1. Mount Tabor Park
One of the Rose City’s oldest and nicest parks, Mount Tabor has much to sniff out. Stroll to the top of this extinct volcano for an explosive view of Mount Hood in the east and the Portland downtown skyline in the west. Amble along walkways through manicured grounds, while taking in views of the surrounding city. Check out the bronze statue by Gutzon Borglum (of Mount Rushmore fame) then let loose at the off-leash area near Division Street. On Wednesdays the entire park is car-free transforming Tabor’s twisting roads into carefree trails.
2. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Once a downtown freeway; this waterfront park is now a great way to spend a free day downtown. You and your attention-loving Lab can stroll along Portland’s crown jewel of urban renewal. Languidly loll along the riverfront path admiring statues, fountains, sculptures, and gardens. Check out the Japanese American Plaza and Portland’s eclectic Pearl District with its eateries, brew pubs, consignment shops and Powell’s Books, is within a Frisbee’s throw.
3. Columbia River Trail
, Vancouver, Wash.
Long playing second fiddle to its larger more cosmopolitan cousin across the Columbia, Vancouver has been singing a new tune. An urban renaissance is in motion, transforming a once neglected waterfront into a first class residential, recreational, and commercial corridor. Walk along the paved 2.6 mile Columbia Waterfront Trail. Skirt past marinas, shops, cafes and brew pubs. Be sure to include a side trip to Fort Vancouver and Officer’s Row, a scenic stretch of quiet road lined with elegant trees and homes.
4. Ruston Way
Washington’s third largest city has also been undergoing a renaissance of late, and its waterfront is also not to be missed by dog walking explorers. A delightful path weaves together parks, piers and public art along two miles of scenic waterfront on Commencement Bay. Take in serene views of Vashon Island or stunning glimpses of Mount Rainier. There’s beach access along the way and neighboring Old Town makes for a delightful espresso diversion. Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterfront with its fine museums; the Washington State History and Tacoma Art among them; is nearby making for a great extension or future walk.
5. Alki Beach
The closest thing in the Northwest to a California beachfront community, Seattle’s Alki Beach will satisfy you and your loveable Lab’s longing for surfside sauntering. Teeming with runners, strollers, bathers, rollerbladers, volleyball players and a wide array of others during the summer, in the cooler months, Alki mellows out making it a perfect place for peaceful doggie dawdling. While your buddy marches nose to the ground, take in stunning views of the Seattle skyline across Elliott Bay, or the majestic snow-capped Olympic Mountains.
6. Washington Park Arboretum
Take your antsy border collie for a walk among dogwoods and a myriad of other trees and shrubs in the Washington Park Arboretum. Managed by the University of Washington and owned by the city of Seattle, this 230 acre island of greenery on the shores of Lake Washington offers excellent trekking terrain for you and your terrier. Wander over five miles of interconnecting trails through lush floral arrangements. Explore lakeshore, ridgeline or ravine within this diverse landscape.
7. Myrtle Edwards Park
If you and your promenading pup desire a little downtown action, Myrtle Edwards Park is the place to shake a paw. Stroll on a paved 1.25 mile path along Elliott Bay watching vessels ply across the sound. Be sure to wag on over to the new Olympic Sculpture Park, an adjacent 8.5 acre aesthetically appealing outdoor attraction. Recently unveiled to the public, this $85 million project has helped the city reunite and reconnect with its waterfront. While the twenty sculptures will have more of an appeal to two-legged walkers, the shoreline section of the park has fast become a favorite spot for downtown dwelling dogs.
8. Lake Hills Greenbelt
Offering two miles of superb walking through historic farmland, quiet forest groves and along tranquil lakeshore, Lake Hills is just minutes from Bellevue’s bustling downtown. Begin your eastside escapade from the greenbelt’s Visitor’s Center (SE 16th Street). On crushed gravel paths venture north to Larsen Lake and its blueberry farm. Or on paved pathways proceed southward across songbird enriched fields to Phantom Lake. Your furry friend will find plenty of evidence of resident critters.
9. Riverfront Park
Legacy of the 1974 World’s Fair, Spokane’s Riverfront Park is the centerpiece attraction of Washington’s second largest city. Always bustling with residents and visitors alike taking to the park’s rides, eateries and other attractions, this downtown park on the Spokane River also has a few quiet corners. Wind along an array of paths traversing the park. Marvel at the beauty and force of Spokane Falls. Extend your leg stretching session on the Centennial Trail or the Sculpture Walk. When you’ve had enough, retreat to a nearby restaurant or pub.
10. Manito Park
Gracing Spokane’s historic and quaint South Hill neighborhood, 90-acre Manito Park makes for a peaceful retreat from bustling downtown. A walk through this park will immediately instill a feeling of a slower, less frenetic time. Manito is well-known for its gardens and both you and your hound will delight in the flurry of fragrances filling the air. In autumn the park’s array of ornamental hardwoods brighten the gray skies with their red, orange and yellow foliage. Your attentive pointer will absolutely not want to miss Manito’s duck pond.
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