Mikey in Yosemite. Photo by Jen (CC)
In the midst of the Civil War, a visionary President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant, setting aside the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias as a scenic wilderness for public use and preservation. It wasn’t until 25 years later, on Oct. 1, 1890, that Yosemite National Park officially was established by Congress. Today, about 4 million people visit every year. So far as we know, no one keeps track of the number of dogs entering Yosemite with their people. But in honor of the park’s quasquincentennial (i.e.125th anniversary), here are some things DogTrekkers might like to know.
• Yes, you can bring your dog to Yosemite. But before you go, read up on the rules so you won’t make a misstep or be disappointed.
• In general, leashed dogs are allowed on paved trails, in picnic areas and at car campgrounds, with the exception of Tamarack Flat and Porcupine Flat.
• Dogs are not allowed in lodging areas, with the exception of park-affiliated Tenaya Lodge, two miles from the south entrance; and in pet-friendly, privately owned vacation rentals at the Redwoods in Yosemite, a 130-home development sequestered within park boundaries in the Wawona area. Thousands of additional rooms, some of them dog-friendly, can be found elsewhere in the Yosemite Region.
• Dogs are not allowed in wilderness areas or on dirt trails, but a handful of fire roads are open for hikes with Fido. These include the Wawona Meadow Loop and Four Mile Road (also in Wawona), the Carlson Road and the Old Big Oak Flat Road between Hodgdon Meadow and Hazel Green Creek. Ask a ranger to mark these for you on a map.
• The half-mile paved trail to Lower Yosemite Fall is dog-friendly, as are the half-mile path to Bridalveil Fall and the bike trails looping around Yosemite Valley and hugging the banks of the scenic Merced River.
• A small kennel at the Yosemite Valley Stable accepts daytime boarders (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in summer for visitors who’d like to hike where dogs aren’t allowed. Cost is $9.50 per day, and reservations are needed. Written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo and bordetella) must be provided, and dogs must weigh at least 20 pounds. Smaller dogs will be considered if you provide a crate. For reservations, call (209) 372-8348.
• The Village Grill at Yosemite Village welcomes dogs at its outdoor tables.