Austin is such a dog-friendly city. But sometimes you just want to be able to let your dog run free and that can be difficult to do with the leash laws for many nature trails and parks. How can your dog explore, swim and run with a leash on?

Austin does have off-leash parks scattered throughout the city; but if you own a large dog, this could be a problem since most of these parks are small and don’t allow your Yellow Lab run off all of his energy. Besides, these parks don’t have the things that dogs really love to explore: tall grass and streams. Since these parks don’t have official websites, they can be hard to find.

But have no fear!  Here are the four best places to walk your dog in Austin. Set your dog free to do what dogs do best: run, investigate and have fun!

Red Bud Isle

This 13-acre dog park is a favorite among dog owners and dogs alike. It’s a wonderful place for your dog (and you) to make some new friends, especially in the morning and evening hours when it’s a bit cooler.

There’s a fishing pier and this park is loved by kayakers and canoers, so be sure to bring your boat and/or fishing pole if you have one! The nature trail spans a half mile around the island which you are welcome to hike as your dog surveys the neighboring thick woods.

If your dog likes the water—and what dog doesn’t?—bring his favorite ball and play a game of fetch in Lady Bird Lake. But be forewarned: you should keep a close eye on your pooch when they’re in the water. There have been reports of a few small dogs swimming too far out into the river and becoming caught up in the mild current.

Onion Creek District Park

Except for the playground area, your fur baby is allowed anywhere without his leash in this big, gorgeous 170-acre park.

As you may have guessed, Onion Creek is in the middle of the park which provides great fun for “water fetch” or just a short swim. There are beautiful, shady hiking trails and plenty of doggy bag dispensers spread out throughout the park.

You can bike or skate along one of the former roadways which is a marvelous way to burn off your furry pal’s energy.

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

If your dog loves adventure, then he’ll love this park!

Walnut Creek park is over 200 acres of wooded public land with a substantial trail system suitable for mountain bikers. The off-leash park has everything to create a happy dog: tall grass and flowers, an abundance of other humans and dogs to make friends with, curvy dirt trails to peruse and a creek for him to splash in. He may even be able to chase birds or butterflies!

Your canine will definitely have lots of room to let his fur down and do whatever he wants to do! Bring some food and spend the day because there are 26 picnic tables as well as two barbeque pits.

Turkey Creek Trail at Emma Long Metropolitan Park

This is the only nature trail in the city that doesn’t require a leash and it gives your dog everything a dog could ask for.

Do you have a furry friend that’s task-oriented and active? If so, this is the trail you’re looking for! There are plenty of changes in elevation that’s sure to give him a sense of achievement as well as wear him out. The 2½-mile trail winds around the lively Turkey Creek through dense woods and provides your pup with lots of deep pools to splash in.

As an added bonus, you’ll discover a doggy bag dispenser at the beginning of the trail—and it’s free!

All of these parks are free and open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s stunning how many natural spaces and hiking trails there are in Austin—if you don’t mind keeping your pup on a leash, that is. But these four off-leash parks should give your four-legged friend plenty of space to run, jump and explore to his heart’s content.

Please contact us for more parks and trails in Austin.

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