Dawn Kelly Photography
Home »
Dogs in Yosemite

Dogs in Yosemite

A Wedding & Elopement Guide

Do you want to bring your fur babies to your Yosemite elopement or wedding, but don't know how? Never fear! This guide will help you though the process and answer your questions.

"My 2 dogs have experienced a lot of growing with me since 2005. They're my children. The decision to include them in my wedding was made before all other wedding details. In fact, one of the main reasons I chose Dawn as my photographer was because she includes dogs in her work. If you love your fur babies as much as I do, do not hesitate to include them in your special day." ~ Keri & Chad

Yosemite's Pet Rules

  • Dogs are allowed on most paved roads, sidewalks, bike paths, and developed areas unless there is a sign specifically forbidding them. Pets are not allowed in meadows or on snow-covered paved areas. For posed photos, the edge of a meadow is fine, as long as the dog isn't running around or unattended.
  • Service dogs are allowed anywhere if they are trained to perform a specific task for a person with a disability, such as guide dogs for the blind. Sorry, you can't bring your emotional support peacock.
  • Dogs must remain on a leash not more than 6' long and must be accompanied by a human at all times.
  • Dogs are not allowed on any public transportation.
  • Owners are responsible for cleaning up after pets, so bring your doggy poop bags.
  • Store pet food as you store people food because bears don't have a discriminating palette.

Ceremony Guidelines and Tips

Yosemite allows dogs in ceremonies at three spots only: Swinging Bridge, Sentinel Beach, and Cathedral Beach. They must be on a leash at all times. After the ceremony, we take fun portraits with your fur family in the location where you had your ceremony.


  • Take your furry bridal party to the bathroom before the ceremony to avoid any interruptions or embarrassing situations.
  • If you have guests, designate someone to be in charge of pet care. Their job is to dress the pup if there is an outfit or accessories, hold the leash during the ceremony, and take care of the dog throughout the day while you are taking wedding photos. Be sure to provide them with poop bags!
  • If you don't have guests, put together a plan of how you're going to board pets while you're not at the ceremony.
  • Have treats on hand in case bribery is needed.
  • Always have water available, especially on warm days.

"Dawn made my husband & I feel very comfortable and reassured from the very beginning, so I knew the dogs would be able to be themselves in front of the camera. I do have to mention that my one dog, Hazel, tends to turn her nose away (literally) from anyone pointing a camera at her face, but Dawn was very patient with the dogs. She made sure they were able to walk along with us and sniff around...allowing them to be themselves with us and all the while taking beautiful photos of us all." ~ Keri & Chad

Bride and groom with dogs in Yosemite

Pet-Friendly Lodging

Inside Yosemite National Park

The Redwoods in Yosemite

This is a great option if you'd like to stay in cabins inside the park with your fur babies. The Redwoods in located in Wawona, a lush, woodsy area of the park that includes Mariposa Grove. They have a large variety of sizes and styles of cabins, so you are sure to find something that's the right fit for you. If you're planning a reception, they have a reception room available for rent. There are also several pet-friendly hiking trails nearby.

  • $25 charge per pet, per night
  • Open year-round
  • Elevation 9,926 feet
  • One hour drive to Yosemite Valley
  • Two pets maximum
  • Service animals always allowed with no service fee

Yosemite West Private Rentals

Be sure to check AirBnB and other private rentals. Many of them are pet friendly! Just search for "Yosemite West."

Portrait bride and groom with dog


Pets are welcome in all campgrounds EXCEPT walk-in campgrounds such as Camp 4. Most campgrounds can accommodate RVs. If you have an RV and the weather is nice, you can leave your pups inside. These campgrounds allow dogs:

Hodgdon Meadow Campground

  • Pets allowed in family sites only on a leash
  • No pet fee
  • Open April through October
  • Elevation 4,875 feet
  • 1 hour drive to Yosemite Valley

Tuolumne Meadows Campground

  • Pets allowed in family and horse sites only on a leash
  • Pet fee
  • Open June through September
  • Elevation 8,600
  • 1.5 hours northeast of Yosemite Valley

Upper Pines Campground

  • Pets allowed throughout on a leash
  • Pet fee
  • Open year-round
  • Elevation 4,000 feet
  • Located in the heart of Yosemite Valley

Lower Pines Campground and North Pines Campground

  • Pets allowed throughout on a leash
  • Pet fee
  • Open April through October
  • Elevation 4,000 feet
  • Located in the heart of Yosemite Valley

Wawona Campground

  • Pets allowed throughout on a leash
  • Pet fee
  • Open April through October
  • Elevation 4,000
  • 45 minute drive to Yosemite Valley

Crane Flat Campground

  • Pets allowed throughout on a leash
  • Pet fee
  • Open July through October
  • Elevation 6,200 feet
  • 30 minute drive to Yosemite Valley

Outside Yosemite National Park

Tenaya Lodge

This is a dog-friendly resort, named the West's Best Pet-Friendly Resort by Sunset Magazine. You must get prior approval for your pet, as they allow a limited number of pets at the lodge at one time. Service animals are always welcome. All pets must be up-to-date on all shots and in good health.

  • Dogs are allowed on lodge grounds, inside pet-friendly rooms, and at the hotel's outdoor dining venues.
  • Pet fee $100 for up to two dogs and $25 for third dog
  • Open year-round
  • Elevation 5,288
  • One hour drive to Yosemite Valley
  • Amenities
    • Dog sitting starts at $25/hr
    • Pet concierge
    • Pet bed
    • Kennel
    • Dog massage

Indian Flat RV Park

  • Pets allowed throughout on a leash no longer than 8'
  • Pet fee $5
  • Open year-round
  • Elevation 1,900
  • Located in El Portal, 30 minute drive from Yosemite Valley

Groveland Hotels

The Cub In B&B

The Groveland Hotel

I have the most experience with The Groveland Hotel. I remember in the late 80's when they were remodeling it, using the good bones to rebuild from rubble. It's located in downtown Groveland (calm down, it's one block) and has a fantastic restaurant and bar. It's within walking distance of the historic Iron Door Saloon, where Toni Danza once played pool! The Iron Door serves food, has an amazing full bar, and hosts live music most weekends with a variety of groups and styles.

Keri and Chad, along with their two small pups, stayed here. Here's what they had to say:

"Staying at the Groveland Hotel was not only memorable because it was the eve of our elopement, but because the staff was so accommodating to all their visitors during the Briceburg fire at that time. The power was shut off as well due to the weather, so we were provided battery powered lanterns. The dogs have always loved staying at hotels and the room we booked had a beautiful gas fireplace that they loved! We would love to stay there again to experience the hotel & town when all businesses are open. It definitely made for an extra memorable time!"

Mariposa Hotels

Best Western Plus Yosemite Way Station Motel

River Rock Inn

Oakhurst Hotels

Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn

Narrow Gauge Inn

Queen's Inn by the River

Kennels & Pet Sitting

If you're bringing your puppies with you to Yosemite for your elopement or wedding, you won't be able to have them with you all day. We can take photos with them after your ceremony in the spot where you have your permit, but we can't travel around with them. Sad, I know. If you aren't bringing family or friends to pet sit for you, there are some options inside the park.

Yosemite's Dog Kennel


Open 8:00am to 4:00pm

  • Located at Yosemite Valley Stable in the valley
  • $9.50/day, boarded in the daytime only
  • Written proof of immunizations required
  • Dogs smaller than 20 pounds require a small kennel of your own
  • Limited space, so make reservations in advance

Tenaya Lodge Dog Sitting & Kennel

See above information under "Pet-Friendly Lodging."

Dangers Inside the Park

Yosemite's guidelines protect both pets and wildlife from disease and each other. Don't forget that there are bears, foxes, wolves, and many other wild animals that can harm your pet. Monitor your pets at all times inside and around the park.

Yosemite Area Veterinarians

You never know what can happen, so it's best to be prepared. In case your fur baby gets hurt or sick, these vets can help you out.

Ritter Animal Hospital


5572 State Highway 49, Mariposa

1 hour and 15 minute drive from Yosemite Valley

Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital


40717 Winding Way, Oakhurst

1 hour and 30 minute drive from Yosemite valley

30 minute drive from Wawona

Pet-Friendly Restaurants Inside Yosemite

As you're exploring and hiking in the park, you and your puppy are going to get hungry. These restaurants in Yosemite Village allow pets on the patio, as long as they're on a leash no longer than 6' and tied to the table.

Village Grill

Degnan's Kitchen

Bride and groom walking with dogs on wedding day

Pet Friendly Hikes

While your pooch isn't allowed to run around on unpaved trails or in the trees, there are still plenty of hikes you can enjoy together!

Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

North America's tallest waterfall reaches its peak in the spring with a deafening rush of water.

Distance: 1 mile loop
Elevation: 2,425 + 50 foot gain
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 30 minutes
Begin at: Lower Yosemite Falls Trailhead

Mirror Lake

With stunning views of Half Dome, this lake is fullest in the spring, and is a gorgeous hike year-round.

Distance: 2 miles round trip to lake and back; 5 mile loop around lake
Elevation: 4,098
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Time: 1 hour to lake and back; 2-3 hours for full loop
Begin at: Mirror Lake Trailhead (near The Ahwahnee Hotel)

Glacier Point

This is one of the most beautiful locations that is easily accessible in the park. Drive up Glacier Point Rd to the huge parking lot and explore the paved trails. You'll see amazing views of Half Dome, along with miles of mountain ranges.

Distance: 1 mile round trip
Elevation: 7,200 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minutes
Begin at: Glacier Point parking lot

Tuolumne Grove

Dogs are allowed on the main paved trail that winds through the grove. Stay off any dirt trails, and don't allow your best furry friend to run around in the trees.

Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Elevation: 6,200 feet + 400 foot gain
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Begin at: Trailhead parking lot

Wawona Meadow Loop

The gorgeous area of Wawona is often forgotten about by tourists and locals. Spend the day in a peaceful, quiet part of the park.

Distance: 3.5 miles short loop; 5 miles long loop
Elevation: 4,000 feet (500 foot gain on long loop)
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Begin at: Wawona Hotel parking

Yosemite microwedding with dog best man

Yosemite Elopement Guide

If you haven't done so, check out our free comprehensive Yosemite Elopement Guide!