The Dog Commons On-Leash Dog Trails

As part of the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services at the Arboretum, the On-Leash Dog Trails is a place where two-legged and four-legged visitors discover opportunities for physical activity, education, socialization and emotional restoration. It incorporates trails and interpretive messaging with opportunities for seasonal outdoor activities with a canine companion. 

This area is not "just an on-leash dog trail." It is about the entire experience of being outside in plant-rich landscape with an animal companion. A goal of the Arboretum On-Leash Dog Trails is to inspire a shift from walking the dog as a chore to walking the dog as a mindful and restorative experience that benefits health and well-being for humans and pets. Every human must have a reservation to enter the grounds, click here to reserve your ticket.

Membership is required

For dogs to access the Dog Commons and on-leash Dog Trails, an Arboretum membership that includes dogs is required.  Upon entry, Arboretum gatehouse staff will scan your membership card. Each membership card with dogs included will be allowed entry.  

For information on UMN animal policy and how it applies to our Arboretum click here.

On-Leash Dog Trails Distinctive Features

On-Leash Dog Trails Distinctive Features

  • 65 acre on-leash dog trail system; two main trails of varied length, linked by short connector trails
  • Portable outhouse at the front entrance to the On-Leash Dog Trails
  • Easy access and convenient parking
  • Water fountain for both dogs and people at the front entrance to the On-Leash Dog Trails
  • Dog waste bags and receptacles situated along the trails
  • Collar identification tags for registered members



The Dog Commons is a unique area that is separate from the main gardens, buildings and human-only areas of the Arboretum.

The Dog Commons, which contains the new On-Leash Dog Trails, is located in the northwest section of the Arboretum public grounds and features distinctive borders and two trails:

  • Green On-Leash Dog Trail (shorter distance) 
  • Blue On-Leash Dog Trail (3.1 mi)

Dog Map




View a map of the location and trails


  • From the Arboretum main Gatehouse, follow signs past Parking to Learning Center. 
  • Continue driving past Learning Center. 
  • Take the first left turn up the hill to Overflow Parking. 
  • Entry to On-Leash Dog Trails is on the right (west) edge of Overflow Parking. 

Dog Commons On-Leash Trail Rules

Dog Commons On-Leash Trail Rules

To ensure safety and enjoyment for all, on-leash dog trail users must strictly observe the following regulations.




1. On-leash dog area hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. or sunset (whichever is earlier)

2. Use of the dog trail is at your own risk. Each owner is solely responsible for their and their Dog’s actions and assumes all liability for damages suffered by any person or dog injured by the member’s dog(s) while utilizing the dog trail.

3. No smoking, alcohol, food, or glass containers are permitted on the Dog Commons.

4. Dogs are to remain leashed and monitored closely at all times.

5. Members are required to clean up after their dog(s). All waste must be bagged and disposed of properly in the marked receptacles.

6. Members are responsible to ensure their dog(s) do not dig holes or cause damage to trail plants or property.

7. Prong, pinch, choke or spike collars and retractable leashes are not permitted in the on-leash Dog Area for safety reasons.

8. All dogs entering the dog trail must be healthy and must wear a collar displaying their current member tag, rabies tag and dog license if required by your city’s ordinance. Dogs with contagious health conditions are not permitted in the park.

10. There will be regular maintenance of the dog trail. During those times, the trail will be closed; advance notice will be given if possible.

11. For all emergencies, call 911. For non-emergencies, during normal business hours, call the Arboretum (952) 443-1400 and state your name, how you can be reached and reason for the call. Any serious injury should be reported promptly to the police.

12. All or any rules are subject to change without notice as deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of both humans and dogs.

Those found in violation of these rules by Arboretum employees may lose Dog Commons On- Leash Trail privileges without refund.