National Forest – 12 paws better than the real thing

Most people in life want the original masterpiece, the real McCoy so to speak. I have to admit I’ve never been one of those people. Put it down to my naturally frugal nature, or just the fact that I’m a bit of an odd-ball, but I’ve always been more attracted to going off the beaten track and finding the hidden gem. As we’ve been travelling round in the RV this tendency has only grown stronger and it’s supported, in large part, by our doggie Polly.

Now I love our National Parks, don’t get me wrong. Many of them are stunning treasures and deserve all the preservation they get. But, and here’s the big black pen coming out, they’re all very unfriendly to man’s best friend. You can ride a horse into Bryce, take a donkey into the Grand Canyon, ATV in Capitol Reef or bike all around Moab, but for some asinine reason you can’t take your dog on a single trail (with very, very few exceptions). For those of us who are responsible dog owners and travel the road with our pooch’s this is a real negative. So, what’s a dog-gone-lover to do?

As it turns out there’s an excellent alternative that speaks directly to my inner nature. Bordering almost every one of the grand National Parks are areas of National Forest. They tend to be just as pretty, are practically unvisited with pristine trails and, here’s the kicker, they’re all completely dog-friendly. So, you can stay ~15 miles from the rim of the Grand Canyon in dog-friendly  Kaibab National Forest or ~10 miles from Bryce in pooch-happy Red Canyon. Then, while all the tourists sheep-herd to the popular trails you can go for a quiet 3-hour hike in your own little paradise, the whole family in tow. On top of this most of the campsites are awesome. For a mere $10-$15/night you’ll get plenty of space, a grill, fire pit, toilets and maybe even a shower. There won’t be any electrical hook-ups, but there’s plenty of space between sites and most places offer water and a dump area. Who needs the TV in a place like this anyway?

National forests are fast becoming a favorite of ours and I can see us frequenting them even more as we travel. So, if you fancy a trip off the beaten track, and you love your pets as much as we do, skip the real thing and stay in the forest.

View from one of the isolated trails in Red Canyon National Forest
Paul relaxes at our gorgeous $15/night campground in Red Canyon
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  1. Robert Nuttmann says

    Add to your list of “asinine” places California State Parks. No dogs on any of the trails. I volunteer at one in the mountains east of San Diego. Horses leaving giant deposits on the trails is fine, but no dogs even if owners pick up the leavings.

    • libertatemamo says

      We noticed that at a lot of the California State Parks (State Beaches) on the coast. I think there was only one (or two) I found that had trails you could bring the dogs.


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