Sniffing Out the Local Parks

One of the best parts of having a dog is the opportunity to enrich one’s own life as well as your pup’s. Much like our bipedal selves, many of our four-legged friends love adventure, new experiences, smells, sights and sounds.  My best friend and I sampled some of the local parks in the Clackamas area to provide you with some insight and options for your own outdoor excursions.  

It’s good to keep in mind that best practice is to only let your dog off leash if they have successfully been trained in recall. I’ve no intention of telling anyone how to train their dog, but a 30-foot lead is an excellent tool for teaching such a necessary skill. We should also remember to plan ahead by bringing poop bags and water for our fur-children depending how long we plan on being out and about.  


Mary S. Young Park

Located on the west side of the Willamette River, Mary S. Young offers over 5 miles of trails, various swimming holes, beaches and off-leash dog areas.  From 205 South, take Exit 8 for State Route 43 toward West Linn/ Lake Oswego.  Turn right onto Willamette Drive to enter the park. As you enter the park, you’ll see various sports fields. A large parking lot will be found on your left. Keep traveling down the road to another large parking lot which is closer to the trails that will lead you to the river. The path is mostly paved but will turn to dirt as you get closer to the river. This park can get quite busy on the weekends. Keep an eye out for small children racing through the off leash if your dog has any herding tendencies. The grass off-leash area found next to the parking lot further down the road is not fenced, but is instead encircled by trees. Many a park ball can be found if you didn’t happen to bring one for yourself. This is a fantastic park that you and your furry companion could spend all day at. Unfortunately, with some of the best dog parks, come some of the worst dog owners. This was the only dog park visited where handlers seemed more interested in what was on their phone than what their pooch might be getting up to.  


1,000 Acres

The crème de la crème of off leash dog parks. 1,000 Acres offers quite literally, a thousand acres of space for you and your pooch to explore. For the water dogs, there is the Sandy River Delta. Ample dirt trails that twist and turn amongst the trees and along the riverbank. Keep an eye out for horses and dirt bikes, but for the most part, this area is dog heaven. You’ll need a car to get to this one.  Take 84 East and exit 18 toward Oxbow Regional Park/Lewis and Clark State Park. Turn right off the off-ramp and circle back underneath the freeway. There is a large parking lot ($5 fee, paid online or at the unattended kiosk). This place gets packed so keep that in mind for weekends and the prettiest of days. Bring your Wellingtons during the rainy season. For the swimming types, be sure to check local notices for algae bloom or a rapid current in the water.  

Vito visits Wesley Linn Park with his human friend, Josh. Photo by Josh Wolf.


Wesley Lynn Park

Located in a thick residential area, Wesley Lynn can be accessed via Leland Rd. and Frontier Pkwy. In Oregon City. A parking lot is located at the Frontier side but one can easily park on the street and walk right in. A paved path lines the perimeter. The off-leash area is unfenced, but large enough to not feel cramped or worry about your dog chasing something into a street. This park offers a great deal of green space and is littered with sport fields. This author would never instruct someone to break rules and ignore leash law, but on a rainy day, you and your pooch could have the run of land, traipsing across manicured grass, sniffing where you please with not a vehicle in sight.


Oregon City Park Place

Nestled in a residential neighborhood not far from Highway 213, Oregon City Park Place offers more of a “dog-run” than dog park.  It’s hard to consider this park much of a destination. The off-leash area is rather small and there are a few streets quite close. A small parking lot is available as well as plenty of street parking. This park could be classified as “for the locals” as there’s not much to offer other than a small green space. Hardly a squirrel in sight.

Vito exploring Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Park. Photo by Josh Wolf.


Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Park

Located very close to Clackamas Community College, Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Park will be found on Meyers Rd. From Highway 213 south, turn left onto Meyers Rd. A small parking lot will be on your right barely a half mile further. Paved walkways weave about this moderately sized park. There is a fenced off leash dog area that was closed due to issues with the turf at the time of visiting. Although not much to write home about, Tyrone S. Woods offers a great safe space for your dog to interact with other canines (if it were open). The park has busy streets nearby on two sides so take care if disobeying the leash law outside of the fenced area.  


A table showing the different amenities the parks have to offer. Table by Josh Wolf.

Josh Wolf