Pets: Where the Wild Things Are

Five Favorite Portland Dog Parks

With 33 patches of off-leash, dog-friendly romping zones in city parks, how do you decide?

By Rachel Ritchie January 23, 2017 Published in the February 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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A map of Portland dog parks reveals an embarrassment of riches for our canine residents. Indeed, with 33 patches of off-leash, dog-friendly romping zones in city parks, Portland makes it easy to give your pup a good workout—and some much-needed QT withother canines. Grab that Chuckit, and give these five favorites a spin.

Chimney Park

9360 N Columbia Blvd | 18 acres | Fenced

Once the site of the city’s incinerator, Chimney Park boasts an entirely fenced off-leash area encircled by a convenient woodchip walking path. Large trees offer plentiful shade, and picnic tables make for ideal spots to sit and watch as your pooch befriends the inevitable herds at this very social park.

Fernhill Park

NE 37th Ave & Ainsworth St | 27 acres | Unfenced

Notable for its gently rolling hills and diverse trees, Fernhill is a favorite for dogs that need to run, run, and run. It also offers plenty of action for your human family, from playgrounds and picnic areas to horseshoes and tennis courts. Just heed the cement posts marking the off-leash zone—park rangers have been known to patrol the area.

Sandy River Delta

Crown Point Hwy, Troutdale | 1,400 acres | Unfenced

Simply known as “Thousand Acres” to the initiated, the Sandy River Delta Recreation Area is a utopian dreamland for Portland-area pups. The whopping 1,400 acres of open fields and wetlands bordered by the Columbia and Sandy Rivers provide almost overwhelming opportunity for fetching, splashing, swimming, and running wild. The area is also a popular birding destination, and home to artist Maya Lin’s elliptical Bird Blind, an environmental installation dedicated in 2008 as part of the Confluence Project.

Sellwood Riverfront Park

SE Spokane St & Oaks Pkwy | 8 acres | Unfenced

It can be tough to find a good spot for a swim in Portland. But, skirting the Willamette River just south of Oaks Amusement Park, Sellwood Riverfront Park offers the solution. Sure, the grassy area is quite nice, but dogs run the show on the shoreline here, sprinting the beach, gamely fetching tennis balls in the river, and threatening to drench just about every human visitor on this stretch of sand.

Council Crest Park

SW Council Crest Dr | 44 acres | Unfenced

At 1,073 feet above sea level, Council Crest is one of Portland’s highest points. It also happens to be a lovely destination for a day with your dog. A two-acre off-leash area provides incredible views of Portland and beyond, not to mention stunning sunsets, walking paths, and a level of solitude seldom found in dog parks.

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