A Dog Owner’s Guide to Tanner Park

If you’ve ever asked for recommendations on a dog park around Salt Lake, chances are someone has brought up Tanner Park. With a generous off leash area that feels more like you’re on a hike than in a dog park, this is a popular spot for dogs to get some energy out. Shade and a creek round out the features that make this park so beloved among Salt Lake City dog owners and their pups.

The formal name for this area is Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve. Despite that, you will hear locals use the colloquial names Tanner Park or Tanner Dog Park to refer to the off leash area of the Preserve- likely due to being adjacent to a county park called Tanner. Regardless of what you call it, there’s no doubt this park is one of the best dog parks in Salt Lake City.

Getting to Tanner Dog Park

Located just off I-80 near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, Tanner Park is easily accessible just off of the freeway. Whether you are a local or simply a roadtripper looking for a Utah dog park near the interstate, your dog will be grateful for you stopping.

If you’re using Google Maps or Apple Maps to find this park, your best bet is to type in “Tanner Dog Park” to get to the right spot. The parking lot you’ll want is on the corner of Heritage Way and 2700 East (click here for a dropped pin!). There are only about 2 dozen spaces so during peak times you may need to find nearby street parking. 

Once parked, following 2700 East north past the gate will get you into the off leash section of Tanner Park.

What to expect in Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve

Upon entering the park you’ll be greeted by a moderately steep hill that takes you down into the canyon. While Tanner Park is not fully fenced, there is fencing that will keep you and your pup on the primary trail. Dogs should have good recall skills before attempting to utilize this park. Best practice? Your pup should be no more than 50-100 feet in front of you and always in sight.

At the bottom of the hill you’ll encounter the first of two popular water spots. Even though Parley’s Creek runs through the majority of the preserve, fencing makes much of it inaccessible to dogs. This little cove of the creek is perfect for both experienced and new water pups, with a calm flow and typically low water level. A bridge running over the creek is large enough that your pup could go under, landing them on the other side of the fence, so keep a close eye on your dog.

The trail branches at this portion of the creek, but most people continue right/to the east to the main trail of the park. Expect shade on only about a quarter of this dirt trail as you continue toward the other accessible portion of the creek. 

Another 15 minutes of walking will dead end you at the second spot for creek access. Larger and deeper, this portion of Parley’s Creek is better suited for moderate to advanced dog swimmers. At one end of the swimming hole you’ll note a large water pipe where the creek feeds into Tanner Dog Park. In summer expect to see thrill seekers riding floaties through this pipe as they “shoot the tube.”

You’ve now reached the end of the off leash trail at Tanner Dog Park/Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve! Time to turn around for the approximately one mile trek back to the parking lot.

Tanner Dog Park in the winter

With the creek running through Parley’s Historic Nature Preserve, it’s natural you’d ask, “Is Tanner Dog Park open in the winter?” YES! Tanner Park is open year round, but there are some additional precautions to consider when visiting during the colder months. Creek access is not blocked, so keep that in mind when choosing Tanner Park in the winter.

During particularly wet or snowy times of the year, the hill leading into Tanner Park can be downright treacherous as packed snow turns into a downhill ice rink. Your best bet is to use a traction device attached to your shoe- we love Yaktrax! At less than $20, these fit right over your shoes and provide additional stability when navigating the icy hill.

Because of the difficulties snow and ice pose, note that Salt Lake Parks and Public Lands does not do trash service at Tanner Park during the winter months. You’ll notice all the usual trash cans have disappeared except for the ones at the very top of the hill. Be prepared that you will need to pack dog waste out of the park during this time.

Finally, as winter gives way to spring the snow will melt into creek runoff. During this time the creek at the end of the trail will have very high, swift moving water that is best to keep your dog away from. Several dogs per year die getting swept away by the currents. Being a smart dog owner is critical.

Other dog parks you might like

If you love Tanner Park but need a change of scenery, consider these other parks that should also be on your radar:

  • Rotary Glen Dog Park: Located at the base of Emigration Canyon, this unfenced park has creek access to the right and is usually almost empty.
  • Memory Grove Park: Just north of downtown Salt Lake City, Memory Grove Park has an unfenced, off leash trail with creek access at the north end of the park.
  • Run a Muk Dog Park: A Park City favorite, this 43-acre fenced park sits just below Utah Olympic Park and offers several miles of easy trails.
  • Willow Creek Dog Pond: This fully fenced, dogs only pond with a dock is the perfect place to cool off in summer.

Now get out and enjoy all the great dog parks around northern Utah! As always, please tag @dogfriendlyslc on Instagram and use #dogfriendlyslc so we can keep up with your adventures.

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