Dog-Friendly Hikes in Yosemite

If hiking with your dog in Yosemite is on your bucket list, we have great news – there are several dog-friendly hikes in Yosemite.

Yosemite National Park offers stunning hikes and exploration areas for you and your furry friend, but knowing the rules and choosing the right path is crucial for your safety and your pet’s.

With Firefall Ranch as your basecamp, you’ll have miles and miles of national forests and trails with far fewer crowds and friendly staff that can help point you and your doggo in the right direction.

Read on and learn more about hiking with your dog in Yosemite! 

Top Dog-Friendly Hikes in Yosemite

Lower Yosemite Fall Trail

1 mile loop | Elevation gain approx. 50 feet | Easy | 30 minutes

This one-mile paved loop trail takes you to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall. Let your pup enjoy a cool misting spray from the falls and take in the dramatic views from the base of this 320-foot tall waterfall. Peak flows for Lower Yosemite Fall are in April and May.

Bridalveil Fall Trail

0.5 mile loop | Elevation gain approx. 80 feet | Easy | 20 minutes

Bridalveil Fall Trail is an excellent trail for year round hiking, thanks to a wetland area above the fall that keeps the fall flowing throughout the year with slowly-released snowmelt and rain. The fall is the strongest in early spring. No matter when you visit, you’ll be treated to incredible views of one of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls – and you can share the whole experience with your pup.

Mirror Lake Trail

2 miles to the lake and back – dogs not allowed on Mirror Lake Loop | Elevation gain approx. 100 feet | Easy to Moderate | 1 hour 

This trail is a paved service road that leads directly to Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is low (and still gorgeous) much of the year, but shines in spring and early summer when fresh snowmelt flows through Tenaya Creek and fills the lake. When the water is calm, you’ll see where Mirror Lake got its name – the lake offers stunning reflections of the surrounding granite cliffs and alpine greenery. You can enjoy the trail up to Mirror Lake with your dog, keeping in mind that dogs are not allowed on the unpaved loop around the lake that begins at the end of the paved path.

Additional Dog-Friendly Activities in Yosemite

Looking for more dog-friendly activities in Yosemite? Stanislaus National Forest is a haven for outdoor adventure and your dog doesn’t have to miss out. Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise restrained, and pets are not allowed in swimming areas or water supplies. Dogs are welcome on paved paths and other sign-designated places in Stanislaus – check out these tips for being a good canine camper, straight from the forest!

Dog-Friendly Accommodations at Firefall Ranch

Firefall Ranch Guest Cottage Exterior (Tracy Barbutes)

Newly-opened Firefall Ranch is proud to be dog-friendly! This basecamp for your Yosemite adventure is outfitted with modern amenities and striking design flourishes, plus additional amenities for your four-legged friends. The majority of The Ranch’s 300 acres are available for dogs to play on-leash, letting them explore the grounds with fewer restrictions than inside the park. Additionally, the “Doggie Daily” plan at Firefall Ranch includes the following complimentary pet amenities: 

  • Water bowls
  • Spacious + comfy pet crates
  • Dog beds

Select dog food*, treats, and toys are available for purchase at Firefall Ranch’s General Store, along with trail snacks, ready-made meals, souvenirs, and other essentials for human companions. 

*Remember that dog food is bear food! Store your dog’s food and even food-scented toys the same way you store your own food to avoid bears being drawn to the area. 

Pets are welcome inside your cottage or villa at Firefall Ranch, as well as on the deck of your cottage or villa when accompanied by you. Pets cannot be left unattended for any length of time. Pets are also welcome at the Tavern’s outdoor dining area on their leashes.

Tips for Hiking with Dogs in Yosemite

Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and flea/tick preventative before embarking on your dog-friendly trip to Yosemite, and don’t forget to pack their gear! Hiking essentials for dogs include their harness and leash with your contact information easily readable, a water bowl, and bags for waste. 

Make sure you bring more water than you think you’ll need when hiking with your dog – in addition to your own water, your dog will likely drink more during their adventure due to high elevations and activity levels. It’s also a good idea to include dog-friendly items in your first aid kit in case of minor cuts and scrapes. If you’re missing something in your first aid kit, you can pick up select items at Firefall’s General Store.

Yosemite National Park’s Dog-Friendly Regulations

If you’re visiting Yosemite with your dog, follow all of the park’s rules and regulations. Pets are only allowed in Yosemite on fully paved roads, sidewalks, and paths. Owners are responsible for cleaning up and disposing of waste in trash receptacles – the “pack it in, pack it out” principle absolutely applies in the case of pet waste. Pets are allowed in the following areas:

  • Developed areas
  • On fully paved roads, bicycle paths, and sidewalks, except where signage states otherwise
  • In all campgrounds except walk-in campgrounds and group campsites
  • Carlon Road from the trailhead to Hodgdon Meadow
  • Big Oak Flat Road from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove parking lot

Pets are not allowed in Yosemite in the following areas, even if being carried, in a stroller, a backpack, etc.:

  • On trails, including the trail to Vernal Fall
  • On unplowed roads covered in snow
  • In undeveloped and wilderness areas, including meadows and fields
  • In public buildings
  • On shuttle buses
  • In lodging areas
  • In all walk-in and group campsites, including Camp 4
  • In any other areas designated by signage – read EVERY sign you see in Yosemite for your safety!

Leash Laws in Yosemite

In areas where dogs are allowed, they absolutely must be restrained on a leash no more than 6 feet long, or otherwise physically restrained. Leashed pets cannot be left unattended for any length of time. Pets must be on their leash at all times in Yosemite National Park. These regulations protect both pets and Yosemite’s wildlife from disease and from each other, and keep the park safe for everyone.

Ready to enjoy a dog-friendly adventure in Yosemite? Book your stay at Firefall Ranch and discover the wonders of this incredible location together! 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Friendly Hikes in Yosemite

Ready to explore the great outdoors with your furry friend? Get answers to your questions about hiking with your dog in Yosemite, including trails where dogs are allowed, where to stay in Yosemite with your dog, and more. 

Can you bring dogs on hikes in Yosemite?

There are some hikes in Yosemite where dogs are allowed. The top dog-friendly Yosemite hikes are the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, Bridalveil Fall Trail, and the Mirror Lake Trail. Always follow posted rules and trail signage. 

Is it worth going to Yosemite with a dog?

If your dog is an adventurer like you, bringing them to Yosemite is worth it! There are dog friendly accommodations and activities in Yosemite so you can enjoy the great outdoors with your furry friend in tow. 

Are dogs allowed at El Capitan Yosemite?

While dogs are not allowed on the majority of trails in Yosemite, that doesn’t mean they have to miss out seeing El Capitan! Leashed dogs are welcome in El Capitan Meadow, which lets visitors see the stunning granite mountain from below. 

Are dogs allowed on Yosemite Mist Trail?

Dogs are not allowed on Yosemite Mist Trail. The terrain can be slippery and difficult even for people to navigate, and it isn’t safe for your pup or local wildlife for them to visit. If you want to see one of the park’s waterfalls with your pet, we recommend the paved Bridalveil Fall Trail.