Dog Parks / Leash-Free Areas

Dogs and their owners at Garth Nature Area

Columbia has three fenced dog parks and two other leash-free areas approved by the City Council. Dogs off leash must be under the control of the owner. Dog owners are required by city ordinance to remove droppings from any area visited.

Areas described below are approved as leash-free areas except on established trails. Dogs on an established trail shall be on a leash and reined in to within four feet of the responsible person whenever approaching or being approached by another trail user.

Except for the areas described below, dogs must be on a leash in all city parks and trails.

Dog Parks

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

2500 Chapel Hill Road
Park Mapopens PDF file

Lakeside Dog Park

3.9 acres

This roomy area is for all dog sizes during the spring through fall season. It is fenced on three sides, with the lake serving as the west boundary. Dogs can enjoy playing in the 16-acre fishing lake. Dog park users can park in the shelter parking lot. The restroom by the shelter is open April 15 to October 15. This area is closed during the winter – generally December through February. During this time all dogs and their owners are directed to use the Off-Season Dog Park.

Paws Pond Dog Park

2.9 acres

Small dogs rule in this new area created just for them. Dogs visiting this area should be no taller than 18 inches at the shoulder. There is a small pond in this fenced in area. This area is closed during the winter – generally December through February. During this time all dogs and their owners are directed to use the Off-Season Dog Park.

Off-Season Dog Park

3.3 acres

For the winter off-season – generally December through February, this dog park for all dog sizes is set up to help safeguard dogs from falling through the lake ice. The creation of the Off-Season Dog Park was in response to the Fire Department’s request after having been dispatched nine times during one winter season to rescue dogs that had ventured out onto the large fishing lake and fallen through the ice. Although the restrooms are winterized and closed October 15 to April 15, the Parks and Recreation Department provides a port-a-pot for the winter dog park users.

Dog Park main entrance map

Garth Nature Area

2799 N. Garth
Park Mapopens PDF file

The 3-acre dog park at Garth Nature Area is fenced all around and has a pond and picnic tables. Parking is available and a port-a-pot is on site. A permanent restroom facility is on the list of projects to be funded by the 2010 Park Sales Tax Ballot and is tentatively scheduled for Fiscal Year 2014, pending the public hearing process and City Council approval. Dog owners may also enjoy taking their dogs on leash for a walk on the 1.6 miles of wetland trails nearby or getting on the 4.8-mile Bear Creek Trail.

Garth Nature Area dog park

Indian Hills Park

5009 Aztec Blvd. 
Park Mapopens PDF file

Indian Hills Park has a 1.5-acre fenced dog park on the west side of the park off the parking lot. There are restrooms nearby, which are open April 15 to October 15. The dog park was part of the improvements to Indian Hills Park completed in 2011 that were funded by the 2005 Park Sales Tax Ballot.

Indian Hills dog park

Leash-Free Areas


Grindstone Nature Area

2011 Old 63 South 
Park Mapopens PDF file

Dogs have almost 200 acres to roam in this beautiful nature area. This park has woods, open fields, bluffs, and Grindstone Creek running through the middle of the property. However, dog owners must keep their off-leash dogs away from the Hinkson Creek Trail that also runs through the property. There is a parking lot off of Old 63 South with a picnic shelter and restrooms nearby.

Grindstone Nature Area

Cosmo Park – Bear Creek Nature Area

1615 Business Loop 70 West
Leash-Free Area Map opens PDF file
Cosmo Park Mapopens PDF file

Dogs have about 70 acres to run leash free in the Bear Creek Nature Area located on the north end of Cosmo Park. However, dog owners must keep their off-leash dogs away from the Bear Creek Trail and Rhett’s Run Mountain Bike Trail that also run through the property. Park users can access this nature area from Skate Park parking lot.

Cosmo Park Bear Creek Nature Area

Dog Park Etiquette

  1. Dogs and owners enter off-leash area at their own risk.
  2. Handlers must clean up after their dogs and dispose of all trash. (Ord. 5-67)
  3. Dogs will not be left unattended and must be under voice control at all times. Dogs that can not be controlled must be on a leash at all times. (Ord. 5-58)
  4. There is a maximum of four (4) dogs per family. (Ord. 5-60)
  5. Dogs must be leashed when outside of the fenced area. Handler should have the leash in hand when inside of the area. (Ord. 5-58)
  6. No human food is permitted in the fenced/off-leash area. Handlers using dog treats must assume the risk of safe handling.
  7. Prong, choke and spike collars must be removed for safety reasons.
  8. To keep the Dog Park clean, the grooming of dogs at the park is prohibited.
  9. No animals other than dogs shall be permitted in the area.
  10. Failure to abide by the park rules may result in loss of privileges or owners may be ticketed.

(Dog Park Etiquette signs are posted at City of Columbia dog parks)