Yosemite is a magical place for all people... and their best friends! There are many great trails to explore in Yosemite with your dog and only a few important rules to remember for your pets safety and the safety of Yosemite's precious wildlife.
Photo by Hilary H
Is Yosemite pet-friendly? Yes!
There are a few rules that pet owners should follow to protect their pets and Yosemite’s wildlife, but even within those limitations there is a lot that you and your dog can do together in Yosemite National Park. Here’s what you need to know about:
Properties such as Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite have pet-friendly lodging options.
You’ll find dog-lovers and dog-friendly Yosemite lodging options throughout the region. To see them all, visit the lodging page, choose the general type of accommodation you prefer – hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts, cabin rentals or camping. Then use the Advanced Filter to show pet-friendly options. You can also narrow down options by geographical region – like Yosemite Valley or on the southern edge of the park in Wawona & Fish Camp or along the western border of the park in El Portal or Mariposa, Midpines and Cathey’s Valley.
Some dog-friendly properties like Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite even offer pet-friendly packages to make your pooch feel extra welcome. Tenaya also has dog-sitting services so you can explore some of Yosemite’s non-dog-friendly trails as well.
Although the hotels inside the park do not allow pets, if you want to stay close you could rent a cabin inside the park gates in Wawona, Yosemite West or Foresta. Wawona also has a few pet-friendly bed and breakfasts. Other than the walk-in campgrounds and group sites, most of the in-park campgrounds are also pet-friendly.
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Because the park needs to protect ecosystems and wildlife, as well as manage a lot of visitation, there are places that your dog will not be allowed. However, as long as you follow some simple rules, you and your dog can see much of what makes Yosemite famous.
Tig and Mort on the Lower Yosemite Falls loop. Photo by dogthusiast.com
Leashed pets are allowed on most fully paved roads, sidewalks and bicycle paths and in most developed areas unless there is a sign that specifically forbids them, like on the trail to Vernal Fall.
There are many miles of unpaved trails in Yosemite where your pet is not allowed. However, you can see nearly all of Yosemite’s most famous icons from pet-friendly paved paths.
Places you’ve heard of like Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls – these are all easily visible from the paved trails within Yosemite Valley where leashed pets are allowed.
The dog-friendly trails in the Yosemite Valley area are relatively short trails. Most are less than a mile. However, if you want to go on a longer hike with your pet, you have a couple of options in other areas of the park.
Even more hiking opportunities are open to you and your dog just outside Yosemite National Park’s boundaries as well.
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The trail at Hite Cove is pet-friendly. Photo by: Kim Lawson
Dogs are always welcome in National Forests, and Yosemite is surrounded by them. Here are just a few highlights.
Thank you for protecting your pet, other people and Yosemite’s wildlife by knowing and respecting these boundaries.
Pets are Not allowed:
There are many reasons that pets are not allowed on Yosemite hiking trails. This is for as well as to protect the wildlife that live here. Although you might know that your furry friend wouldn’t hurt a soul, they still smell like a predator. Even a tiny eight-pound dog can trigger a full fight or flight reaction in mule deer many times his weight and size, especially if the deer is a mother concerned for her fawn. With the many visitors to Yosemite, and so many dog-lovers, it’s imperative that we limit the impact of our furry friends.
A note on service animals:Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere visitors can go. However, service dogs must be trained to perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Emotional support or comfort animals are not service animals and need to follow the same rules as other pets.
The NPS policy on service animals uses the same standards established by the Justice Department and Americans with Disabilities Act.
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You can board your dog in a kennel operated by Yosemite Hospitality at the Yosemite Valley stables while you explore Yosemite. It is open during the summer months, and reservations are strongly suggested due to limited space. Written proof of immunizations are required. Dogs must be over six months old, and dogs under 20 lbs (44 kg) need to be in a crate. For reservations or more information call 209.382.8326. (Note: COVID-19 may impact how the kennel operates. Please call ahead for information.)
Don’t leave your best friend alone in an unfamiliar place. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite offers dog-sitting services. You’ll need to give a minimum of 24-hour notice, but since the service is based on availability, it is better to make a reservation as far in advance as possible.
In addition to dog-sitting services, there is also a kennel at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
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