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Best Dog Parks in Arizona (Cosmo, Papago, Shawnee & More)

Last Updated: August 5, 2020 | 8 min read

Dog Parks in Arizona

Arizona is a beautiful desert state in the southwest of the U.S. whose most famous must-see destination is the Grand Canyon, a mile-deep gorge that was carved out of the rock over millennia by the raging Colorado River. With its spectacular scenery and friendly welcome, if you’ve never been to Arizona before, you really should come!

If you’re planning on coming to Arizona on vacation or you’re moving here and bringing your dog with you, you’ll need to know more about what the state has to offer for your pet. The good news for Fido is that there is an abundance of dog parks in Arizona, especially around the city of Phoenix. And did you know that Arizona’s unofficial state dog is the Chihuahua?

This dog-friendly state’s many dog parks have designated fenced areas where you can watch your pet having off-leash fun in safety. Most dog parks offer water for thirsty pets and provide cleanup facilities such as plastic poop bags and pooper-scoopers.

In this guide, we take a tour of ten of the most popular dog parks in Arizona so that you know what’s on offer for your canine companion when you visit.

First of all, here’s some vital information that you’ll need to know if you’re bringing your dog to Arizona.


In Arizona, all dogs over the age of three months must have a license. Before you can obtain a license for your pet, you’ll need to have proof that he is up to date with his rabies vaccinations. That means you must have a valid vaccination certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian. The document must contain:

  • Vaccine manufacturer’s name
  • Type of vaccine (MLV or Killed)
  • The lot or serial number
  • Date of vaccination
  • Veterinarian’s name
  • Date the certificate expires

In some counties, you can license your dog online, provided you have a current rabies vaccine certificate and current license.

Leash Laws

All states in Arizona observe a leash law. That means that your dog must be kept, unfettered by a rope or chain, in an enclosed area when on your property.

If you take your dog off your property, he must stay on a leash. However, in a designated dog park, you may allow your pet to roam unleashed, as long as he is not aggressive.

Park Rules

All Arizona’s dog parks have a set of rules to which visitors must adhere:

  • You must clean up after your dog. Waste containers are provided along the dog parks’ fence lines.
  • You must keep your dog leashed until you are safely inside the park and the entrance gates are fully closed.
  • Your dog must be supervised at all times and must be under voice control.
  • If your dog becomes aggressive, you must leash him immediately and leave the dog park area.
  • To maintain cleanliness in the park, you must not groom your pet there.
  • Ideally, only dogs that have been de-sexed should come to the dog parks. If you have female dog in heat, she will not be allowed to enter the dog park.
  • Food, alcohol, and smoking materials are not allowed within the fenced areas of the park.
  • Due to the unpredictable behavior of some dogs around small children, kids under the age of 12 should not enter the dog parks.
  • You enter the dog park at your own risk.
  • All dogs in the dog park must be wearing a collar with an ID tag, and they should also have a microchip.

There may be slightly different rules in different jurisdictions. For that reason, before you come, you should check current regulations with the local government office for the area you are planning to visit with your dog. Different states have different rules, so make sure to brush up on local requirements.

Our 10 Picks

We’ve put together a list of ten of the most popular dog parks that Arizona has to offer.

Check out what’s available in the area you plan to visit or relocate to.

Chaparral Park, Scottsdale

Chaparral Park is located (here) in Scottsdale. The dog park has three acres of grass, play features, water fountains for thirsty owners and dogs, and shaded benches where you can sit and watch your pet having fun.

The dog park comprises three main areas. One area is always closed for maintenance and turf repair. The other two areas are split into separate jurisdictions. One park is for passive dogs who just enjoy quietly sniffing and chilling out, and the other is for more active dogs who love a game and a good run around.

The dog park is an off-leash facility.

Note that the park is closed for maintenance on Tuesdays and Fridays between 8 am and noon.

Papago Park, Phoenix

Papago Park is located in (here) Phoenix, close to Phoenix Zoo.

Papago is one of the most popular parks in Phoenix for dog owners and their families. There’s a beautiful lake, picnic areas, hiking trails, and playgrounds too. Your dog is welcome to be by your side while you’re chilling out in the park or if you feel more energetic and take a trek up the mountain.

There’s also an off-leash area where folks’ dogs can roam freely and play together.

Cesar Chavez Park, Laveen Village

You’ll find picturesque Cesar Chavez Park (here) in Laveen Village, Phoenix.

Cesar Chavez Park boasts stunning, 25-acre Alford Lake, the largest urban fishing lake in Arizona. You can take your pooch for a scenic stroll around the one-mile loop that encircles the lake, and there are also designated off-leash areas for either small or large dogs.

If your dog enjoys playing with other pups and making new canine friends, check out the off-leash area behind the skate park.

Cosmo Dog Park, Gilbert

Cosmo Dog Park is located (here) in Gilbert. The park is a favorite spot for dog owners to take their pets to play and have fun with other canines.

In the park, you’ll find a dog lake for pups who like to cool off and take a dip on a hot day. There are also wash stations where you can bathe your dog if he gets mucky, and there are special dog drinking fountains, ensuring that your precious pet won’t get dehydrated on a hot day.

Cosmo Dog Park boasts designated areas for both large and small pups. There is nighttime lighting and a playground where your kids can play while Fido romps with his new furry friends. Altogether, there are four fenced-off areas in the dog park where dogs can play off-leash safely. Dog owners can rent a Ramada for the day so that the family can have fun and make a day of their trip to this beautiful park.

Crossroads Dog Park

Also in Gilbert (here), Crossroads Dog Park is a two-acre space that’s ideal if you want a more confined area for your dog to play in. There are three picnic ramadas that you can reserve on any day of the week, which would be ideal if you want to hold a dog party with your friends.

There are two sections to the dog park; one for lively dogs and another for quieter or older pups who don’t want to run around too much. On a warm day, you can watch your dog having fun from a shaded table and bench.

The park provides doggie drinking fountains and waste disposal stations too. And, for dog owners who want to walk their pets at night, the south end of the dog park is partially lit.

Shawnee Bark Park

If you’re visiting the town of Chandler in Arizona, check out Shawnee Bark Park (here).

As well as plenty of space for your pup to enjoy some off-leash fun with other canines, Shawnee Bark Park has a dog agility course. This free-to-use obstacle course is an excellent place for your dog to work off some excess energy, and you can use it for training too. Obstacles include a see-saw, a balance beam, hurdles, and a tunnel. On hot days, your pup can enjoy a cooling dip in the man-made pond.

If you get tired playing with your pup around the agility course, benches are provided. Also, there are doggy drinking fountains and pooper-scoopers. The off-leash park area is surrounded by six-foot-high chain link fencing, and there’s only one main entrance to prevent would-be escapees from getting loose.

Shawnee Park itself is a beautiful Oasis with well-kept grassy areas and pretty, hilly scenery, and it is well worth a visit if you fancy some downtime in a peaceful setting.

Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix

Steele Indian School Park (here) in central Phoenix invites off-leash activity for both small and large dogs and provides separate, designated areas for each. Chilled doggie drinking fountains are available for thirsty pups, and the pathways are ADA-compliant for safety.

The dog park is open from 6 am until 10 pm every day, and there are solar-powered lights for your convenience if you want to use the park at night. Double-gated entrances and high, chain link fencing keeps your dog safe and secure while he plays.

Wend your way around the paw-shaped pathways as you watch your pet romping with his pals, or take a seat under a shade tree to relax and talk all things canine with other dog owners.

RJ Dog Park at Pecos Park, Phoenix

RJ Dog Park is situated in Pecos Park, Phoenix (here). The park is open from 6 am until 11 pm every day.

The park is fully-fenced for security and pet safety and offers two grassy areas designated for large and small dogs. Shaded areas and doggie water fountains are provided to keep your pet cool on hot days.

If you come here with your family, as well as your furbaby, you’ll find ample parking, an extensive play area, a skateboard park, and a community swimming pool.

Sahuaro Ranch Dog Park, Glendale

Sahuaro Ranch Dog Park is situated (here) in the town of Glendale.

This park has designated, fenced off-leash areas where dogs can interact and play. There’s a separate area for small dogs, and a few pieces of agility equipment are provided for extra exercise and fun. Waste stations and doggie water fountains are provided.

Sahuaro Ranch Park is also worth a visit for on-leash walks with your family. Check out the historic ranch buildings, soccer fields, picnic areas, and softball complex.

The dog park area is open from 6 am until 10 pm every day except Tuesday.

Northern Horizon Park, Glendale

Northern Horizon Park is situated (here) in Glendale. This lovely space has designated, fenced areas for small and large dogs to play in off-leash. Doggie drinking fountains and waste stations are provided. The dog park is open every day from 6 am to 10 pm except Monday, when it closes for maintenance.

This community park currently covers approximately 12 acres, although there are plans to extend the park to an impressive 40 acres when it is complete. Your family can enjoy the well-equipped, public safety-themed playground while you relax and prepare your picnic in one of the three covered ramadas provided. Keen junior cyclists will enjoy the bicycle safety stations that are located throughout the park, and there’s a mini rock-dodge course to try out too.

Wrap Up

The desert state of Arizona offers plenty to do for those who enjoy warm weather and want to explore the Wild West with their dog. Although you will need to keep your pup leashed at all times when you’re out and about in the state, there are plenty of specially designated off-leash dog parks where your pet can play and roam around loose.

Remember that Arizona is a desert state. That means that in summer, daily temperatures typically rise to over 800F. Although most dog parks do offer a degree of natural shade and most have doggy drinking fountains, it’s advisable to wait for the cool of the evenings or head out early in the morning to exercise your pet. For that reason, all Arizona’s dog parks are open from around 6 am through to 10 pm or 11 pm.

When visiting Arizona with your dog, be mindful of licensing and vaccination rules. If you’re in any doubt about what’s required, check with a local veterinarian before you come.

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