Resources & Reviews

The Ultimate Guide To Johnson County’s Off-Leash Dog Parks

Folks, its dog park season.

The dog park is almost a daily occurrence here since we live in a rental and don’t having a fenced in yard. But even if you are lucky enough to have space at home for your dog to burn off energy and explore the outdoors, dog parks provide a valuable opportunity for dogs to socialize and learn how to interact in a pack setting.

Johnson County offers plenty of options for those looking for a regular canine hot-spot.

Iowa City’s Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park

This park is located at the end of Foster Rd, in the Peninsula neighborhood. This is our regular haunt. It covers 12-acres, with a pond and jumping doc, and two additional fenced in areas: one for small dogs and one for training or more particular dogs.

This park, in our experience, is well regulated and well maintained. Permits can be obtained from the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center, or the Iowa City Animal Shelter, for $52 for Iowa City residents, or $57 for non-residents, although five dollar discounts are offered on each if your dog is spayed or neutered.

Day passes may also be obtained for five dollars and if no attendant is present, envelopes are available to submit the passes on an honor system.

Iowa City’s Rita’s Ranch

Iowa City’s second dog park is a three-acre lot on the east side of the city, in Scott Park on Scott Blvd.

Both these parks are operated by the Iowa City city government and adhere to the same rules and regulations. Permits can be used at either of these locations.

City of Tiffin’s Off-Leash Dog Park

Tiffin has a local dog park located on Kimberlite St. in City Park. Memberships can be obtained through the city for five dollars a year.

Washington’s Sunset Dog Park

Their facebook page boasts that they are, “quite possibly the smallest town in the U.S. to have a dog park.”

This park is a little over an acre, and is on the western side of Sunset Park, off Highway 92.

Membership’s are available for $20 a year through Washington’s Paws & More Shelter.

And keep an eye out for the dog park North Liberty announced last year, and hoped to have open this summer.

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