Yosemite National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. First, Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln’s signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. Later, John Muir led a successful movement to establish a larger national park encompassing not just the valley, but surrounding mountains and forests as well—paving the way for the U.S. National Park system.
The park, which is managed by the U.S. National Park Service, covers an area of 747,956 acres. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and biological diversity.
Most camps within Yosemite National Parks do not accept dogs. We stayed at a lovely camp called Dimond O. Its small, quiet and clean, allows dogs and is near Hetch Hetchy dam. Dogs are not allowed on the dam itself, but you can still drive down for an incredible view from your vehicle or trail head.
Many of the major attractions such as Half Dome and Lower Yosemite Falls are viewable and/or accessible to you and your dog. The road traveling through them is called Yosemite Loop – which is exactly what it sounds like. You will be able to travel this road which loops back on itself the way you came.
The first area you will get to feast your eyes on is the infamous El Capitan. Visitors often pull over when it first appears to marvel at its greatness.
You will have more time to take in the views when you discover Swinging Bridge, further down the loop. This is a large open field where you can take in the sites of the valley. Unfortunately you are not allowed to far down this path as it turns into dirt. Dogs are not permitted on dirt paths unless clearly marked.
Luckily Cooks Meadow Loop offers a boardwalk that allows you and your dog to walk side by side.
Lower Yosemite Falls
One of the best areas to enjoy a walk through Yosemite National Park with your dog is on the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail. A beautiful 1 mile walk through Lower Yosemite Falls. Your pup will enjoy the board walk and paved areas, while you share in the views. The fall is often dryer in the late summer/early fall months but it is still spectacular. You can enjoy swimming at the base and surrounding stream, but your dog needs to sit out on the swimming.
Mirror Lake Trail is also a beautiful option that you an your dog can explore together. The trail is two miles, the first mile is paved and leads directly to Mirror Lake. The second portion that is not paved is prohibited to dogs. Mirror Lake has little water most of the year and looks more like a meadow. The lake is at its fullest in the spring to summer months but is stunning year round.
Glacier Point is home to some of the most stunning views Yosemite has to offer. Its about an hour drive to Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley, but it is well worth it! From here, you can view 5 peaks and feels on top of the world doing it. On your way back down to your camp, stop by Bridalveil Fall too!
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