One Foot in Front of the Other

If you adopted a pet during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re one of many in the Seattle area who added a furry friend to their family. I also adopted a puppy back in June, a Doberman husky mix named Korra. I knew having a dog would help improve my mental health, but it’s also helped me get outside more, something I’m grateful for as the pandemic goes on.

One of my favorite ways to get us out of the house is to take her to parks where we can both have fun. Korra loves to run and play, so an area where she can be off-leash and meet lots of new friends is a dream for her. But taking her out also allows me to enjoy some fresh air, stretch my legs and get a huge serotonin boost from watching Korra and a pack of other cute dogs play their hearts out.

Here are three of Korra’s favorite Seattle-area parks that provide a nice walk within the off-leash dog park areas, but also have additional paths and trails for further exercise and exploration. Additionally, all three parks have a separate fenced-off area for smaller dogs so no pup is left behind!

Golden Gardens

8498 Seaview Place N.W., Seattle; 206-684-4075; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/golden-gardens-park

The off-leash area at Golden Gardens in Ballard is 1 acre and has both flat and elevated portions for your dog to run free.

The park also has some obstacle-course equipment like hurdles and a ramp if you’d like to practice agility training with your pooch. However, if your dog is like mine, other dogs and people will be much more enticing.

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If you want to walk outside of the off-leash area, there are a few trails around the park and a path adjacent to the beach that provides for a short, scenic walk. However, dogs are not allowed on beaches in Seattle, so keep that in mind when you visit.

Note that the off-leash and beach areas have separate parking lots, so you’ll have to walk or drive between them. If walking from the dog park, there is a staircase that goes down to a closed-off street. From there, a few steps to the right will lead you to a short tunnel that opens out to the beach area.


Magnuson Park

7400 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle; 206-684-4946; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/magnuson-park

Korra splashes around with a stick at the beach portion of the off-leash area at Magnuson Park.   (Yasmeen Wafai / The Seattle Times)

The off-leash area at Magnuson Park is 8.6 acres and what sets it apart from the others on this list is the beach area just for dogs! This park is flat, so no need to worry about any hills or stairs like the other two parks.

The park has both gravel and grass areas for play and, because it is so spacious, it’s good for social distancing.

While your dog could get spent on the main area of the park alone, there is a short trail that leads down to the beach area for even more fun where dogs can splash around and swim. Keep in mind this portion of the park is smaller and can get crowded on weekends.

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If you love to completely spoil your dog, this park also has a Seattle Barkery treat trailer in the parking lot from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Outside of the off-leash area, there are several trails to choose from within the park, including the Beach Walk with views of Lake Washington.


Woodland Park

1000 N. 50th St., Seattle; 206-684-4075; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/woodland-park

Like at Golden Gardens, the Woodland Park off-leash area also spans 1 acre and has an elevated portion. When we visited, most dogs seemed to be romping around on top of the hill, but there was ample space down below as well.

There are a lot of trees in this park, making it a serene area to be immersed in. I imagine it is also a nice, shady refuge in the summer.

It is important to note that the parking lots at Woodland Park are closed, so you’ll have to park somewhere nearby. On our recent visit, we parked near West Green Lake Way North and North 63rd Street and walked a short distance to the dog park.

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Because of the park’s proximity to Green Lake, there is, of course, the option for a stroll there, however it tends to be crowded, so it’s not the best area for social distancing. There are also paths within Woodland Park that were quite empty even when we visited on a Saturday.


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