Why hurry to Yosemite National Park when the journey can be as rewarding as the destination? The extremely dog-friendly Yosemite Region encompasses four gateway counties, each with its own unique set of attractions. DogTrekker is celebrating Yosemite’s 150th anniversary with a look at places and diversions for DogTrekkers to check out along the major highway corridors leading to the iconic park.
Trek with us along Highway 41 through the South (Wawona) Entrance in Madera County.
Highway 41, the southern corridor into Yosemite, starts in Fresno and begins its serious climb in Oakhurst, where Queen’s Inn by the River boasts an adjacent winery, the Idle Hour, and a beer garden where, Wednesdays through Sundays, almost 100 wines and craft beers are available to guests.
Nearby Bass Lake is a recreation magnet and destination in itself for many summer vacationers. Its three primary resort/marinas—The Pines, The Forks Resort and Miller's Landing Resort—extend a warm welcome to pets with people in tow. All cater to visitors interested in hiking, fishing, water skiing, boating, kayaking or visiting wineries, museums, art galleries, theaters and other attractions in the region. Smaller properties and campgrounds around the lake offer additional dog-friendly options.
Next town up the road is Fish Camp, where the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a family-pleasing attraction offering steam-train excursions through the redwoods along with exhibits, picnic grounds and hiking trails. All but the dinner trains are dog friendly. Nearby Tenaya Lodge is a luxury property well equipped to serve DogTrekkers with in-room amenities and lots of advice on dog-friendly hiking, dining and other activities in the area. Tenaya and Fish Camp are just two miles from the park’s Wawona entrance.
Ah, Wawona. Of all Yosemite’s hotels, this Victorian confection just inside the Wawona entrance evokes the most yearning for yesteryear. No, it’s not dog-friendly—but it nevertheless is the starting point for the only dirt surface in the entire park where canine hikers are allowed. OK, it’s a fire road, not a trail. Nevertheless, the Wawona Meadow Loop meanders 3.5 miles through the area, offering pretty views, fresh air, great exercise and lots of wildflowers in season.