For the outdoorsy visitor, there are 1,001 activities to explore at Yosemite National Park. But, if you’re particularly bent on hitting the trails, you’re probably wondering are dogs allowed in Yosemite Park Trails?
The short answer is yes they are. But there are limitations. Dogs are only allowed on trails that are paved. And even with that, dogs are not allowed on all paved trails.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. While many of the trails accessible by pets are rather short, you may still be able to enjoy a wonderful hiking experience on longer trails at Yosemite.
They may not be the dirt trails you’re probably imagining. But, they’re better than nothing.
General Pet Rules To Observe At Yosemite
Like most national parks, Yosemite follows the same guidelines as established by the National Park Service.
You must follow these rules. And it’s not just for the proper preservation of wildlife. It’s also to protect your pet, yourself, and the wider populace of visitors.
- Your dog must be on a leash all the time. And this leash must be no more than 6 feet in length
- Never leave your dog unattended
- You have to clean up after your dog
- Your dog can only come with you to developed areas
- Where your dog is unable to accompany, make sure that necessaries like water, food, and ventilation are sufficiently provided
- Make sure to properly store pet food. Not doing so can lure bears into your area
Which Areas In Yosemite Are Out Of Bounds For Dogs?
Here are some areas in Yosemite where you cannot take Fido.
You cannot take your dog into hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and other buildings designated for use by the public.
Undeveloped And Wilderness Areas
These areas present great opportunities for pets and wildlife to interact. To ensure that such interactions don’t occur, pets are barred from such areas.
Generally, Yosemite doesn’t allow dogs on its trails. However, there are a few paved trails on which you can walk your dog.
There are 13 campgrounds in Yosemite. Only walk-in and group campsites are restricted from access to pets.
Generally, an area is out of bounds if there’s a notice or sign indicating such. There are no exceptions. It does not matter that Fido is a pup. Or that you’re carrying him in your arm, a stroller, or a backpack. You simply cannot bring your dog to the above-listed areas.
Where Can I Take My Dog?
It may sound disheartening. But, there are some areas in Yosemite that are pet-friendly.
As mentioned earlier, there are a total of 13 campgrounds at Yosemite. 7 of these campgrounds are pet-friendly. So, you definitely can stay at these sites with Fido when you come to visit.
Still, here are a few rules you might want to observe when you come around. They include;
- Keep Fido on a leash when outside your car. You must ensure that the leash is at most 6 feet in length
- Be ready to pick up and dispose of your dog’s waste
- Ensure your dog doesn’t make noise unnecessarily
- Don’t leave your dog unattended while you explore the park
- Keep water and food dishes away when you spend the night with your dog
Generally, where your car can go, your dog can too! Aside from parking lots, dogs are allowed on fully paved roads, bike paths, and sidewalks.
You should however make sure that your dog is on a leash at all periods. More importantly, you want to make sure that the leash is no longer than 6 feet in length.
Moreover, you’re free to leave your dog in your car as you explore the park. But, it is recommended – for the safety of your dog – to leave someone behind to watch him.
What’s more, you must pick up and dispose of dog waste when the need arises.
Generally, all developed areas in Yosemite are accessible to pets. The only exception is where there’s a sign clearly forbidding access to those areas – like the trail leading toVernal Fall.
Are Dogs Allowed In Yosemite National Park Trails?
At Yosemite, there are over 800 miles of trails you can explore. Unfortunately, Fido will not be able to go hiking with you on many of the unpaved trails that make up Yosemite.
So, yes, dogs are allowed in Yosemite National Park trails. But, this access doesn’t extend to unpaved trails.
Thus, coming to Yosemite with Fido might severely limit your experience. Especially if you’re bent on going hiking with Fido.
Still, there are some short dog-friendly trails you can take advantage of with Fido.
Short Dog-Friendly Trails At Yosemite
In Yosemite Valley, you can use the half-mile paved trail leading to the base of Bridalveil Fall – one of the most striking waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.
You can also use the under 1-mile bike trail loop that leads to Lower Yosemite Fall.
Take advantage, too, of Cook’s Meadow Loop to enjoy stunning views of Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, and Sentinel Rock with Fido.
Longer Dog-Friendly Trails At Yosemite
Spanning across 3.5 miles, the Wawona Meadow Loop features a rather smooth trail that can be used for walking, running, and hiking. If you’re visiting in the Spring months, you might want to keep an eye on the beautiful wildflowers surrounding the trail.
At Wawona, you can also make use of the Four Mile Trail. The trail begins close to the base of Sentinel Rock, spanning across 4.8 miles and ending at Glacier Point. Wawona’s Eleven Mile Trail is also another option for you and Fido.
You can also hike with Fido on the Old Big Oak Flat Road, stretching between Hodgdon Meadow and Tuolumne Grove parking lot.
Why The Many Restrictions?
It may seem rather annoying that Fido has to face a million and one restrictions if you bring him to Yosemite.
But, the truth is that the restrictions are in place for his own safety. And not just that. It’s for your safety as well.
Wild animals like wolves, coyotes, and bears don’t like dogs. Plus, dogs are naturally inquisitive. They may go looking for a fight which usually won’t end up well for them. Even worse, they may bring attention from wild animals to you, thereby endangering your safety.
Dogs can also disturb wildlife by unbalancing nature. As we’ve mentioned earlier, dogs are naturally giddy. If given unrestricted access, they may chase off smaller animals, mess up nesting areas, disorganize feeding/drinking zones, and generally upset the stability of wildlife.
What’s more, if dogs are allowed to come into contact with wild animals, it may lead to the exchange of diseases.
Lastly, dogs may generally unsettle other wildlife visitors by barking at them or even chasing them.
Are Service Animals Allowed At Yosemite National Park?
Yes, service dogs are allowed at Yosemite. Per ADA guidelines, service animals are dogs that are trained specifically to assist a person with a disability.
At Yosemite, owners can take their service dogs to any area that would ordinarily have been restricted to other pets.
So, you can take your service dog with you to public buildings, on trails, and in undeveloped areas. You can generally take your dog anywhere you go to as long as he’s a service dog.
Note, however, that emotional support or therapy dogs aren’t service dogs by ADA standards. Thus, they will face the same restrictions any other pet that’s not a service animal would face at Yosemite.
Pet Boarding Services At Yosemite
Taking Fido to Yosemite National Park might have its perks. The truth, though, is, it might severely limit your overall experience there.
Still don’t have to leave Fido behind at home? You can still come with him and leave him in the care of pet daycare services around.
These boarding facilities are located around Yosemite Valley. And you should call or visit their sites online for reservations.
Big Creek Boarding
11425 Big Creek Shaft Road, Groveland, CA 9532
Elaine’s Pet Resorts
40373 Brickyard Dr. Madera, CA 93636
3758 Ramblin Rd Mariposa, CA 95338
32183 Highway 41 Coarsegold, CA 93614
So, are dogs allowed in Yosemite National Park Trails? The concrete answer is YES!
However, as you’re now aware, it’s not every trail in Yosemite that’s accessible to dogs.
For the most part, under-developed or undeveloped trails are out of bounds for dogs. And while you can walk Fido on most paved trails, there are certain restrictions you might have to adhere to. Like picking up after your dog and keeping him on a leash that’s no longer than 6 feet.
If you can’t afford to leave Fido at home, you can choose to leave him in expert hands around Yosemite while you go off to explore the national park!