Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dog Parks from Seattle to Minneapolis and Back: Lucky's First Road Trip

We just took a road trip to Minnesota and back. Since we were traveling with our young, athletic dog, we made it a point to stop at dog parks along the way. We'd done what we could on the Web to find them before we left, but information was sometimes skimpy. And so, for the convenience of others (as well as our own future reference), we're posting our notes.

Spokane, Washington: Gateway Park


I-90 Exit 299.
Follow the blue signs for Visitor Info.
Park is north of I-90, between the highway and the Spokane River.


Gateway Park is a county park that was once the rest stop on I-90, just west of the Idaho border. It includes a state visitor information center and nice restrooms (always a bonus for the humans in the group!).

The off-leash area is well-maintained and spacious. It includes an open field area and paths through trees. Shaded picnic tables are pleasant for travelers who are watching their dogs frolic.

There are drinking fountains for the dogs: faucets to refill built-in bowls.

The park had secure boxes for leaving donations. I think this is a great idea: we left a couple of bucks each time we visited and would happily have supported the other parks we enjoyed on our trip in the same way.

This park is very convenient for travelers on I-90. Unfortunately, it's much less convenient for people who live in Spokane, since it's some 17 miles out of town.

Spokane Dog Park page.

Missoula, Montana: Jacobs Island Bark Park


I-90 Exit 105 (Van Buren Street)
Go west on Van Buren (toward University of Montana).
Where Van Buren ends, park on the street.
Walk over the footbridge to Jacobs Island Park. The dog park is to the left.


This park offers an interesting natural setting -- field, bushes, riverbank, river.

Unfortunately, it's not fully fenced --

and Lucky is the sort of dog who would charge on out through the bushes to go chasing birds, so we kept her on leash.

There were other people there whose dogs were having a great time playing tag on the beach or swimming after sticks. And we think our dog had fun even on leash.

Missoula Parks page, Enjoying Your Pet in Parks.

Bozeman, Montana

1. Softball Complex


I-90 Exit 309 (Main Street).
You'll see a blue and white "H" sign -- the park is near a hospital.
Turn left on Highland Blvd.
A softball complex is on the left. Turn left on Ellis and park. The dog park is past the outfield fence.


This is a no-frills dog park -- no water, no shade, only one picnic table -- but Lucky had a lot of fun running and running, and that's what counts.

Across the parking lots there's a recycling station, so you can get rid of the soda bottles you've accumulated during the drive.

2. Bozeman Pond


I-90 Exit 306 (7th Ave.). (This takes you to the visitor information house, where we got a map and the man on duty recommended this park.)
Turn right on Main Street.
Main Street angles to the left.
After you see Gallatin Valley Mall on your right, start looking for a park on your right. turn right on Fowler Avenue and park.


This is a good park for dogs who like to swim.

The side fence doesn't go all the way to the water (and certainly doesn't extend out into the water), so Lucky walked around it and took off running in the adjacent field. We got her to come to us (whew!) and then took her to the Softball Complex -- a much better park for her.

The Bozeman Parks Division page says that the city has a "Canine Beach" and "a small Dog Park," but doesn't offer more detail.

Bismarck, North Dakota: Century Bark Park


I-94 Exit 159 (Hwy 83) north (same direction as Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center).
Turn left on Century Ave (about half a mile from the highway).
Century High School is on the right.
Century Bark Park is after the high school -- the Bark Park parking lot entrance is through the high school parking lot.


This is a spacious park, with separate areas for large dogs (Big Paws Field), small dogs (Wiggly Field), and obedience training (Fetch Field), as well as a central common area.

See Something to bark about: Dog park on track, Bismarck Tribune, July 29, 2005.

Fargo, North Dakota: Village West Dog Park


I-94 Exit 348 (45th St.)
Go north about 15-20 blocks
Turn right on 9th Ave S.
Dog park is on the left, beneath the big water tower that says "Fargo."


Spacious park, with separate areas for large and small dogs.
Sheltered picnic tables.

There's also Yunker Farm Dog Park, at 29th Ave and N. University, but we didn't visit it.

See Fargo Parks page on Dog Parks.