Wolfpack Explorations: Minnesota State Parks
There’s no denying it: dogs have varying energy levels. We happen to have two very young, active, and rambunctious dogs who love physical activity. While we love formally training in classes with them, sometimes it’s important just to bond with your dog in an environment outside the training ring. So when we’re feeling the itch, we head to one of our wonderful Minnesota State Parks to do some hiking. We love our hikes because 1) both the humans and dogs involved have a fun time and get to take in some beautiful scenery, 2) it’s great exercise, and 3) our dogs come home tired, and you know how the saying goes, “a tired dog is a good dog.”
While it’s important to make sure hikes are enjoyable for you and your dog, it is also important to ensure everyone is safe while hiking. In Minnesota we usually have high numbers of ticks during the summer and fall, so we are sure to apply our dogs’ monthly dose of Frontline Plus to limit the number of ticks we bring home with us. Even if you treat your dogs to prevent ticks, it is still important to examine them after they’ve been outside for long periods of time, just to make sure none are attempting to hitch a ride home with you.
It is also critical to ensure your dog has access to safe drinking water when hiking. We don’t allow our dogs to drink from any standing puddles or ponds, so we carry extra drinking water with us to give to our dogs as we hike. It’s important to ensure our dogs stay hydrated, especially when temperatures are high and the sun is shining. We use a collapsible bowl to give our dogs water on our hikes: these bowls are great because they collapse down for easy storage in our backpacks! We also bring food if we are out on a long hike, and smaller treats for shorter hikes. Someday we’d like to try a short camping trip with our puppies! Hammock camping is the best way to relax and really enjoy the outdoors.
To be better prepared against animals and snakes you may run in to along the way, visit campingfunzone.com for their vast information about camping, insects and animals. You may also consider getting a Ruike P801 SB knife for its many uses which includes protecting yourself against any potential threat in the wild.
Lastly, it is important to consider the weather and conditions when hiking with your dog. Both of our dogs have black coats, so they tend to heat up quickly in the summer when the sun is out. Conversely, some dogs have a low tolerance to cold, and their paws may freeze after just a short time outside (especially when temperatures drop to bitter cold levels like they can here). While our dogs have very high endurance levels and can hike miles at a time without slowing down, some dogs do not have high endurance levels and can only keep up on shorter hikes.
Hiking Minnesota State Parks has been a great outlet for our dogs’ energy, and also keeps us exercising and active in the process. We joined the Minnesota State Parks Passport Club for only $15.00, and are able to collect stamps at each park we go to. Thus far we have visited 26 of the 75 state parks, and just recently (at state park #25), earned a free night of camping and a pin for completing 25. We are excited to tackle more parks in 2018 with our dogs, and will continue to ensure that both humans and dogs have a fun and safe time while hiking.
Love the idea of collecting park stickers, I had no idea. We keep track of states we have traveled to, but I might look into the state parks in 2018. Great tip!
We also keep track of our states! The MN State Park Passport is fun, because each park has a different stamp and they offer incentives once you’ve reached 25 and then when you’ve reached all of them. We love hiking and being outside with our pups, so we thought it would be fun to track our adventures that way!
Great pictures. Looks like fun. My family doesn’t get to go hiking very often, but this post reminded me how mucjh fun we have when we do hike. We need to hike more in 2018
That sounds like a great resolution for 2018! Hiking is a lot of fun to do as a family!
I used to live in North Dakota and although I never visited the state parks in MN I visited there often. I am however trying to get through all of VA’s state parks which are not nearly as much. They give pins based on how many you have visited and each year offer challenge to visit 5 and receive free access for the year! I’m off to hike today for the first hike of the year!
That is the happiest dog right there, I can almost see the smile of freedom! Park stickers are an awesome idea – I love ticking things off so this would definitely motivate me to get out there! Nikki x
Such a cute dog! I love hiking but I think it would be even better if I had a little furry companion to tag along with me 😉
A very cute dog, he look happy hiking along with you. I would love to visit the state park one day. xx
What cute dogs you got! It’s adorable to know of how you take care of them , especially that you carry clean and safe water for them. That’s so sweet!
Awww look at the dog. Traveling is on my to do list. And getting my mom to say yes to getting a dog. Good job.
I l like that you joined the ‘passport club’ and that already you have visited 26 of the 75 state parks, that is a pretty incredible feat I have to say. I love that dogs can go hiking too and I think that it would be quite fun to be on a hike with such friendly and incredible animals for company x
Wow what a great idea to visit each of the parks! You’ve had some great hikes, your dog is very lucky to come along with you!
So cool to have dogs that you can do those activities with!! Y’all keep having fun and exploring!
You seemed to have so much fun hiking with these two good boys! I wish we can bring our dog here with us in Australia soon so we do a monthly hiking. He would definitely love it. – Bianca
I’ve visited Minnesota before but never their state parks. I didn’t know they had so many! I bet my dog would enjoy them as well.
Our dog is pretty energetic too and I think he will love this! I think we’d wait until winter is over though. We don’t want him (or us) to freeze with these awfully cold temperatures we’re having!
I love going hiking with my dog but unfortuntely shes getting old and cant go that far any more 🙁
It sounds like a wonderful idea to get fresh air, exercise and get to enjoy some lovely scenery.
Your dogs are so cute! I have been wanting a dog that I can take on hiking and camping trips so bad! Once, I get a place with a yard I will 🙂
Lovely, such state parks are so much fun as well as knowledgeable. And when it comes to family I love such outings and hikes. You dog is adorable.
When we adopt our next dog, traveling is on my wanna-do list! Your profiles of various dog-friendly places to visit really make me want to do this. Great pictures, too.
When the temperatures drop in Minnesota, I’m sure the state parks have fewer visitors even thought that may be a very beautiful time of year. It’s true that black dogs heat up quicker than my white, double-coated American Eskimo does in the summer time. Love your pictures and your safety tips.
The Minnesota state parks system is an excellent one that’s very pet friendly. I also love their camping program (the free night of camping after visiting 25 of their parks). The water bottle reminder is crucial – even if a sparkling stream runs through a park, it doesn’t mean that the water is safe enough to drink.
That passport system sounds fun. Have you tried a cooling coat? It makes a difference for Mr. N in the summer. Mr. N has excellent endurance but he is not very weather proof. He’s usually wearing something.
I didn’t know about the passport system and I hike MN state parks fairly often. I will have to look into this program – it would be a fun goal to make it to all 75!
That’s awesome that Minnesota State Parks have a program that encourages you to visit the parks. I wonder if North or South Carolina has one? We’ve easily been to 25 parks in each state. LOL. Keep on hiking and have fun! Thanks for sharing
The place does look very lovely. In my old age, I’m too paranoid and the rocks make my hair stand on end LOL
The passport stamps and pin sound like great incentives. Have you considered writing a post or creating a gallery for showcasing the stamps? I’d love to see each park’s stamp and a Wolfpack photo from each state park. That would be a fun gallery to peruse.
Great post and tips for adventuring with your dog. We lived in Moundsview for a couple years after college and loved MN! We bought a canoe and hiked/camped every weekend. I would have loved to track how many parks we went to. Great idea!! You’ll have to share when you’ve hit them all.
You put so much care for your dogs! They’re so blessed to have you and the hiking seems so much fun. Great picture as well!
Wonderful photos! I used to have a springer who loved to hike. We took her everywhere and she loved to jump in creeks to cool off! We always bring a collapsible bowl and extra water and a few treats. Great tips – especially about the ticks – yuck!
YAY MN! wohhhooo ; )
Yes, I live in Mn, could you tell?! well, I love going to the State parks to get into nature and breathe that nice fresh air away from the buildings, noise, and crowds.
Glad you take your dogs along and are prepared as well! Maybe we’ll bump into each other some day hiking?!
I’ve never been to Minnesota, but it always looks so pretty in the photos! I had a professor who went to college there and he described it as “driving through a poem” because of all the beautiful names of towns and rivers.
OH I want to come and visit. You live in THE most amazing place!
I love the passport idea. the achievement and pride you feel when you support such a valuable resource must be huge!!
Nature, hiking, dogs and midwest!!! I am sold. Will definitely have this in mind when planning a visit to Minnesota. Thanks!
Awwww you’re making me (almost) want another dog. Lovely photos!!!
Looks like you hiked this summer! Minnesota has beautiful parks, our state parks are too far for us. But we have the forest preserves and lots of city parks that we visit regularly. Would love to visit Minnesota some day! Sandra and Dolly
The Minnesota State Parks sound amazing for dogs! We are lucky that our county has so many parks we can bring our dogs (and horses) for free. I also have to energetic dogs, and I tend to get tired more quickly than them.
It must be so enjoyable to go on hiking trips with your dogs. I would love to do that too even though our dogs are extremely ill-behaved! 🙂
Friends For life … That’s how we define our pets and yes parks like that are true heaven for them to roam around freely
Very cute. It’s nice that you are pointing out the dogs’ needs and what to consider when hiking with them since many people just drag their animals along without considering the aspects like water supply, dark fur etc.
The idea of stamp collecting at the parks is great, though! Very motivating and encouraging.
Keep on going – way to go, girl 😉
Looks like a quiet, lovely park…love the water views!
I am so jealous of your hiking trips. Both that you get to see nature at its finest but that you have your dog buddies with you!