Along the way, you will encounter dozens of dog-friendly lodging properties, dining options, attractions, hikes and splash zones. Travelers from Sacramento, the Bay Area or SoCal have several choices for getting from Highway 99 to Groveland and the Big Oak Flat park entrance. A couple of options:
Highway 132 out of Modesto follows the Tuolumne River gorge to the colorful Gold Rush town of Coulterville, where the historic and dog-friendly Hotel Jeffery beckons DogTrekkers to stay overnight or just sit a spell on the porch. The entire town, from Magnolia Saloon’s bat-wing doors, to the antique shops, artifacts and colorful locals, harks back to the iconic TV Westerns of old. From Coulterville, head north through Greeley Hill to Smith Station Road and up to Highway 120. This is the recently designated John Muir Highway, which follows the achingly picturesque route the famous naturalist took as he walked from San Francisco to Yosemite in 1868.
The more heavily traveled route to Yosemite is Highway 120 out of Manteca, best known to Highway 99 passers-by as home to an enormous Bass Pro Shop, where you can pick up fishing gear as well as dog supplies for your trip (sorry, no dogs allowed inside). The road begins its twisty climb into the mountains at Oakdale, where a quick stop at the Visitors Center will yield maps and literature to help guide your trip.
Big Oak Flat. Photo Credit: jb10okie (CC)