Can I Bring My Pet to Yosemite National Park?

For the most part, pets are not allowed on any trails, minus these few exceptions. Dog food must be stored in bear proof containers.
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Leashed dog at a Yosemite overlook. Photo by Peter Bodechtel via Flickr

Leashed dog at a Yosemite overlook. Photo by Peter Bodechtel via Flickr

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.

Welcome to Yosemite Village. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Yosemite Village has paved trails on which leashed pets are allowed. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Happy Trails

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. 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 and it is a 9-stall kennel in the Yosemite Valley stables. Because the kennel is so small and is first-come, first-served - a gamble for pet owners if it is full - park staff recommend you make alternative plans.

Open early-to-mid June through Labor Day, the kennel is housed in the stables, so this housing arrangement is not a good fit for dogs who are scared, easily startled or overly curious (read: constant barkers) of large animals like horses. The kennel manager has the right to refuse service to overly aggressive animals or animals that disrupt guests or the stock animals. Know your pet and anticipate whether he or she will be disruptive in the stable environment.

The kennels are open-air with no protection from the elements, except a dog house. You must supply the dog bed or blanket if you want your pet to have one. Pets are fed once a day at 4 p.m. with generic food. If you want the kennel to feed your dog his or her usual food, you must provide it to the kennel.

The kennel does not exercise the dogs, so it is up to you to take your dog out of the kennel to do this. Visiting hours are daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dogs must be at least 10 pounds and at least six months old. Proof of immunization of rabies, distemper, parvo and Bordetella is required. Please call 209-372-0200 for more information.

Food Storage

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.