Tips For Taking Your Pup On Your Next Adventure

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Whether you’re an avid camper or a trail newbie, wilderness adventures are made that much better when accompanied by your four-legged pals. While it’s a lot more work than simply picking up and heading out on your own, with a little know-how and preparation, your next adventure can be that much more special with your dog tagging along.

Check The Park Rules

Before packing up and hitting the trails, be sure that wherever you’re going is dog-friendly. Most National Parks, for example, don’t allow dogs to share the trails (sad face), and rules vary quite a bit in National Forests and State & Metro parks. Rules for how to conduct yourself and your pup in the parks may vary too, but no matter where you go, leashes are almost always mandatory.

Trust me when I say Park Rangers do not take the offense lightly when you forego those rules. A couple years ago Zach and I took Daisy up to Conkle’s Hollow in Hocking Hills, a place I’d taken her hiking before with no issues, and a place I’d seen other dogs (even that very day). I walked out of there with a $150 fine after a Park Ranger stopped us on the trail headed out. Always, always check the rules first.

Make Sure They’re Up To Date

This means all vaccinations as well as flea/tick medicine. Parasites, insects, and diseases are all a risk for a dog when outside at all, let alone in the open country. Make sure they’re prepared to not only protect against anything spreading to them, but also to protect the land from any foreign cooties your dog might be carrying.

A quick check-up to the vet will give you a better idea as to if your pup is ready to hit the trails with you (both with vaccinations and general stamina/health), or if preventative measures should be taken first.

Pack Their Bags

If you’ve ever gone hiking for an afternoon you know that packing a few light snacks, extra water bottles, & a first-aid kit are automatic essentials, right? Your dog deserves the same. Especially if you’re camping overnight, make sure they’re equally prepared for wherever the trails take you. Besides food and water (and bowls for both!), don’t leave the house without a few trail treats, poop bags, bedding, a spare leash, a towel, eco-friendly wipes to clean quickly and easily, and perhaps a favorite toy if your pup happens to be a little anxious about the new environment.

Ease Into It

Just as you will need some time to build up your endurance for long hikes, you can’t expect your dog to automatically have the amount of stamina needed to hike for miles and miles with you through the wilderness all willy nilly. Take your pup for a few practice hikes in some parks or trails near you, starting small and building your way up to more strenuous trails and longer distances. Be sure to check their energy level afterward - if they’re still excited and active, then you know you can safely increase the distance next time around.

Along with the hiking itself, if you’re planning a camping trip with your dog it’s a good idea to get them used to the tent and campsite set up. Do a practice run in the back yard before heading out, even sleep out there if you think your dog might need it or seems very hesitant about the tent. Make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep (if you don’t want to sleep on the ground, neither do they), and they are used to being on a leash line around the campsite.

Be Mindful Of Them

Whether or not you’ve prepped your pup for the adventures ahead of you, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on the whole time and to keep in mind natural trail hazards. Dogs (tragically) cannot talk to us, but there are signs of distress that are sometimes missed, especially when you’re busy soaking up all the beauty of the nature around you. Naturally, their heart rate and breathing will be excessive during more strenuous hikes, but during breaks watch to make sure that they’re coming back down to normal levels (just as yours should). That means taking breaks long enough to achieve that.

Generally, you should also be keeping them on a leash at all times, only allow them to drink from treated, potable water, and ensure they don’t chew or ingest toxic plants.


Daisy and I have been on countless adventures together over the years - she’s my absolute favorite hiking companion. It takes a lot of work and awareness to safely bring her along on trails with me (then again, what part of dog ownership doesn’t take a little work and awareness?), but the extra work is welcomed by a rewarding adventure for the both of us.


Have You Taken Your Dog On Adventures With You? What Was Your Favorite Place?

Weekend Getaway Guide: Camping in Mohican Wilderness


This post contains affiliate links and I am eligible to earn a profit from purchases through the links labeled "Buy on Amazon". 

The Mohican area is dubbed the "camp and canoe capitol of Ohio", and for good reason. Conveniently only about an hour and a half from Downtown Columbus, it's jam-packed with more than enough wildlife adventures to fill a weekend, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, zip lining, and much more. 

After months of window shopping for supplies and narrowing down our Amazon cart, Zach and I decided to pack-up our gear and head out for a weekend of camping at one of Mohican's numerous campgrounds, Mohican Wilderness. It's a favorite spot for families, Scout and Youth Groups, and festival go-ers (the Annual Mohican Bluegrass Festival, specifically), but we chose it for it's more secluded campsite options, and the proximity to the State Park. 


The Guide



We shopped around for a while for a tent, and landed with the REI Co-Op Kingdom 4 Tent for it's functionality, durability, and price. It's large enough for two people (and a dog!) to sleep very comfortably with room to spare and room to stand up. Trust me, you want room to stand up! We also packed the REI Co-Op Kingdom 4 Footprint, and REI Co-Op Kingdom Garage which seemed unnecessary to me at first, but in reality I'm so happy we had them. The garage especially was perfect for storage and extra privacy outside of the actual tent, and we ended up utilizing the hell out of it.

For this camping trip we decided to pack the REI Co-Op Kingdom Sleep System, which we knew would be a little luxurious for our small weekend trip, but well worth it for catching some solid Z's. Otherwise, the sleep system is way too heavy to carry around long-term, so I don't recommend it for any kind of lengthy backpacking excursion. 

camping, tent, rei, creekside, nature, adventure


The campsites at Mohican Wilderness do not come equipped with existing fire rings like most campgrounds, so Zach built the fire ring from rocks found in the stream next to our campsite, for which we used as a grill. In the interest of comfort and ease, we also brought a Coleman RoadTrip Grill stove-top, which is obviously a much simpler method to cook while camping or on the road, and was essential when our fire wasn't stable enough to cook on. 

Be sure to only bring the food you're going to eat, and limit any extras like spices or oils to things you absolutely need. I also recommend investing in a coffee press (something sturdy and easily cleanable like stainless steel) and an insulated mug that you can use for just about anything - it'll save on the amount of dishes you need to pack and clean. Finally, make sure you pack some kind of water container for your campsite - packs of plastic water bottles just aren't very effective (and they're a bit wasteful), so we chose a collapsible water container that we filled from one of the potable water spigots nearby. We only needed one full fill-up to last the entire weekend for all washing and drinking purposes. 

Worst-case scenario, Mohican Wilderness's main office is well stocked in case you forget anything, and the nearest store is only about a 15-minute drive away from the campground. 



Cleaning yourself, or anything else for that matter, is always a bit challenging while camping. Even if your camping trip will only last a few days, choose a multi-purpose biodegradable soap to easily clean any dish, piece of gear, or body part. Trust me, you won't need much and you can use it freely without worrying about harming the environment. I also really enjoyed having cleansing wipes on-hand (also an eco-friendly option) for quick clean-ups. Mohican Wilderness does have several shower rooms located along the main campground roads, though Zach and I chose not to venture there more-so for the sake of time. We were pretty secluded in our little corner of the campground, so taking quick spit baths with wipes or even washing off in the stream or from our water container wasn't inconvenient enough to feel the need to use the showers. Plus, it's camping, it's expected to be a little dirty. 



Though Mohican Wilderness itself offers tons of recreational activities on their campground like canoeing, horseback riding, and rifle shooting, Zach and I stuck to our tried-and-true hobby, hiking. Mohican State Park is only about a 20-minute drive from the campground and is perfect for a challenging and scenic hiking day. 

The entrance to the State Park is officially on Route 3, but it's best to follow OH-97 to find the "south entrance" of the park to get to Mohican Covered Bridge, which is where the trails begin. It's not well marked, but once you see Park Rd. that's where you where you want to turn. Once at the bridge, you will see entrances to several marked trails, all of which snake along the Clearfork Mohican River and Clearfork Gorge.


Lyon Falls Trail will lead you through the woods and along the Clearfork Gorge to reach two waterfalls, aptly named Little Lyon Falls and Big Lyon Falls - I love this trail for it's more challenging terrain and lush scenery, and it's only 2 miles long. There's also a dam at the end of the trail which is a good rest stop if you want to go fishing or enjoy a picnic. Another favorite stop within the park is the Gorge Overlook. It sits on the South side of the river and East of the hiking trails (i.e. you'll want to drive there), and it's the perfect spot to take in the beautiful valley views. 


Mohican State Park does allow dogs on trails, though they must be leashed and..ahem..cleaned-up after. I like to keep a small collapsible water bowl on Daisy's leash for frequent water breaks - if you're thirsty, your pup probably is, too.  


I always feel incredibly grounded and calm after spending time outdoors in any capacity, let alone spending a weekend sleeping under the stars. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back to Mohican for another adventure soon!