One of our favorite places to visit is a National Forest. There are so many wonderful reasons to visit a forest, and for us our top three is because #1 usually there are not a ton of other people around or they leave you alone, unlike a popular national park, #2 camping is plentiful and mostly FREE, and #3 our dogs can explore mostly unleashed (and we are good stewards of the land! #PackinPackout)
When visiting a National Park dogs are required to stay on leash, of course, and remain on the trail. While we absolutely agree with this type of regulation as we agree in preservation, etc etc, but realistically we love to travel with our dogs and this does present a problem when we just want our little ones to stretch their legs and not be bothered by large crowds. We like to travel to beautiful places, which means a lot of time in a vehicle. We have always appreciated the national forests that seem to surround or are usually pretty close to a National Park for us to visit. In areas where signs state no dogs, vegetation restoration in progress, etc makes sure to follow those regulations! There is no reason to take advantage of something that is already a good thing. Most of the #TalleyYourMiles were walking along paths after a short drive into the forest for half a day or more. Easily the #TravelingTalleys visited Kaibab National Forest at least a dozen times during the summer for hiking!
Kaibab National Forest is more than just a lovely place for us to hike. We’ve camped in it extensively, and this is the first place where I camped by myself (well, with the dogs) when Clinton was out of town. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is surrounded by the Kaibab, which is one of our favorite places to visit, and we are able to obtain a permit each year to collect wood in the forest. We even were able to get a christmas tree our first year here (we tried the second year but the Accord couldn’t make it as far back and it snowed earlier than we expected) and had a great experience collecting wood with our neighbors.
Another reason to visit a national forest is the crowds. In places where there are an abundance of national parks, like our area, you will see a larger increase in visitation at the forest for those similar minded individuals who like to recreate as well. We usually see mostly ATVs and ORVs more than any other type of visitor, even backcountry camping. We’ve been pretty lucky in finding areas to explore remotely and with our new truck we can’t wait to explore even further!
While we do like to take our dogs off the leash we always maintain control and follow the appropriate signs when we see them – don’t be disrespectful. Remember that even though the area is remote and less traveled – which could easily mean a peaceful experience without the crowds – this also means that there aren’t people to pick up after you or re-seal the trash can you forgot to close properly. Don’t forget to tell a friend or family member when you decide to go off on an adventure to the middle of nowhere and enjoy the trip!