How We Made A Private Dog Run While Boondocking


As you know, my preferred campsite is in the boondocks on public property. My wife and I enjoy the solitude, scenery, and convenience. The price is right, too.

Another advantage of camping in the boondocks is that your dog typically does not need to be leashed, as there are seldom leash laws in the boonies (dispersed camping in national monuments is one of the few exceptions). We recently discovered one more positive feature of boondocking with a dog.

Photos by author, Dave Helgeson

We were traveling with our dog-owning friends and were looking for a spot to boondock along a road that bordered fenced National Forest land.

Spying a gate in the fence, we stopped to investigate. Sure enough, there was a campfire ring on the forest service land not far from the gate indicating that this was an “approved” dispersed camping location. (The dispersed camping rules for many forest service districts and BLM lands request that campers use a site that has been used before, as evidenced by an existing fire ring.)

So if there is an existing fire ring, you can pretty much be assured that boondocking is okay. Click here to see an example of dispersed camping guidelines. Keep in mind the example is for the Fishlake National Forest, but varies per forest, so always check the guidelines for the area you wish to visit.


The unwritten rule for gates on public land in the west (especially where grazing rights are issued) is to leave gates how you found them. If open, leave them opened; if closed, close them behind you.

After opening the gate, pulling the trailers through and closing it behind us, we soon had our camp set up. We quickly realized we had our own private dog park, with the closed gate and fence prohibiting our friend’s dog from wandering back onto the nearby road. How sweet is that!


Having a free fenced campsite for the dog—just another adventure in RVing!

See also: The Good and the Bad of Full-Time RVing with Pets

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