St. Paul serves a few utilities, including the capital of the state of Minnesota as well as the second most populated city in the state. The city was once occupied by the Hopewell Indians about 2,000 years ago, which is evident by the burial mounds in Indian Mounds Park. The town is also home to over 66,000 dogs, which means there are plenty of dog-friendly places in town.
Currently, there are four dog parks in the Saint Paul area. The Lowerton Dog Park is the smallest - good for small and toy breeds. It is completely fenced in, featuring nighttime lighting, shrubs and greenery, and a walking path. High Bridge Dog Park, (formerly a power plant!) covers seven acres and was created in 2012 after a mass clean-up operation.
The Arlington Dog Park, also called the Arkwright Dog Park, is almost 5 acres large, with a distinctive bowl-shaped slope for maximum play space. The park also has several short wooded trails. The fourth park is the Meeker Island Dog Park, on the first lock of the Mississippi River. Although the area is not fenced, off-leash dogs are welcome to enjoy the beach and nature paths.
Saint Paul's many trails make a great opportunity to spend some quality time with Fido. The Willard Munger Trail is a former railway corridor that has been re-established as a walkable path. The Bruce Vento Trail is great for those who love variety - it's a 7.5 asphalt path that connects to multiple other trails in Saint Paul. Or check out the Big Rivers Regional Trail for beautiful views of limestone bluffs and river cliffs.
The Battle Creek Trails are a favorite spot for hiking with your pooch according to the residents. It has 5 miles of bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River taking you through the woods where you may see deer, foxes, raccoons, and many other wild animals. There are some steep inclines and declines that will keep you on your toes, but no serious climbing. The Battle Creek Trails make a great way to spend the day and then visit the Battle Creek Park for a while to BBQ or just hang out.
The Thompson County Park also has excellent trails to hike with Fido for easy to moderate skill levels. Most of the trails are wooded and give you great views of Thompson Lake and the park below. The trails even connect to the North Urban Regional Trail, which is a group of hiking trails that link the park with Kaposia Park and the Mississippi River Regional Trail.
Saint Paul’s Merrlam Park neighborhood cozies up to the Mississippi. Walking by the water is its own experience, but if you head down to Meeker Island Dog Park, your dog can play in and near the water. Off-leash play in Meeker Island Dog Park is only for dogs who respond well to their recall phrase. The off-leash area is removed from other aspects of the park by steep bluffs, but there is no fence to keep curious pups in the park. If your dog loves water and doesn’t go looking for distractions, this is a great place to frolic, especially during summer.
Lowertown is a densely populated portion of downtown Saint Paul. Though space is at a premium, Lowertown Dog Park is a testament to how much Lowertown residents love their dogs. The park is small, but completely fenced. There are doggy water fountains, climbable rocks, and tended shrubs and trees. A dog can keep their nose busy and tail wagging for a long time, making Lowertown Dog Park a cut above the average city dog park. You can also head to Mears Park and Lower Landing Park for on-leash walks, sometimes by the water.
The Battle Creek neighborhood really doubles (or triples) down on names by bringing three similar but distinct parks to residents: Battle Creek Regional Park, Battle Creek West, and Battle Creek Regional Dog Park. Battle Creek Regional Park and Battle Creek West are leashed-only parks geared towards hiking, exploring the Mississippi River shore, and educating the human population on the region’s history and biodiversity. Battle Creek Regional Dog Park is “dog heaven” in Saint Paul. It has ponds, wooded areas, a long loop trail that takes an hour or more to walk, climbing areas, and it’s all off-leash. Local dogs give it four paws up!
Arlington Arkwright Dog Park in Payne Phallen is a great spot for city dogs to stretch their legs. The park is 4.5 acres of fenced freedom. Varied terrain make it possible to explore a different section every time and find something new. The walking trails provide enough variety to keep humans occupied as well if you want to stretch your legs with your best friend. The park is a community experience, as volunteers keep the water bowls filled and stock the cleanup bags. With such dedicated support, it’s no wonder the park is a highlight of the Payne Phallen neighborhood.