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Parks your dog (and you) will love

Crowded urban landscapes can be a challenge for dog owners, but Seattle’s 6,400 acres of parklands make it easy for pooches and their pals to hang out. In addition to 14 off-leash areas where canines can run free, a number of parks have that special “something” to set tails wagging. Here are some favorites for dogs both social and shy, in no particular order:

Dog Central: Green Lake Park
The circular path in Seattle’s most visited park is a dog’s dream, where hardly a step can be taken without meeting new canine friends. Leashes sweetly entangle while everyone stops to admire other breeds or compare notes. Plus, you get a 2-in-1: exercise and social time around the 2.7-mile paved loop in one of the city’s prettiest parks.

Lincoln Park
Two- and four-legged creatures need variety, and Lincoln Park offers plenty while feeling far away from the urban environment. Five miles of trails skirt the water’s edge and meander through the forest. You and the puppy can tackle steeper trails or stroll along the flat shoreline, spotting bird and marine life along the way. If you both like solitude, it can usually be found in this park.

Seward Park
Another large park with wonderful features, Seward Park feels like an inside-out Green Lake: a paved 2.4 mile loop follows the outer rim of a forested peninsula that juts into Lake Washington. You and Rover can walk, jog or run in a circle through dappled shade and sun, passing water fowl and boats afloat on the lake. Or cut through the old growth trees that blanket the middle of the park, where forest-dwelling creatures will catch a dog’s eye.

Myrtle Edwards Park
For a flat run or walk with incredible views and the scent of salt water, you can’t beat Myrtle Edwards Park. Dual-track trails separate the walkers and joggers from cyclists, so you and your dog can find a rhythm on a straight line from point A to B. Connect up with the Port of Seattle’s Centennial Park (home of the grain elevator and the fishing pier) and double Spot’s view of shore birds.

Magnuson Park
The granddaddy of all dog hangouts, Warren G. Magnuson Park has the only off-leash area (over 8 acres!) with water access, as well as 350 acres of other paths to explore on-leash. When the pup tires of splashing, you can have some alone time in the small/shy dog off-leash area, or slip on your pup’s leash and head out to one of the flat trails criss-crossing this huge complex of open space, shoreline, recreation fields and historical buildings. To lengthen your outing, Magnuson Park is less than mile from the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Things to remember: Leash laws apply in all Seattle Parks (except in the off-leash areas) per the Seattle Municipal Code. Dogs are prohibited, even on leash, on beaches, athletic fields, and children’s play areas.