When we visited Golden Gardens off-leash area, part of the park was closed off because it was so swampy. Still, this fully fenced park has plenty of space for the dogs to run around. Even though the closed end was all mud, the surface in main area the ground was moist, soft dirt with only minimal to moderate muddy areas.
There is one double gate to enter the park. The park has benches, a small covered area and a spigot with a hose and water dishes. There is a nice large bathroom right next to it. I didn’t notice any official poop bag stations but I do seem to remember a plastic bag hanging on the fence that may have had some in it. I would still come prepared and bring your own.
Does your dog like chasing the ball but you forgot yours at home? It looks like you might be able to find several muddy, nasty tennis balls on the ground. There were at least 20 when we were there but a lady was going around and picking them up and looked like she was going to take them home.
We initially spent our time in the larger area running around with all of the other dogs. That is until nervous-nelly Gretel wet nutso on a dog that almost trampled her. She started chasing the dog around barking in a high-pitched squeal. It was a total scene – us yelling at her to stop and chasing this fast, squealing dog around all crazy-like.
The people seemed friendly…or at least no one that we noticed gave us death stares or lectures after Gretel’s freak-out. After our little incident, we decided to go up to the small dog area to shame ourselves.
There is a separate entrance for this small dog area on the north end. You have to exit the main dog park to get to that gate. It’s not a double gate so I think it is on the outside so your little guys can’t escape into the big dog area. There is a gate on the inside but there is a sign strongly discouraging you from using it and apparently sometimes a lock so you can’t.
The small dog area is the nicest part of the off-leash park. The dirt was more like packed sand and there with virtually no mud. We were alone most of the time except for a brief moment when a beagle joined us and a big dog jumped the fence.
I can tell Gretel would have appreciated some company because she stood by the fence looking longingly at the other dogs like she wanted to play.
Inside Golden Gardens Park there are a lot of trails to explore and amazing views of the Olympic Mountains if you hike down to the beach. What seems to be the longest set of stairs in the world passes by the off-leash area. All I could think was what a great running workout….if I was actually in shape.
As far as the beach goes, it is a City ordinance that dogs are not allowed on any beaches in Seattle. Dogs are only allowed in the parking lot and along the concrete walking path. I did hear a rumor that some people walk their dogs to the north end of the park and let them off leash on the beach. Being rule followers, wildlife lovers and water quality geeks like we are we didn’t go check it out. You might want to though if you go.
There is a parking lot immediately adjacent to the off-leash area that looks like it might hold 30 or 40 cars. You can also park near the beach and hike up the stairs to get there. Don’t expect to find any parking in the lot near the beach in the summer though. This is one of the City’s premier summer beach destinations.
This off-leash area is located at Golden Gardens Park in the Ballard neighborhood. There are no shops, restaurants or coffee shops immediately adjacent to the off-leash area. In the summer there IS a little snack stand down by the beach.
You can find restaurants and shops on the way to the park if you take Market Street. One of the premier Seattle attractions, the Ballard Locks, is on this road. Be sure to stop at this dog-friendly destination if you haven’t been there to watch the ships and yachts being moved back and forth in the locks. Most of the time you can see salmon swimming up the fish ladder too.
The bottom line is parking is this is one of the most popular dog parks in the area so you will probably have lots of doggie friends to play with, the really big play area is a good place to tire your dog out and it is muddy but not overly so. The amazing view from the beach makes this park a must-visit….especially to watch the sunset!