After my dog received all of his immunizations I could hardly wait to take him to a dog park so that he could socialize with other dogs and humans. I was quite overwhelmed by the abundance of breeds at first — even the rare ones featured in dog books, dog walkers and drama. From human politics about dogs to some bratty and unruly dogs stealing tennis balls, there is much to be amused about at a dog park.
Woodland Park is an off-leash park situated on hilly and muddy land and it is not easy to find based on the directions on its website. It’s almost an acre, but feels smaller when there are more than a few dozen dogs. I like that this park is enclosed and small enough that you never lose sight of your dog while you’re talking to a fellow dog owner. It’s close enough to Greenlake, so that when you get bored of standing around that you can walk to Greenlake and run or walk with your dog. The natural shading from the trees protects you from the heat and sun during the summer months. What I don’t like about this park; however, is that the conditions of the park are almost nasty-like with lots of piles of dog poop and mud. There are no complimentary bags to pick up after your dog which might explain the pick-up failures. The water fountain does not work always either.
The Dr. Jose Rizal off-leash park has one of the most beautiful views of Seattle’s skyline. Parking in the area is limited and my husband and me had a hard time finding the entrance to the off-leash section of the park. We parked a couple of blocks over from the park and that confused us with where to enter the park. We took a secluded trail that was dangerous to go down and we still ended up far aware from the park. Along the trail there were lots of makeshift housing being used by the homeless. Be aware of “transient” people near the park as well. As beautiful as the space is, don’t be surprised that you and your dog are the only ones there. The area is minimally maintained and there are lots of areas that need attention. It is located in the Beacon Hill neighorhood across from the Pacific Medical Center and Amazon.
Outside of Seattle
When you want to leave Seattle and visit other parks, the two that I recommend are Marymoor Park and Grandview Park. Both off-leash parks are maintained very well by SODA. Sitting on 40-acres, Marymoor Park is one of the biggest off-leash parks in the area. It is located in Redmond off of Highway 520 and costs $1 for parking. The Marymoor Park is great for both you and your dog for exercising, but you can lose sight of him if he gets too excited and befriends another dog and wants to chase him around. There is lots of drama at this park because at any given time there are at least a couple of hundred dogs running around. I like to go during week days because it is not as crowded as on the weekends. There are bags for you to pick up after your dog and most people do a good job of doing so. The biggest concern is dogs who aren’t trained very well, dog packs from dog walkers and aggressive dogs, so be careful with your family member.
Grandview park is over 35-acres and a lot smaller than Marymoor Park. Sea-tac has a citywide ordinance for certain breeds, such as pitbulls, to be on a leash at all times. This may help you feel comfortable about bringing your dog here. What I like about this dog park is is that it is big enough for your dog to run about, but small enough for you to keep up with him. It has a space for small dogs to play and benches for you to sit and just watch your dog play. This park is clean too.