The Day: April 11, a gorgeous 60 degrees
The Dog: PJ, a pointer/husky mix
The Park: Carver Park Reserve, off Highway 5 in Victoria
The Amenities: Parking lot, outhouse at entrance, garbage cans and bagging stations available at park entrance, separate small dog area, picnic tables, bowls (but bring your own water to fill it up).
There’s so much to love about Carver Park Reserve’s off-leash area: 27 acres of open fields, wooded walking paths, and plenty of small (optional) hills to climb. Plus, this park has one of the best small-dog areas we’ve ever encountered.
If you’d rather take your pooch on a guided walk instead of a pack frolic, the dog park is adjacent to miles upon miles of paved walking paths through the beautiful Three Rivers Park District. If you’re in the SW metro, this is the park for you.
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.
Where Battle Creek had trees, Carver Park Reserve has fields. The huge spaces for flat-out sprinting thrilled PJ, and he spent most of his visit bounding around in giant, loping circles. Dogs have plenty of space to run, either playing chase or trotting on their own, so no one ever needs to feel penned-in or trapped. And the joy your dog’ll feel while moving at top speed is totally infectious.
Right: PJ’s tuckered out by the end of our visit. (Photo: SWD)
The dog park entrance opens directly onto one of the park’s major play areas and is also where you can pick up (and drop off) doggie bags. This is also where you’ll pay your entrance fee if you don’t have an annual pass. Having a one-stop-shop for all your dog park needs is definitely convenient, but make sure your dog doesn’t guard the gate once he’s inside: that can be intimidating for arriving visitors.
This watering hole is a pack favorite, and you can bet your dog will make a beeline for it on hot days. While it’s a great place to cool off (and a ton of fun for your pup to splash around in), it isn’t fenced or gated, so unless your dog has top-notch recall skills, your drive home might be a stinky one.
While Peej is too gangly for the small dogs area, it’s still got our vote for the best in the Cities. Many small dog areas can feel like afterthoughts, but this one’s got everything the big park does, just on a smaller scale. Picnic tables? Check. Open grassy areas for zoomies? Check. A gorgeous wooded walking trail to keep your dog shaded even in July? Double check. Even if you’re not from the SW burbs, it just might be worth the drive.