If you are planning on a road trip to Yosemite and want to bring your pet, there are some key things you should know before you go.
To protect both wildlife and pets, Yosemite National Park officials have restricted where pets can go in the park for years. They are not allowed in public buildings, on shuttle buses, in lodging areas and unplowed roads covered in snow. They are prohibited in walk-in campsites, including Camp 4, and group campsites.
However, pets are allowed in campgrounds that are not designated as group or walk-in. They also are allowed in developed areas, fully paved roads, sidewalks and bike paths. Be sure to have your pet leashed at all times on a leash that is no more than 6 feet long. And do not leave your pet unattended as it is prohibited in the park.
For the most part, pets are not allowed on any trails, minus these few exceptions.
In Wawona, you can bring your dog on the Wawona Meadow Loop, Chowchilla Mountain Road and Four Mile and Eleven Mile fire roads (but not the Four Mile Trail in Yosemite Valley).
In the Hodgdon Meadow area, you can bring your dog on Carlon Road from the trailhead to Hodgdon Meadow and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove parking lot.
In Yosemite Valley, dogs are allowed on any paved or boardwalk trail including BridalVeil Fall, Lower Yosemite Fall Loop and Cook’s Meadow. However, Horsetail Falls Trail is only for human visitors.
Don’t forget to bring plastic bags to pick up after your pet.
Never Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car
If you are headed to Yosemite in the summer time, your biggest hazard, in addition to wildlife, is heat. It’s not safe to leave your pet inside your car, even for several minutes on a summer day. On an 85-degree day, temperatures inside your car with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society. After 30 minutes, temperatures can reach 120 degrees. In both scenarios, your pet can rapidly experience irreversible organ damage or die.
If you want to walk your dog, do it early in the morning or evening when the pavement on the is cooler than mid-day. Asphalt can get extremely hot and burn the pads of your dog’s feet in the heat of the day.
Boarding Your Pet in Yosemite
There is only one option to board your dog in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Hospitality operates a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley from approximately late May through early September. Written proof of immunizations must be provided. Dogs must be at least 20 pounds (smaller dogs may be considered if you provide a small kennel). You can get more information about the kennel by calling 209-382-8326 or visiting www.travelyosemite.com/discover/travel-tips/pets/.
Near Yosemite’s South Entrance, Tenaya Lodge offers pet-friendly lodging, dog sitting, dog-walking and kennel services. Call 888-514-2167 or visit www.tenayalodge.com/lodging/pet-friendly-rooms for more information.
Eating in Yosemite with Your Pet
In Yosemite Valley, when seating is available, both the Village Grill and Degnan’s Deli has indoor and outdoor spaces that accommodate visitors with their pets.
Lastly, dog food and treats, like human food, must be stored in bear proof containers. Bears don’t discriminate between human food and pet food, so be extra careful and empty your pockets of treats and bones before heading to your tent for the night.