Looking for a provincial park-like trail experience that’s off-leash trail and surprisingly accessible for Toronto city dwellers? Then check out Sherwood Park Dog Park, Toronto’s mini off-leash trail located just west of Sunnybrook Park, then you need to give this space a visit!
I feel like I need to stress that Sherwood Park is an off-leash trail and not your standard fenced open-space dog park. There are so few off-leash spaces in Toronto where you can actually go on a hike with your pup, but if you’re looking for one – then this is it, everyone! An actual trail that takes you through boardwalks, forest trails, and wooden staircases too! And best of all you don’t need to drive hours away to enjoy this thanks to its midtown location.
Sherwood Park Off-Leash Area Review
Here’s a quick summary of Sherwood Park’s Dog Park before we dive into a detailed review:
Hours of Operation: Sunrise – Sunset
Terrain: Dirt / Forest trails with wood stairs, walkways, and some concrete walkways
Address: 190 Sherwood Ave, Toronto, Ontario
- 30 minutes in the off-leash area
- Additional 2 hours if you plan on walking the recreational areas on-leash towards Sunnybrook Dog Park
- Bring your own water into the park – there are no water sources in the off-leash area available to refill bottles
Key Features You’ll Love:
- Partially fenced trails
- Garbage and green bins by the dog park entrance
- Shaded forested off-leash trails through mature forests of 150+-year-old trees
- Water park for kids nearby
- Picnic site nearby
- There is a tobogganing hill nearby for the kids (or yourself, or your dog!) in the winter months
- Recreational Trail can take you to the nearby Sunnybrook Dog Park
May Not Be Ideal For:
- Dogs with poor recall that like to squeeze through open holes in fences
- Small dogs require a dedicated small dog area
- Dogs looking for a quiet off-leash dog area (this park is regularly visited by commercial dog walkers)
- People with accessibility needs – there are a lot of stairs and the terrain is not the smoothest for strollers
Directions to Sherwood Park’s Dog Park
This park is best reached by car as the closest bus stop is about a 6-minute walk away from the busy Eglinton Avenue.
Sherwood Park offers limited (but free!) parking in their parking lot located between Sherwood Ave and Sheldrake Blvd. However, because of the park’s popularity, the parking lot tends to fill up quickly – especially during peak dog walking hours (10 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM during weekdays, and afternoon weekends).
The parking lot fits about 20 cars, but many cars also tend to parallel park directly across from the designated lots. I’d recommend coming during off-peak hours to ensure a spot if you’re visiting by car!
Directions to Sherwood Park Off-Leash Area from the parking lot:
From the parking lot, you’ll need to make your way down the park entrance and around a slight bend. The off-leash area’s entrance is at the base of the hill. You’ll know you have reached the entrance after you’ve crossed a small roadway that passes over a small stream. A set of stairs with a small sign at the end will indicate the start of the off-leash designated area.
Key Features You’ll Love – Sherwood Park Dog Park Toronto
Here is an in-depth look at all the key features offered at Sherwood Park:
❤️ Partially fenced trails.
The entrance and the trails are enclosed by partial fences. Dogs who like to keep nearby or stay on designated trails will really enjoy this straightforward space. However, many of the fences are partially broken and I’ve seen plenty of Golden Retrievers and other large dogs squeeze through the fence and traverse the forested area.
❤️ Garbage and green bins by the dog park entrance.
Right by the entrance, you’ll find green bins, black bins, and blue bins for all of your needs. In the few times that I’ve visited this park, the bins are always well maintained and never overflowing.
❤️ Shaded forested off-leash trails.
With 150+-year-old White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, American Beech, and plenty of other established trees in the forest, this off-leash space makes it hard to believe that you’re even in a metropolitan area.
❤️ The washrooms are in the park.
Public bathrooms are available nearby and are open between 9:00 AM – dusk during the summer months. You’ll find the public bathrooms on the East end of the park toward Blythwood Ravine (where the playground and picnic pavilion are located)
❤️ Tobogganing hill.
As you make your way downhill from the Sherwood Parking lot, there is a public picnic space with some great hills that make for a popular tobogganing hill for kids, dogs, and adults alike. If you’re looking for other dog parks with similar hills nearby, be sure to check out Jack Darling Dog Park, or Riverdale East Dog Bowl!
❤️ Water park & picnic sites nearby.
There’s a reason this park is popular in the area! It’s not just popular with dogs, but plenty of folks with young children flock to this park to enjoy the water park and picnic sites located nearby.
❤️ 5 KM Recreational Trail.
A recreational trail from Sherwood Park connects East to Sunnybrook Parks’ Dog Park. If you’re like me – chances are you’re more of a weekend warrior than an everyday warrior – meaning excuses to go for longer walks with Limone on the weekend is very much nice to have!
When you visit Sherwood Park, you can easily make this walk into a longer bonding day session with your pup by heading East toward Sunnybrook Dog Park. Check out the All Trails map below to learn how to do so. The walk to Sunnybrook Dog Park is less than 2.5 km so it’s very doable even in under three hours if you’d like.
Missing Features You Should Know Before Visiting Sherwood Park
😐 The fences have holes.
I mentioned this in the key features already – but this is not a fully enclosed space. If you’re looking for an off-leash space with fully enclosed trails – I’d recommend checking out Jack Darling Dog Park in Mississauga instead.
😐 There is no dedicated small dog area.
😐 There are no poop bag dispensers.
Make sure to bring extra poop bags to this park.
😐 Running water is unavailable.
There are no nearby water fountains if you’re looking for clean potable water. However, the park has a stream with running water near the entrance that dogs can use to cool down during the hotter months. I’d still recommend bringing your own potable water for your pup when visiting the park though.
😐 No artificial lighting.
There are no street lights at night within the park so this park is best used during the day.
😐 Coyote alert signs are posted throughout the park.
Personally, I have yet to encounter a coyote in the park but there are signs posted around the park that indicate that they may occasionally roam through the park. There are certain techniques you can use to protect yourself and your dog if you see one and while most reviewers have not mentioned any coyote sightings, it’s best to do your own research on this before visiting. Optionally, you can learn more about whether coyotes are dangerous to dogs in my post here.
Review of Sherwood Park Off-Leash Area
If you haven’t visited Sherwood Dog Park in Toronto, chances are you’re going to find this park to be an underrated gem of an off-leash area. Unlike many other dog parks, this is 100% an off-leash trail space that takes you and your dog meandering through its short but scenic mature forested trail.
The outer loop of the designated off-leash area is a short 1 KM stroll that can easily be completed in 20 to 30 minutes. The outer loop takes you through varied terrain and multiple flights of stairs and wooden boardwalks while most of the inner midpoint pathways are forest trails. Because of the varied terrain, I wouldn’t recommend this off-leash park to dog owners with mobility issues. Below is Sherwood Park’s Dog Park Trail:
Having said that, the pathway is short and dog owners with young children have mentioned that the off-leash trail is also a kid-friendly walk.
My favourite aspect about this park is Sherwood Park’s unique offering traversing a wooden boardwalk off-leash. Hearing her paws patter on the wooden boards always fills me with joy and nothing makes me smile quite like watching her run up and down the stairs off-leash. To date, I haven’t found any other dog parks that offer an off-leash wooden boardwalk experience. I don’t know about you but something about traversing wooden boardwalks reminds me of hiking at provincial parks – and knowing that I can get an off-leash experience within Toronto is a huge plus!
Sherwood Park’s Off-Leash Area is nestled against the backyard of well-established homes in the neighbourhood to the north, and Mt Hope cemetery to the south. During the summer months, the foliage is often thick enough to cover these areas but if you’re visiting Sherwood Park in the fall or winter, you’ll be able to see these views on your walk.
While it’s a short and fenced trail, the trails sprawl across over 40 acres of space so, despite the smaller off-leash trail size, the park can comfortably accommodate 50+ dogs without hitting *too* many bottlenecks on the path.
I want to mention that during weekday visits, Sherwood Park is an extraordinarily popular place for Commerical Dog Walkers to visit. During our two-hour walk on a Wednesday afternoon (between 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM), we encountered at least 5 dog walkers each with 5 to 8 dogs in tow. If you’re visiting during peak dog walking times, expect some bottleneck traffic on the boardwalks and trails as you pass by groups of dogs.
One main complaint I have is that most of the fencing is comprised of two pieces of wood wrapped with flimsy chicken wire netting. After visiting the park over the course of a year, I’ve noticed that the fences have been left in a state of disrepair around the trails.
Much of the forest within the off-leash area has been marked as an ‘environmentally sensitive area and the fences are meant to keep dogs outside of these areas. However, many of the fences have had their wires chewed open or forced open by larger dogs so you’ll find many gaps or gaping holes throughout the fence. Dogs that like to squeeze through holes can easily enter these spaces, and for dogs with poor recall, some broken fences easily connect to the Mt Hope Cemetary across the road. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this space for all trail dogs because of this aspect.
Overall – I’d recommend Sherwood Park for city dwellers who are looking for a nearby off-leash trail space within the city limits. While it’s certainly one of the shorter off-leash trails I’ve experienced, the ambience, accessibility, and looped trail (to burn off excess energy) can’t be beaten. Sherwood Park makes for a great short-commitment dog park trip. Perfect for those who don’t want to commit a half day of the weekend or weekday visiting dog parks!
When I write my dog park reviews, I try to include seasonal details – even if I’ve only visited the dog park location a few times. I refer to Google Reviews for some additional seasonal information if I’ve only visited a few times to fill out the other seasonal information as much as possible.
Here are some key points to note depending on which season you are visiting this dog park.
Spring – Spring is a great time to enjoy the trails and watch the various leaves bud to life as you make your way through the trails. However, during the early spring days and wet days, expect the find several shallow mud puddles throughout the trail.
Summer – Fantastic park to visit during the hot summer days thanks to its mostly shaded trails and nearby access to a running stream to help dogs stay cool.
Fall – Fall is an especially beautiful time if you don’t mind the mud to enjoy. I haven’t been to the park during the peak fall season, but visiting in early November allowed us to run through the fallen leaves – which made for great fun.
Winter – On ‘warmer’ winter days or wet snow days, I’d recommend against completing the full loop because the trails are not maintained. There are some steep slopes that when icy, can be especially difficult to trek unless you have ice cleats on. I’d recommend visiting a flatter, open space during the winter months unless you’re comfortable and have experience walking on forested trails in icy seasons. Having said that, fresh snowy sessions were great here and are a huge hit – especially with the toboggan hill nearby too.
What Other Reviewers Are Saying
With over 1,521+ reviews and an average 4.7 out of 5 stars rating, Sherwood Dog Park is an exceptionally positive experience for almost every single visitor. Here are the recurring positive comments:
- Beautiful forested trails
- Amazing place to see fall colours
- Amazing location
In terms of negative or low-rated reviews, this is what most dissatisfied reviewers have to say:
- Poorly maintained fences
- Unleashed dogs everywhere – including leashed areas – not great for visitors with small kids – don’t go if you don’t love dogs
- Very icy stairs – no winter maintenance
Sherwood Dog Park Summary
Overall, Sherwood dog park is a great choice that many visitors have equated as ‘doggy paradise’ within the Toronto limits. With access to a mature woodlot, forested trails, and scenic wooden boardwalks, this short off-leash trail makes for a wonderful short trip.
City dwellers looking for accessible off-leash trails should definitely consider adding this dog park to their list as a nearby option! As you traverse through the wooded area, you’ll most likely feel like you’ve been transported a lot further away from the metropolitan noises than you really are.
This dog park is definitely worth checking out at least once if you’re around the area!
Nearby Pet-Friendly Activities
Sherwood Park Pet Stores Nearby:
Surprisingly, there are quite a few pet stores in the Sherwood park area. Best of all, they’re all within a 10-minute driving distance from the dog park! Note – not all the pet stores are pet-friendly so it’s always best to call ahead if you’re planning on visiting before or after going to Sherwood Park
- Pet Valu – 2578 Yonge Street
- PetSmart – 25 Industrial Street
- Leaside Pets – 1542 Bayview Ave *there is a store cat – known locally for great service – however, there isn’t any indication that this store allows pets indoors
- Pawland – 748 Mt Pleasant Rd * also includes grooming services
Similar Dog Parks
Are you looking for a similar dog park to Sherwood Park dog park? Here are a few of our recommendations!
Harmony Valley Off-Leash Dog Park in Oshawa – Sherwood Park dog park not giving your pup enough space to stretch as you’d like? Then definitely consider taking a mini-road trip down to Oshawa to visit Harmony Valley! While the off-leash trails are mostly unfenced in this Oshawa location, you’ll get much of the same wooded trails as you would at Sherwood Park with the added bonus of almost tripling the off-leash space. There’s even a large, dedicated small dog park within the off-leash area too!
Etobicoke Valley Off-Leash Dog Park – Still our hands-down favourite dog park to visit based on where we live and how much Limone enjoys this space. Etobicoke Valley offers plenty of watering holes, rocky beaches, open space, and a challenging 4km (round-trip) trail that takes you through cliff-side terrain and beautiful forest trails. Even when the parking lot is entirely full – it’ll often feel like you’re trekking the trails alone – especially the further in you go! There’s a reason why it’s a well-loved dog park and why plenty of dog owners are willing to regularly make the trek here.
Cherry Beach Dog Park – If you’re looking for a closer Toronto off-leash dog park with off-leash trails, then I’d recommend the cottage-esque and sandy beach walk at Cherry Beach! It’s not quite an off-leash trail but the space offers a diverse set of textures and terrain across concrete slabs, sand, dirt, and tree-covered spaces that it’ll be just as stimulating as a trail walk.
Have you visited Sherwood Dog Park? Let us know what you think of the park in the comments below!
What We Always Bring With Us to Dog Parks
What’s on Limone:
Depending on the situation we rotate Limone through various harnesses and collars:
- Our Everyday Harness: Julius K-9 IDC ® Longwalk Harness
- ‘Photo-Op/Meeting her Grandpawrents’ Harness: Knick Knack Paddy Whack Harness in Prime *locally made in Toronto
- ‘I’m dirty, my harness is dirty, and I need a shower so I can’t wear a harness anymore’ Collar: KONG® Comfort Weave Padded Dog Collar – we bring this with us whenever we know Limone is going to get muddy or go into the water for a swim and we can’t bother with a harness
Similarly, we rotate Limone’s leash based on our needs. These are the three leashes we use regularly:
- Everyday Leash: 4 My Merles Creations – Standard Braided Leash. *locally made in Orillia, Ontario. Here are the custom options we chose if you’d like the exact same one:
- Embroidered Handle
- Poly Webbing Color: Yellow
- Fleece Color: Red
- Fleece Color 2: Royal Blue
- Embroidery Color: Black
- ‘I’m going to get dirty and drag my leash around OR I’m going to be tied onto a doggy zipline’ Leash: Amazon’s Choice Dog Training Leash with Padded Handle – 6ft in Grey
- Long Line Lead: Amazon’s Choice 20ft Long Lead in Black