The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

April 29, 2008

BeagleFest 2008: A Tour of the Marymoor Dog Park

Filed under: Dogs, Redmond — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 11:29 am

 As much as I enjoy the chance to hang out with Imola and Minardi this week, there are very good reasons that I have never given much thought to getting a Beagle of my own.  Sure, I might have names picked out already if I ever do happen to get a beagle or two of my own (the next ones would be named Mugello and Fiorano,) but in my current situation I would be ill-equipped to take care of any dog, much less a challenging breed like a Beagle.  Most beagles do not do well at all in confined spaces, and very few beagles do well in apartments.  Even in a decent sized single family house such as this one the dogs can get a little loopy if they aren’t given the chance to run around for a while use up some of the energy that they seem to come by so easily. 

It is for this reason that we are fortunate to have the Marymoor off-leash dog area nearby.  Although there are a number of other off-leash dog areas in the general vicinity, the one ar Marymoor is the closest, and by far the largest, encompassing nearly 40 acres of space.  To a human unfamiliar with the place, it doesn’t look like much more than a big open field with some trails crisscrossing it and a couple of places to access the river.  To a dog, on the other hand, this place must be something like Disneyland, with all sorts of open spaces to run around in, plenty of interesting new dogs to meet every day and scents to follow, and places to go for a nice refreshing ball-fetching swim.  The nice weather we had on Saturday brought a multitude of human and canine visitors to the park, so I thought it would provide a good opportunity to take some photos of the place.  After the jump, a tour of the Marymoor off-leash dog area.


There are several entrances to the dog park, although we usually use the Eastern one due to prior issues with getting the dogs back on their leashes at the other entrance.   From the entrance (behind where this photo was taken), there is a path (one of several) that leads into the park itself, covered in hog fuel (wood chips and other shavings) to provide a good walking surface for the dogs.

Around most of these paths, there are large open spaces, covered mostly in tall grass.  Although right now most of this hasn’t had much chance to grow up yet, later in the Summer a lot of this will be taller than the average Beagle.

Eventually the path reaches a point where a number of other paths branch off.  We usually take the path you see in the distance, but going in the other direction takes you to another part of the park.  Going straight on the original path takes you first into a large semi-fenced area that acts as something of a hub for the park, then eventually to one of the “beaches” along the river for swimming.  We’ll follow our usual path for now.

Along the way, there are plenty of dogs to meet, ranging from the very small…

All the way up to the very large, and everything in between. 

Along the way, Imola and Minardi will generally spend little time walking alongside me, and a lot of time wandering around in the general vicinity, chasing scents, investigating molehills, or whatever else happens to catch their attention.  They always make sure to keep track of where I am though, even if it does mean they’ve got some occasional catching up to do.

From the easternmost portion of the park, you can see the parking lot off in the distance, as well as a lot of the open space.  Incidentally, the big blue and yellow tent you see in the background belongs to the Cirque du Soleil, whose Corteo show will be performing here for the next month or so. 

From there, the trail continues into a swampy area which is fenced off, and traversed via the Swamp Dog Bridge (all of the various bridges in the park have names in a similar vein.)  A lot of the structures (including the bridges and fences) found inside the dog park were put together by SODA (Serve Our Dog Areas,) a group that was originally formed as “Save Our Dog Area” when the existence of the off-leash dog area was threatened in the late Nineties, but  which moved into a role of adopting and maintaining the dog area once its future was secured.  They really do a very good job of providing a nice facility.

From there, a smaller open field leads to a wooded area near the river bank.  If you keep going straight here, you’ll eventually reach the trail that follows the river with a boardwalk section over another swampy area.

Instead, we will usually make a turn here and head back roughly in the direction we came along a different trail that follows along the edge of the trees and shrubs. On this section of the trail, the dogs generally like to explore around in the bushes on the left.

As we walk along the various paths in the park, the dogs will generally be following one scent or another.  You’d be surprised at just how fast a beagle can run with its nose just an inch off the ground.

Eventually the trail reaches the center of the park again, and from here you can see the river bank, where we will be headed next.

As you can see, on a nice day like this the “beach” is a popular place with the dogs, especially the ones who like to swim. 

Imola and Minardi will go right up to the edge of the water here, but will not jump in.

There are a number of other areas of the dog park that we generally don’t get around to all that often due to the sheer size of the park, but this should give you a good idea of what the place is like.  Having a nice place like this where the dogs can run around off leash to their heart’s content like this certainly makes life a lot more enjoyable for the dogs, and a lot easier for the humans who deal with them.



  1. I was wondering if anyone knew when the Beaglefest took place at Maymoore Park? I have never attended and thought It would be great fun!! I have a cutie 3yr old Beagle named Reggie. I tried to look up any dates but could not find any. :( thanks in advance for any help….Lisa~

    Comment by Lisa — June 30, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

  2. In this case, there wasn’t any actual event that took place (this series of posts was made when I was taking care of my parents’ beagles for a week and a half) but Seattle Beagle Rescue ( occasionally puts on social events for Beagles and their owners. You can sign up for a mailing list there and find out when events might be happening.

    Comment by Brian Lutz — July 1, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  3. My husband and I have a beagle named “Beajo”. When is the next beaglefest? We would love to come to one.

    Thank you,

    Bonnie Haney

    Comment by Bonnie Haney — January 1, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  4. Just found this post through a friend and want to thank you. Very useful information.

    Comment by Dog Trainer — August 31, 2009 @ 8:52 am

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