for city dogs looking for some fresh air, but its narrow configuration doesn’t leave much room for serious romping. Bonus: a human/dog drinking fountain of singular design. No parking, no restrooms.
Belltown, 2251 Third Avenue
This petite (.3-acre) urban pocket park, decked in concrete and mulch and ringed in cyclone fencing is a true reflection of the ’hood—with local characters and community spirit in equal measure. Don’t come here if you want to disappear in a corner with your dog. No parking, heavy traffic.
Blue Dog Pond
Mount Baker, 1520 26th Avenue S
A .3-acre basin located in Sam Smith Park, near I-90 in southeast Seattle. Its sunken configuration presents serious drainage issues, but the (muddy) dogs sure were having fun. Easy parking, no restrooms, sculptures scattered throughout the off-leash area.
Magnolia Manor Park
Magnolia, 3430 27th Avenue W
Part of a larger area owned by Seattle Public Utilities, this half-acre park is one of the only places Magnolia’s pooches can run free. Very clean; maintained by a group of fervid volunteers. Central gravel area, surrounded by a wood-chip path; easy parking; running water; no shelter or shade.
Haller Lake, 12718 First Avenue NE
Near the NE 130th Street exit from I-5, this park’s nearly .7-acre off-leash area offers walking trails, several open play spaces, running water, easy parking, restrooms and several benches for people. This is the park of choice for North Enders, whether it’s sunny or rainy, because of the excellent tree coverage.
Phinney Ridge, 1000 N 50th Street
Located near the Woodland Park Zoo, Woodland’s 1-acre dog zone definitely gets the “most improved” award. Parks employees and volunteers have turned what used to be a soggy mud pit into a dry, attractive area. Benches, running water, towering trees, good parking, restrooms nearby.
Golden Gardens Park
Ballard, 8498 Seaview Place NW
This popular 1-acre park offers a small/shy dog area, a large picnic shelter, shade trees and a scenic (on-leash) trail through the woods to the beaches of Puget Sound. Happy dogs, friendly people; easy parking and restrooms nearby.
Eastlake, under I-5, south of E Howe Street
This 1.2-acre creative use of free space under I-5 features crushed-gravel paths wending among concrete tiers and stairs. A bonus: It shares the space with a boardwalk-like mountain bike trail, where would-be Evel Knievels try to avoid breaking their necks. Altogether, an otherworldly experience. Running water, decent street parking.
Genesee Park and Playfield
Columbia City, 4316 S Genesee Street
Located near Seward Park, this 2.5-acre dog area offers a broad, graveled area fringed by grass. No shelter from sun or rain, and no small-dog area, but there’s a strong sense of community, as expressed on the bulletin board, and friendly people and dogs. Bonus: a doggie drinking fountain and easy parking; bathroom nearby.
Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Beacon Hill, 1008 12th Avenue S
This 4-acre parcel on the north side of Beacon Hill offers spectacular views westward over Puget Sound and the port of Seattle, and there’s plenty of open space and a gravel walking path. The park is clean, with lots of tree shelter and seating, but because of its proximity to the transient encampment known as “The Jungle,” locals advise against visiting alone or at night. No bathroom or water.
West Seattle, 9000 Eighth Avenue W
Surprise! A park many dog people have never heard of turns out to be one of the best. Located on a hill in southwest Seattle, this 4-acre enclosed area offers numerous open spaces and paths, and ample sitting space for people. Parking, shelter, restrooms, picnic and play areas nearby, and a magnificent (on-leash) hiking trail just outside the off-leash area.
Warren G. Magnuson Park
Sand Point, 7400 Sand Point Way NE
Where to start on this divine, 9-acre nirvana for dogs and people? A winding trail for human exercise, birdwatching along the way, a small/shy dog area, good drainage, ample parking, restrooms, ADA accessibility, a strong community of regulars—all this, as well as the only city-sanctioned dog swimming beach. The only downside: Very heavy use by dog walkers occasionally results in dog logjams and skirmishes along the trail, but these are rare. Heaven for man and beast.
You can grab big off-leash acreage in less than a half-hour
For truly epic off-leash rambling, head just beyond the city limits to Marymoor Dog Park in Redmond (6046 W Lake Sammamish Parkway NE; $1 parking fee is so worth it). Opened in 1963, this 40-acre mix of grass meadow, woods and river-swimming access serves as a national gold standard for off-leash areas. Grandview (SeaTac, S 228th St.), opened in 2003 by Serve Our Dog Areas, the same nonprofit organization that maintains Marymoor, isn’t as pastoral, but still boasts 37 acres of fields and trails, plus views of Mount Rainier. Details for both parks at soda.org.
Want more pets? Read our full story: 31 Reasons Pets Love Seattle