This post was originally published in 2010. I’ve updated and added more dog parks both new parks and new to me. A separate post discusses more parks in the Petaluma area. We have adopted a dog (mostly poodle) since this post went out. He walks on leash with us in many places. At dog parks, if there are no other dogs around, he spends his time smelling the place.
I try to add notes to each posted walk about dogs. Usually, they need to be on a 6’ leash. Occasionally, there’s a dog park, near where we’re walking (ex: Sonoma Valley Regional). Sometimes, they’re not allowed, such as on the dunes and bluffs at the ocean. (See Dogs for lists of places dogs can go.)
More dog parks are popping up. There’s a dog count on in Sonoma, to lobby for more parks. A Scout is raising money for a new park and his Eagle status. (This park happened at Place to Play, but it’s location was changed closer to the east end of the park near W 3rd St.)
Dog parks have rules. But rules are better than having them eat your carpet at the front door.
Here’s a list of some of the parks we visited last Sunday and have been to in this year of walking. There are links to many more. Please explore.
De Turk Round Barn Dog Park. I had visited this dog park months ago, but when I heard that the barn was undergoing a remodel, I wasn’t sure the miniature dog run would survive. Well, it’s bigger (1/4 acre?) and beautiful. There’s a grassy area, with shade, benches, picnic table and BBQ. A gravel area at the double gate entrance has a hose and water bowl. There’s plenty of plastic bags (common in most parks for picking up after your dog).
After talking to a friendly woman and her dog, early in the morning, she suggested we come back to see the once a month poodle party. When we returned we got to see about 15 poodles of various sizes. A few other dogs joined in.
Besides having real benches instead of plastic chairs and being a well-cared for park, the low black fence made it look better. I’m not sure why the high cyclone fence is common to dog parks. You’re supposed to be with the dog. Are they really going to jump a 6’-8’ fence and run away from you? 819 Donahue, Santa Rosa. Railroad Square area. The barn has a new roof and its remodel is well underway.
Update: The park’s grass has suffered with use, so it can be muddy in rainy times. The barn is finished and is available for events.
Dog Parks with walks:
Due to site problems (neighbor complaint, proper approval and soggy winter spot) the Place to Play dog off-leash area has moved. From near the pond it has moved near the baseball fields on the other side of the park. 2375 W. Third St. Santa Rosa. Split into two yards the signs don’t yet indicate dog size. Large running area, water and bowls. Access to Santa Rosa Creek is past the ball fields or at the other end of the park.
Liz Perrone Dog Park. This 1 ½ acre park is located in the Sonoma Valley Regional Park. It’s big, lots of trees around. Very classy park with a gazebo and drinking fountain for the dogs. When you’re done, you can take the paved path or go up the ridge trail. 13631 Sonoma Hwy (Hwy 12) in Glen Ellen. Regional Park fee. Buy a pass.
Ragle Ranch. Animal Care Center Dog Park. This half acre has small dog hours every day. It has a woodchip covered area, shade from trees and structures and water available. For more walking boardwalks cover a wetland area, dirt and paved paths circle a meadow. 500 Ragle Rd. in Sebastopol. Regional Park fee. Ragle Ranch walk. In 2016, this park has had some upgrades – shade!
Rocky Memorial Dog Park. Built on a former landfill, it has an ambiance only a dog could love. But it’s 8 acres! It’s also near Alman Marsh, Schollenberger Park and Ellis Creek for miles of flat walking. 2204 Casa Grande Rd. Petaluma. Free. Thank the City of Petaluma.
Dog Parks with a little bit of a walk:
Doyle Park. Big oaks shade much of this park, including the dog park. Seems an additional fenced area has been added on to make it bigger. One site says it’s for smaller dogs, but the gate yawns open. There were umbrellas, plastic chairs, bulletin board, bags, but the dogs were out on the paths with their owners. Finally, one showed up, Sunday morning. He indicated that dog parks are more about smelling than running. 700 Doyle Park Dr. Santa Rosa. Near the ballpark.
Galvin Park. We had the address in Bennett Valley, near the golf course. But had to ask a dogwalker where to find this one. It’s hidden past the tennis courts and soccer fields on the south end of the park. One dog and owner were just leaving. The setting is willow-shaded with benches and picnic table. On one side of the narrow fenced area was a guy fly-casting and on the other was a soccer game. 3330 Yulupa Ave. Santa Rosa. No fee. Thank the City of Santa Rosa.
Rincon Valley Community Park. Lovely setting in grassy and treed park. Separate small dog area. While Sunday morning most dog parks were dogless, this one was packed. Lots of dogs and chatting people. Good drinking fountain for dogs. For a short walk there are paved paths in this long block neighborhood park, near the library and Mario Carillo High School. 5109 Badger Rd. or to left of Library on Montecito Ave. Santa Rosa. No fee.
Northwest Community Park. Mike visited this one Thursday. It looks good and has the standard bulletin board, water, benches and chairs. Separate small dog area. Playground and short paved walk nearby. 2536 Marlow Rd. Santa Rosa. Behind Willow Creek Preschool, turn left.
Starting in the north, here’s one in Windsor, between Mattie Washburn Elementary School and Pleasant Oak Park. Large run area where you can have a picnic lunch. Pleasant Ave and Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor. Park and neighborhood walking.
Fitting in behind Cook Middle School and a playground is this long dog run. Water available. At Lombardi Ln and Gardner Ave. Closest walk Joe Rodota trail or Roseland Creek.
South Santa Rosa
On the other side of Hwy 101, is a park in the Harvest Park housing development. This park tells you to save water, but doesn’t provide any for your pooch. (Find Burt Ln, then Harvest Park. Dog park is on Cedar Rock Dr. ) The dog park does have a fine view of Taylor Mountain. And there’s your place for a longer walk. Not a Flat Walk at Taylor.
Next to the new Friedman’s Hardware on S. McDowell in Petaluma is a new dog park and some new trails. Nearby are some very fancy bridges. Nearest walk for you and your dog, if this isn’t enough – Petaluma River.
Badger Park, off of S Fitch Mtn Rd at 750 Heron Dr., offers a small dog park. Small means under 17″ tall. Besides picnic tables and grassy field, the park has a playground. Just past the playground is a gravel trail with some views of the Russian River.
Dog Parks onto their own:
Villa Chanticleer. Who knew that down hill from the villa of proms was a dog park? This 1 ½ acre park is a two tiered area amid oaks, maples, madrone, and redwoods. Mounds of wood chips stand by. There’s a platform with 2 plastic pools, water bowls and hose. There were a couple of canopies over picnic tables, benches and chairs. 1248 N. Fitch Mountain Rd. Healdsburg. After turning in at the Villa, go to the end, turn left and go down the hill. When leaving, return on the road to the right.
See you and your dog on the trail!
Photos by Lynn and Mike Millar
Bathrooms: At a dog park, your dog is taken care of on this issue. Just pick up the stuff. For you, plan ahead. Those by ‘people’ parks will have something for you.
Food & Water: Many dog parks have fountains or hoses. But you probably carry water bowls and water with you, if you’re a real traveller. They don’t supply food, though rumor has it that Western Farms supports poodles with treats some months. Villa Chanticleer has a specific rule against food, thinking it might start a fight. Play and eat nicely at all times.