The Rockford Park District operates 3 dog parks in the area. While all of them are excellent you should know what to expect when going to one and which one is perfect for your dog(s).

I took the two most photogenic beings in my family, Echo and Sasha (8 year old Siberian Husky sisters), for a look at these beautiful parks. If you know anything about huskies you know that having them off leash is basically an impossibility because of their drive to run. We hit up one of these parks a couple times a week and I get dirty looks if we've gone too many days in a row without going.

Make sure you get a tag for your dog before you go. Day passes can be purchased for $3 a dog if you'd like to try it out first. Annual passes are $40 for the first dog and $20 for any additional dog. ($48/$24 for non-residents). Passes can be purchased at either RPD customer service sites. Proof of rabies vaccination must be provided at time of purchase.

Have fun and say hi if you see two huskies having the time of their lives.

  • Echo bringing up the rear in our initial bolt out of the gate.
    Echo bringing up the rear in our initial bolt out of the gate.

    Elliot Park

    S. Lyford and Mill Roads

    This is the smallest of the three parks. Located right by Elliot Golf Course and Clock Tower Resort this 2-acre park is divided into 2 different fenced in areas. Each of these areas are about the size of a very large backyard. This location is excellent for first time users or less energetic dogs. There's plenty of space to run but my girls get a bit bored after about 15 minutes.

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    Olson Park

    7901 Harlem Road

    This is the "mama bear" of the three parks. Big enough to let your dog blow off some real steam but small enough for you to always know roughly where your dog is. This 6.5-are site has some wooded areas that your dog can investigate and a small stream that will certainly attract any mutt that likes to mud it up.

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    Searls Park

    4950 Safford Road

    This park is huge and also where we go the majority of the time. At 24 acres the Searls location is one of the largest fenced in public dog parks in Illinois and is divided into 3 connected sections. The first section is about 3 acres and is what I would describe as the "communal" section of the park. This is where the majority of people hang out while their dogs play with each other and is a fairly wide open place. The middle area is heavily wooded 6 acre forest with trails that allows your dog to really run wild through the trees. The crown jewel of the whole Canine Corners system lies in the last ~15 acre section. This section will take a good 30 minutes to hike the entire perimeter and allows you to tire out the most rambunctious of dogs. This is without a doubt Sasha and Echo's favorite part of any trip. I would make sure you are confident that your dog will come when called before venturing out into this section or a 30 minute hike could turn into a 2 hour hunt for a dog that's having too much fun.

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