Are you planning a trip to California and wondering if Yosemite National Park is dog-friendly? You’re probably excited to bring your dog along on your adventures, so let’s talk about your options in Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park is not a very dog-friendly national park. Pets can join you on sidewalks or fully paved roads. They are not permitted on any trails, shuttle buses, or public buildings.
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger. I love visiting Yosemite with my family, and I’m excited to help you plan your upcoming trip to this spectacular national park.
Let’s talk about the best places to take your dog in Yosemite National Park!
Where Can I Go With My Dog in Yosemite?
Dogs are allowed in the following areas:
Yosemite has thirteen campgrounds, and most of these campgrounds allow dogs. Dogs are not permitted in Camp 4, any walk-in sites (where you don’t park right next to your site), and any group sites. Otherwise, you can bring your dog camping in Yosemite with you.
If you want to camp with your dog, please be aware that:
- Pets are required to be on a 6-foot leash at all times
- Dogs cannot make excessive noise
- You must pick up after your dog
- Your dog can’t be left unattended or tied to an object while you’re out exploring the park
Fully Paved Roads, Sidewalks, and Bicycle Paths
You can walk with your leashed dog along paved roads, sidewalks, and bike paths in Yosemite. Yosemite Valley is the best place to do this — there are a ton of route options and beautiful views!
There are some pathways that don’t allow pets, so please follow all signage posted nearby.
Leashed dogs are permitted in the developed areas of Yosemite, but what does that actually mean? The official NPS site is very unclear!
As a former park ranger, if you ask me, that includes picnic areas, pullouts/viewpoints, parking lots, and outside areas around the visitor centers, restaurants, hotels, and gift shops (but not inside).
If you are on a sidewalk or on the pavement with your pet, you should be ok.
Always clean up after your dog so that these areas continue to be dog-friendly!
Dogs are not allowed in the following areas:
Trails and Meadows
Dogs are not permitted on trails or meadows in Yosemite. This includes all trails (frontcountry and backcountry), with the exception of the Wawona Meadow Loop near the park’s South Entrance.
You cannot carry your dog in your arms, push him in a stroller, carry a kennel, put her in a backpack, etc. to get around these rules. The rule is simply that no dogs are allowed on the trails Yosemite National Park.
Please do not leave your dogs in a vehicle while you hike.
If you want to do some traditional hiking with your dog, you’ll find some fabulous trail options in the nearby Sierra National Forest. This beautiful forest service area borders the park’s south and west sides, and it includes areas like Bass Lake, Merced River, Yosemite South-Hwy 41, and the Sierra Vista National Scenic Highway. There are dozens of amazing trails and several established campgrounds in this area.
You’ll also find many beautiful trails in the Stanislaus National Forest on the park’s west side near Groveland, CA. This area boasts lovely views of the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River. You’ll also find the Ferretti Non-Motorized Trail System that provides fantastic multi-use trail options for mountain biking and hiking.
The Inyo National Forest on the park’s east side provides some phenomenal mountain hiking trails in the popular Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, and Mt. Whitney Ranger Districts. The trails in this area rival the views you see in Yosemite!
Leashed pets are permitted on the trails in all of these wilderness areas.
Swimming in Park Waters
Pets are not permitted to swim in park waters, which includes (but is not limited to) Mirror Lake, Tenaya Lake, and the Merced River (including beaches like Sentinel Beach).
Public Buildings and Shuttles
Dogs are not allowed in Yosemite National Park’s public buildings, such as visitor centers, museums, restaurants, hotels, or gift shops. They also cannot be taken on any of the park’s shuttle buses.
If an area isn’t listed in the “Where Dogs Are Allowed” section above, then you should assume that your dog is not permitted.
Why Can’t I Take My Dog Hiking in Yosemite?
The most important reason that a national park is established is to preserve and protect the most beautiful places in America. An important part of fulfilling this charge is by keeping the native wildlife safe and healthy and to avoid altering their natural habitat and behaviors.
Pets can transmit diseases to the wildlife in Yosemite National Park, which can lead to sickness and death of the animals that live here naturally. And vice versa….your dog can also get sick from the wildlife in the park!
Also, Yosemite has a lot of bears, and bears don’t like dogs! Bears sometimes follow dogs back to their owners because they see them as prey. For these safety reasons, dogs are limited in where they can go.
Please join with the NPS in their efforts to take better care of the outdoor spaces, including the local wildlife, by following the pet regulations.
Traffic and crowding in Yosemite can be terrible.
Did you know that it’s common to wait an hour or more to enter the park or catch the shuttle?
Are you hoping to see the best sights without getting stuck in traffic, circling parking lots, or being surrounded by people?
Stay ahead of the crowds with this Yosemite Itinerary. You will see all of the can’t-miss spots, plus get lodging and dining guides, driving directions, and insider tips!
Where Can I Find the Best Kennel Near Yosemite?
You can find several kennel options in and near Yosemite National Park.
The Yosemite Valley Stable in Wawona is the only in-park option for boarding your dog. They provide daytime and overnight boarding.
Groveland — The town of Groveland is located about 30 minutes west of the Big Oak Flat Entrance of Yosemite. Big Creek Boarding is your best option in this area.
Mariposa — If you drive about 45 minutes west of El Portal (Arch Rock Entrance) you’ll reach the larger town of Mariposa. There aren’t many options in this area, but Creature Comforts has the best reviews.
What Are Some Dog-Friendly Hotels In/Near Yosemite?
Yosemite National Park does not allow dogs in any of their in-park lodges, so you won’t be able to stay in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, or Wawona with your dog.
However, most campgrounds in Yosemite are dog-friendly if you’re hoping for some in-park options.
There are some privately held lodging options that are located within the borders of the national park, and you can find some dog-friendly options here! Check out the lodging in Wawona or Yosemite West for some great places to stay that are close to the main Yosemite activities.
What Happens If I Take My Dog Somewhere He’s Not Allowed in Yosemite?
You will receive a citation for no less than $75, but it could be more depending on the infraction.
Park rangers and park volunteers regularly patrol the hiking trails, roads, viewpoints, and swim areas in Yosemite.
What If I Bring My Service Dog to Yosemite?
Service dogs that are recognized by the ADA are allowed to accompany their owners throughout the entire park. A service dog must be specifically trained to perform tasks related to the owner’s disability.
Emotional support, therapy, or comfort animals do not qualify as service animals in Yosemite National Park and will be required to follow all pet regulations.
Thanks for being here — I can’t wait for you to explore Yosemite National park with your favorite furry friend!
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