Yosemite in Winter

By: DogTrekker Staff

Normally, waterfall season at Yosemite National Park doesn’t peak until May. But this year’s light snow pack and unusually warm weather have teased Mother Nature into an earlier schedule. The gushers are miniscule compared with past years, but sights in the gorgeous valley are nevertheless guaranteed to put a smile on your face, a crick in your neck and a wag in Rover’s tail.

The park service is crystal-clear on rules restricting dogs to campgrounds and paved roads or trails (with the exception of the Wawona Meadow Loop). But don’t let those limitations keep you kenneled. If you’re only visiting for a day or two, you and your furry buddy are sure to have a rewarding time.

Paved trails you can walk together include the half-mile, wheelchair-accessible path to Lower Yosemite Falls, part of a 2,425-foot cataract that ranks as the highest measured waterfall in North America. Bridal Veil Falls (620 feet) and Ribbon Falls (1,612 feet) are just two of the other cataracts to be seen within the valley’s 3,000-foot-high granite walls.

Unless you’re camping, you’ll have to keep Daisy outside park boundaries at night. But you won’t have to travel far, as dog-friendly lodging is abundant in gateway communities just a short drive from park boundaries.

One of our favorites is the Redwoods in Yosemite, an enclave of privately owned vacation rentals, many of them pet-friendly, in the park’s Wawona area. Go in the month of February to take advantage of a “sweetheart deal” offering 20 percent off two nights or a third night free—plus a bottle of sparkling wine or cider, two commemorative glasses and a box of chocolates. (Don’t forget to bring some treats for Daisy so she won’t feel left out.)

Other good choices: the Groveland Hotel, offering old-fashioned, dog-friendly hospitality near the Big Oak Flat entrance; and Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, an upscale, resort-style property in Fish Camp near the Wawona gate.


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