While visiting Yosemite National Park might be the goal, a trip through the region is also about the journey. It would be a shame to arrive at the park’s Highway 140 (El Portal) entrance without having paused to explore Mariposa County along the way. Start in the town of Mariposa, the historic county seat, with breakfast at Jantz Bakery or lunch at the delightful Deli Garden Café.
For an afternoon diversion, visit Butterfly Creek Winery, which welcomes dogs in its tasting room and picnic area, or try some of the big reds for which the region is known at the dog-friendly Casto Oaks Fine Wine & Art tasting room downtown.
If you’re not camping at Yosemite, you’ll need dog-friendly lodging within easy striking distance of the park. Mariposa boasts two dozen dog-friendly places to spend the night, among them the Best Western Yosemite Way Station, Miners Inn and Restful Nest.
In Midpines, the family-friendly Yosemite/Mariposa KOA makes a great base camp for do-it-yourselfers. It offers camping cabins as well as RV and tent sites, along with a swimming pool, clubhouse, playground, Merced River fishing access and other amenities on a 30-acre site.
El Portal, near Yosemite’s west entrance, is a bustling gateway town where many DogTrekkers choose to stay while visiting the park. A solid and moderately priced choice is Yosemite View Lodge, with rooms overlooking the rushing Merced River. Of course, you may get “The Bug”—Yosemite Bug, that is. This rustic mountain resort is perhaps the most diverse property in the area, offering lodging in new cabins, older cabins with shared bath, tent cabins and even hostel-style dorm rooms. Dogs are welcome in all but the dorm rooms, and attitudes toward canines are extremely relaxed.
For insight into hikes and other activities along the Highway 140 corridor, click here.
Arch Rock entrance – Dave Eyenin (CC)