One of the truly wonderful things about Minnesota’s State Parks is that they are all dog-friendly. As long as you keep your dog on a short leash and pick up after them they are more than welcome to hike, camp, and enjoy the natural park wonders with you!
That being said, some of the parks are more fun for your pup than others. I used several criteria in making this list based on the enjoyment and abilities of my dog, Pepper. Your dog may be different and not a fan of hiking or irregular terrain, so its important to note the reasoning behind each park and make sure that it fits how your dog interacts with nature.
- Diversity of the trails.
- Nature (read: smells).
- How explorable it is.
- Drinking water availability.
Top 5 Dog-Friendly Minnesota State Parks
A great hike that is sure to wear out any dog, big or small. Just don’t take a dog with hip problems on this hike- there are a lot of ups and downs and over 100 steps down and back up to get to the falls. Running river water at the “end” of the trail is an added bonus for your pup to cool off in too!
2. Glendalough State Park
Any park that has a series of lakes with no motorized water vehicles allowed is a great place for a pooch. Take your best friend on a walk around Annie Battle lake, enjoy the lush grasses and breeze through the trees or rent a paddle board and take him on the ride of his life!
Any time your dog can walk to the edge of a waterfall and look down I’d say it’s a win. A fairly easy hiking path, with a few stairs and ups and downs and lots of greenery growing. Just make sure not to let your dog venture off path- there are several areas that are protected along the trail.
Walk through forests, across a golf course and in the prairie for a completely diverse experience.The wind blows across the high prairie land which will help keep your pup cool and a few well places drinking fountains and spigots will replenish yours and your pups water bottles for the win.
5. Great River Bluffs State Park
All of the driftless Mississippi river valley state parks are great for dogs with steep slopes for climbing and wonderful vistas. While there is no water access the terrain and smells more than make up for it!