The Dog Commons On-Leash Dog Trails
at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Dog-added Membership
is required for dogs to experience the trails (except during the Dog Commons Public Open House on June 5, 2016, when all trails are accessible to everyone) 

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 new 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.

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 NEW 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)

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 first left turn up the hill to Overflow Parking. 
  • Entry to On-Leash Dog Trails is on the right (west) edge of Overflow Parking. 
Membership is required

For dogs to access the Dog Commons and on-leash Dog Trails, an Arboretum Dog-added membership is required. Upon entry, Arboretum gatehouse staff will ask to see your Arboretum-issued id tag for your dog. The annual dog-added membership fee (valid for the season from April through November), is in addition to your "human" membership.
Membership Fees 
$50.00 - Dog-added membership (up to two dogs), includes a one-time issued dog tag(s)
$5.00 - Replacement of lost dog tag
Learn more and Register for a Dog-added Membership 
Questions? Call the Membership Office at 612-301-1257 or email 

Rules & Regulations
To ensure safety and enjoyment for all, on-leash dog trail users must strictly observe the following regulations. Those found in violation will lose dog trail privileges without refund.

 - On-Leash Dog Trails hours: Approximately April - November, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
 reference general Arboretum grounds hours
 - All members, even those with "easy pass" membership, must use the regular membership lane at the gate house when coming to the Arb with their dog so the attendant can check the tag and membership.
- There will be regular maintenance of the on-leash dog trail and during those times, the trail will be closed; the Arboretum will try to give advance notice when possible.

 - All dogs entering the dog trail must be healthy
 - All dogs must wear a collar displaying:
     •  current member tag
     •  rabies tag
     •  dog license (only if required by your city's ordinance).

 - Smoking
 - Alcohol
 - Food (dog food or treats are OK)
 - Glass containers
 - Prong, pinch, choke and/or spike collars (they pose a safety risk to dogs and people).
 - Flexi-leashes (they pose a safety risk to dogs and people).
 - Dogs with contagious health conditions 

 - Dogs are to remain leashed, on a 6- to 8- foot leash, at all times when entering and exiting the dog trail.
 - Members must accompany and monitor dogs closely. Dogs must be on-leash, in view of and under voice command of their handlers at all times.
 - Flexi-leashes and Prong, pinch, choke and/or spike collars are not allowed (they pose a safety risk to dogs and people). 
 - Gentle Leaders are acceptable and allowed. 

 - Members are required to clean up after their dog(s). All waste must be bagged and disposed of properly in the marked receptacles.
 - Members are responsible to ensure their dog(s) do not dig holes or cause damage to trail plants or property. 

-  Dog-added members start and end their walk only at the west edition/overflow parking area. There are no accessible links to other areas of the Arboretum grounds. The on-leash trails have distinctive boundaries - with north and west boundaries fenced and south and east borders with vegetative boundaries.
- Dogs will only be allowed in the Dog Commons area. Dogs are not permitted on three-mile drive, in buildings or cafe, or other areas of the Arboretum grounds.
-  It is against the law (see Mn. Statute 346.57) and the Arboretum policy for animals to be left unattended in parked cars when it endangers their health and safety. Primarily this is a problem when the weather gets warmer and high temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and death. We ask if you see a dog left in a hot parked car, do the following:
     1. Take down the car's make, model and license plate number
     2. Notify the reception staff at the Visitor Center and ask them to make an announcement over the radio to find car's owner
     3. If the owner cannot be found, the Arboretum staff will contact the local officials (such as humane agent, or fire and rescue department) to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.


  • If a dog suddenly starts clawing at their face or drooling excessively they may have been bitten or stung.
  • If your dog exhibits such signs of distress contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • The Arboretum follows the intergrated Management Techniques as state in this handbook HERE.
  • Please see information HERE from the Center for Disease Control on preventing ticks on your dog, and HERE for preventing ticks on yourself.


For all emergencies, call 911.
For non-emergencies, during normal business hours, call the Arboretum reception desk at: (952) 443-1400 and state your name, how you can be reached and reason for the call. The receptionist will pass the message on to the most appropriate person.
Any serious injury should be reported promptly to the police.

 - Use of the dog trails 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 trails.
 - Failure to comply with the above regulations will result in revocation of your dog-added membership.
 - All or any rules are subject to change without notice as deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of both humans and dogs.

Walking your dog on the Arboretum On-Leash Dog Trails can enrich your mind, body and spirit. Learn more.



A "Bill of Rights for Dogs"

  • Dogs have feelings - it is the responsibility of the human guardian to recognize and practice kindness and empathy towards dogs
  • Dogs have needs ­ it is the responsibility of the human guardian to recognize the needs of a dog to be happy, healthy and comfortable
  • Dogs require safety ­ it is the responsibility of the human guardian to keep dogs safe at alltimes - wearing a 6- to 8- ­foot leash, identifying the dog and keeping updated vaccinations


at the Arboretum

Nature/Animal Appreciation &
Nature-Based Therapeutics Classes

April 29, 2017 
On-Leash Dog Trail re-opens for season

October 26, 2016
Speak! Conference

A Kinship of All Creatures: Broadening our knowledge of Human-Animal Interactions