Dog Parks and Off-Leash Areas in the Snoqualmie, North Bend

[Guest article by North Bend resident and professional pet trainer for Le Chic Pet, Melissa Grant.]

Whew, what a difficult article this has been to write. I started off intending to write about Three Forks Off-Leash Dog Park, but in researching that article I realized there is much confusion about what areas are what, i.e. leash or no leash?

Some areas are off-leash dog parks; some areas are not designated off-leash parks, but dogs may be off-leash; and lastly, some areas are strictly leashed areas.


I sure was. To make matters worse, when concentrating on specific areas like Rattlesnake Lake, I realized there were two, sometimes three,leashenforcedsign government entities making the rules for that area.

After many phone calls I ruled out King County and the City of North Bend and found that the watershed recreation area (Rattlesnake) is managed by Seattle Public Utilities and the Iron Horse Trail and parking lot are managed by Washington State Parks. BUT, since it is in rural King County, the King County municipal code is in effect.

Are you with me still?

Ok, so now to decipher the signage. The sign when you enter the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot for the recreation area says, “Keep Animals under Control at all Times.” Another on the trail around the lake says, “Keep your Dog Under Control at all Times. Your dog is on a leash or Under Voice Command” (Heels when told;  stays; refrains from barking; is restrained from approaching any other animal or person). Then the sign across the street says, “Pets on Leash Strictly Enforced – $87.00 fine.”

Huh? What’s a dog owner to do?

In talking to many dog owners at the park and on various Facebook forums, I realized there was a general confusion about what all of this rattlesnakesignmeans. Some insisted that Rattlesnake Lake is an off-leash park and that if you don’t like dogs, well, just don’t go there. In fact, I have been there with my elderly dog only to quickly leave due to out of control pooches wreaking havoc on everyone on the beach.

The view that Rattlesnake Lake is an off-leash park is so prevalent that it spurred me to do all this research.

Here is what I know:

The only designated off-leash park in the upper Valley is the Three Forks Off-Leash Dog Park.  This is the place where you can go and not worry about leashed dogs; people who don’t like dogs; or old dogs like mine.  No one should be worried about getting dirty or if they get jumped on.

Out of control (while I don’t recommend it) is kind of the name of the game. It’s a great, beautiful park. However, if you walk to the park on the Snoqualmie Valley trail, your pooch needs to be on a leash or you face potential fines because the trail is King County property.

Three Forks Off-Leash Dog Park in Snoqualmie.
Three Forks Off-Leash Dog Park in Snoqualmie.

What about Rattlesnake and Iron Horse?

Iron horse is an on-leash park, strictly enforced. Rattlesnake is NOT an off-leash park, but your dog may be off-leash as long as it is underrattlesnake strict voice control.

Voice control means your dog will stop on a dime and return to you when you call, no exceptions.  Off-leash training is definitely a difficult task, but is crucial for the safety of those around you and for the safety of your dog.  Even if your dog is the nicest dog on earth, that other dog wearing the leash may be restrained for a very good reason.

Keeping your dog and those around you safe should be your number one priority.

Comments are closed.


  • Great article, Melissa! Yes, it’s mighty confusing. For safety and respect, I think it always boils down to: when in doubt, leash. While not always apparent, there are good reasons for leash laws. If it’s an off-leash experience that you seek with your pup, please do everyone a favor. Use one of the many true, bona-fide, fenced (or semi-fenced) off-leash parks in the area (signs clearly designate those as “off leash park or play area”, or hike way, way, way up the trail to the backcountry, where you can decide whether or not your dog is safe off-leash. And that’s a great topic for another time.
    Thanks for doing the research for us, and for clarifying a murky, confusing situation.

  • While on the fence post with regards to the topic at hand, very interesting and very well written.. However- comma- many will decide to disagree “because they can”.. Our furry friends albeit as much as they want to mind, as much as you’ve spent your hard earned dollar for training for them to mind.. they, in fact have a mind of their own- by nature even.. Canine (and feline alike) are a better judge of character than any one of us could be.. by instinct our pups run up excitedly wagging their tails and greeting other passers-by whether or not they are two-legged or four-legged.. it’s naive of me to think that other owners with more “aggressive” type would actually be more mindful and controlling if/when they are out in public with their furry’s.. In a perfect scenario- I’d like to think that whomever visits the park, visits so in good faith and has no ill will towards people or pups alike.. but sadly there is that one in what? a hundred that will prove to be the otherwise- LEST US NOT FORGET THE SCARDY CATS that refuse to give a “bully breed” half the chance- because of their own misconceptions.. remember- the majority of canine owners is NOT Michael Vick.. A well respected, a well raised “bully breed” (as the masses call them) are the most loyal, the most lovable canines I’d be proud to acknowledge as an acquaintance and a friend.. these pups, these dogs- they need our support to believe in them, to love them and to nurture them like the “nanny dogs” they once had the privileged reputation of owning.. keep our homes safe, keep our children safe.. and overall- protect our “breeds”.. they love us unconditionally- they deserve the same respect and love.

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