It's always a special hike when climbers are accompanied by their furry friends. Dogs offer moral, emotional, and even physical support for those who are hiking to the top and through rugged terrain. Yosemite National Park allows hikers and tourists who sightsee from the bottom to bring their furry companions, however, there are multiple rules that dog owners must follow. As many National Parks have history, Yosemite is considered a scenic wilderness, and the National Park itself was established by Congress in the late 1800s. Each year, roughly four million people visit Yosemite National Park each year, many of whom bring their children and dogs.


There are many benefits when traveling and hiking with fur babies. Some hikers even go as far as to bring doggy backpack carriers for those who plan on hiking longer than their pets can keep up with. However, dogs are a man (and woman's) best friends and they want to be able to share in the adventure with their owners. Gratefully, dogs also provide their owners with a sense of peace, calm, and serenity which is important when travelers are pushing themselves to the limits. There are some parks that charge for a dog's entrance and for some this can become expensive. It's important to read the rules and regulations for each National Park before adventuring off into the wilderness unprepared.

Dogs Are Allowed On All Fully Paved Trails

There are a few trails where hikers are not allowed to bring their pets, but there are many that can be accommodated. In Yosemite National Park, there are multiple trails where animals are welcomed. Each trail has signs that will mention whether they are allowed to enter or not, however knowing them in advance is an important part of the hiking plans. There are short trails and longer trails available, depending on the dogs' abilities.

For short trails, there are six trails that are short and sweet for a quick brisk up the mountain. The Bridalveil Fall is the closest trail from the base and has a cool mist that comes from the bottom of the waterfall. Lower Yosemite Fall Loop and Cook's Meadow are short strolls that loop around the mountain for the most iconic and perfect view of Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Rock, and Half Dome. Glacier Point, Mirror Lake, and Tunnel View trails are all surrounded by waterfalls and bodies of the river, making this the perfect rest stop for you and your pooch. 

There are four longer hikes for dogs but bear in mind the weather. On hot days, owners are asked to stay within the short trails or bring enough water for both themselves and their dogs, as climbing the mountain can be extremely hot. Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, Carlon Road, Wawona Meadow Loop, and Chowchilla Mountain Road offers hikers views of breathtaking waterfalls, basins of water, creeks, wildflowers and ancient trees. Sadly, Horsetail Falls is only accessible to humans

Related: Let's Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Traveling With A Dog

Dine And Grub At Three Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Out of three fast dining options in Yosemite National Park, there are only two that are dog friendly. However, for those who are looking for a more luxurious meal, dog sitting can be provided for a small fee and if there’s availability. Village Grill and Degnan’s Deli both have indoor and outdoor seating available for guests and their pets. They also provide a discount for guests who are looking to reserve a night or two (or seven) to a dog-friendly hotel.

Degnan’s Kitchen cooks up some incredible authentic delicatessen sandwiches and salads. They also make artisan pizzas and have a breakfast menu filled with everyday favorites like bacon and eggs, pancakes, and of course potatoes. Most importantly, for those who are morning hikers and would like to enjoy a hot cup of Joe, fresh coffees and espressos are available to pair perfectly with home-style donuts. On the second floor, guests are treated to barbecued chicken wings, brisk, and ribs with a long list of wines and beers to choose from as they watch TV on one of the many big screens available.

Village Grill Deck is a quick grab-and-go deli that makes simple grilled sandwiches and juicy burgers, steamed hot dogs. They also provide vegetarian options. Best of all, diners get to sit outside at various picnic tables in order to keep enjoying the beauties of nature.

Related: Yosemite's New Covered Wagons Add A Class Twist To Old West-Style Camping

There Are Dog-Friendly Cabins For A Woofderful Weekend

There is nothing more beautiful than enjoying a nature hike with your furry friend and being able to stay multiple nights without worrying where they will stay or paying an additional expense or a dog sitter or kennel service. Luckily, there are a few cabins that are dog friendly located in Curry Village which is within Yosemite's vicinity. The downside of this gorgeous village of cabins and pop up tents is that it completely sells out eighteen months early, so it’s important to properly plan any vacation or quick weekend trip well in advance.

Away from Curry Village, there are a number of Airbnb and private home rentals that are moments away from Yosemite National Park’s main entrance. However, Yosemite also has log cabin homes, executive mountain luxury ranches, and houses that look like mansions for rent for as little as $200 a night and two dogs per house or cabin.

Related: 20 Stunning Photos Of Yosemite That Make Us Want To Pack Our Bags Immediately

Tenaya Lodge Offers Dog Sitting So Travelers Can Explore Further

For hikers looking for some alone time in the woods or who would like to explore the trails where dogs are not permitted, there are three kennels and dog sitting options. Yosemite Hospitality is a kennel located at the Yosemite Valley that will board any dogs so long as they can be provided with written proof of immunizations and all dogs must be six months old and more. Additionally, dogs who weigh less than twenty pounds will be kept in their personal crates.

For those looking for a more personal touch for their spoiled fur babies, Tenaya Lodge offers hikers dog sitting services. Hikers are asked to provide the lodge with a minimum of twenty-four hours before arrival, even though it's a first come first serve basis. Tenaya Lodge also welcomes dogs to stay longer in their kennel service for travelers and locals who are booking a room overnight or longer.

The Tenaya Lodge is a Four Diamond resort that is home to over three hundred luxurious rooms and suites. Guests are also welcome to visit one of their many dining options and world-renowned spas while their dogs are being pampered by the staff.

Service Dogs Are Allowed Everywhere

There are always cases where hikers may see dogs that are trailing off into the longer trails or inside high-end dining areas. These exceptions will only be made for owners of service dogs. Service dogs play an essential role in many people’s lives. Guide dogs help those who have visual or hearing impairments, other service dogs help with mobility, diabetes, seizure alerts, autism support dogs, allergy detection, and even anxiety.

When hikers come face to face with service dogs or guide dogs, it’s important to remain calm and not startle the dogs. Additionally, hikers are never allowed to pet or give food to service dogs without the permission and supervision of the owner. Most importantly, hikers and guests alike are to keep their dogs away from service and guide dogs, as this can distract the dog from caring for its owner.

Next: This Is Why Horsetail Fall Glows