The Day:April 4, a sunny 50 degrees
The Dog: PJ, a pointer/husky mix
The Park: Battle Creek, off I-94 and McKnight Road in Maplewood
The Amenities: Paved parking lot, outhouse at entrance, garbage cans and bagging stations available throughout the park, clear maps and signs.
Battle Creek Dog Park is a nature-lover’s dream: acres upon acres of wooded trails and open fields, and there’s even a lake for your pooch to swim in. The park is far enough off the highway to avoid traffic noise but not so far away that it’s a pain to get to. Full of hand-painted signs, maps to tell you where you are, and picnic tables to rest at when Fido’s tuckered you out, it’s a total gem.
Sidewalk Dog Editor’s Note: This six-part series celebrates some of the Twin Cities finest dog parks just in time for summer. If your favorite park didn’t make it this year, review your top spot in our directory so we can feature it in 2015.
Battle Creek’s not messing around when it comes to poop. Handmade signs like this festoon the park like party decorations — sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, but mostly just firmly reminding you that the park is not your dog’s toilet. Luckily, there are plenty of bagging stations and garbage cans to help keep you on Battle Creek’s good side.
At Battle Creek, there are at least two wide-open spaces for dogs to meet, sniff, frolic, and run frantic zoomies around each other. The best part? Neither one is located immediately at the entrance, which means no one is guarding the gate. It also means that timid dogs can stick to the paths and avoid the play areas altogether, if frolicking with the pack isn’t their jam.
PJ loved the wide, wooded trails at Battle Creek. The paths were covered in snow during our visit, but are normally groomed, wood-chipped walking trails that minimize mud. (Obviously, springtime is an exception to that rule.)
The swimming lake hadn’t fully thawed when we were there, but I daresay it’ll be perfect on those hot summer days when Fido needs to cool down. The lake is part of the park but separately fenced and gated, so your pooch can’t go sprinting into the water without your say-so. But fair warning: there are a lot of other, smaller ponds throughout the park.
So what do you need to know before going?
- It’s 100% free! No permit required, but donations are welcome and accepted.
- License and vaccinations required. (Minneapolis residents can buy their licenses here.)
- Open from dawn to dusk.