Fact checked

Are Dogs Allowed in Yosemite? (2023)

Kristi Carignan
November 21, 2023
6 minutes
Updated By
Expert Reviewed By:
August 29, 2023
6 minutes
Updated By
While some national parks may allow household animals such as cats or dogs, others may not unless your dog is a service or support animal.

If you love exploring nature, you may wonder if dogs are allowed in Yosemite National Park. Happily, you're in luck. Your best friend can join you for the adventure of a lifetime. Service dogs can go anywhere accessible to the public under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pet dogs, however, must stick to designated paved areas, campgrounds, and trails.

Are Dogs Allowed in Yosemite?

Yes, dogs are allowed in Yosemite National Park but there are some restrictions. Pets must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed on most trails. There are designated dog-friendly areas within the park where you can take your furry friend to enjoy the scenery.

Each national park has its own accessibility section so visitors can explore all regulations before they arrive.  

If you're considering exploring Yosemite with your furry friend, we've compiled a guide with everything you need to know to make it an incredible and safe experience for all.

Are service dogs allowed in Yosemite?

Yes. The ADA defines service dogs as "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Under the policy of California State Parks, service dogs are allowed in all parts of Yosemite that are open to the public.  

Service dogs can join owners on all trails and in public buildings, restaurants, shuttle busses, campsites, and lodging areas.  

Psychiatric services dogs  

Psychiatric service dogs are allowed in the park under the same ADA stipulations as service dogs. These dogs support and assist those with psychiatric disabilities and perform various safety tasks. Dogs who have undergone psychiatric service dog training and have a letter from a medical professional can access all public areas of Yosemite with their owners. 

Learn more about getting a psychiatric service dog (PSD) letter here, or explore our specialized self-paced PSD training options

Unfortunately, emotional support animals (ESA) aren't listed as service animals under the ADA. While they provide great comfort, they are not trained to perform tasks directly related to a disability. Emotional support dogs must therefore comply with the conventional pet regulations of the park and stick to the paved paths and designated areas. Explore California ESA law for a more in-depth understanding of ESAs. 

Where are Dogs Allowed in Yosemite?

Pet dogs are allowed in many areas of the park, including:

  • Developed areas
  • Paved roads, bicycle paths, and sidewalks (unless a sign says otherwise)
  • All campgrounds (apart from walk-in or group ones) 
  • Certain lodgings and cabins in the region.

Are Dogs Allowed in Yosemite Campgrounds?

Yes. Dogs are allowed on most campgrounds, except for walk-in or group campgrounds, including Camp 4. However, this rule doesn't apply to service dogs and psychiatric service dogs who are allowed at all camps. 

While the hotels within the park do not allow pet dogs, many dog-friendly dwellings and lodgings in the region exist. Some of these even offer special pet packages and dog-sitting services. Dog owners can also rent pup-friendly cabins (within the park gates) in Yosemite West, Foresta, and Wawona. 

Why Bring a Dog to Yosemite?

Yosemite Valley has so much to offer dogs with its many dog-friendly activities and trails. Dog-friendly trails include:

  • Bridalveil Fall Trail: This iconic trail is known for its stunning waterfall that flows all year round. Cool off with your pup and enjoy traversing together through the mist.
  • Lower Yosemite Falls Loop: This popular trail boasts beautiful waterfall views. It's half a mile from the trailhead departure point and 1.5 miles from Yosemite Village. 
  •  Wawona Meadow Loop: If your pup loves longer hikes, this 3.5-mile loop will surely delight them. The loop circles the golf course and beautiful meadow areas. In the spring, you can enjoy the abundance of wildflowers. 

How to Get an ESA Letter 

An ESA letter allows you to travel with your pet stress-free. The easiest way to get one in California is to connect with a mental health professional. 

The process of getting an ESA letter can feel pretty daunting if you’re unsure of the process as there are a few administrative steps to follow. Happily, Pettable can manage this consultation. We guarantee approval or your money back if you don’t qualify. 

Simply fill in our short assessment form, and we'll connect you to a therapist who can write you an ESA letter. 

If it doesn't work out, we'll refund you 100%.

Meet the author:
Kristi Carignan

Kristi Carignan is a seasoned freelance writer with over 20 years of experience crafting copy for global agencies and brands. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her furry companions, Sugar the PomChi and Rudy the Shiba Inu, and indulging in hobbies like crafting and home renovation.

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