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Become a Yosemite B.A.R.K. Ranger

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BARK Ranger Rack Card showing checklist and program information

Know the B.A.R.K. Ranger Code for a Safe Visit!

For many, pets are an important member of our families. If you are planning to bring a furry family member on your trip to Yosemite, make sure you are prepared and are following the B.A.R.K. Ranger code. The code helps protect you, your pet, and the park while you are here. If the activities you have planned for your visit do not allow for pets or are unsafe, consider leaving them at home.

Bag your pet’s waste

Help keep Yosemite clean by bagging your pet’s waste and throwing it away in the garbage. Pet feces is not a natural fertilizer and can spread diseases to park wildlife, introduce non-native plant seeds, and can pollute rivers and lakes. Additionally, stepping in poop left behind by pet owners can be an unpleasant experience for other visitors!

Always leash your pet

Pets must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long when in Yosemite (even if your pet is well behaved). Unleashed pets can stress or injure wildlife, scare other visitors, and are more likely to have a dangerous encounter. Keep your pet, wildlife, and other people safe by using a leash. Leashed pets cannot be left unattended.

Some people, especially children, are frightened of dogs. At times, highly visited areas of Yosemite can be very crowded. Make sure your leashed pet is well behaved around other people. You are helping to protect the experience of other visitors.

Respect wildlife

There are more than 400 species of wildlife that call Yosemite home. A respectful pet keeps clear of wildlife, stays on trails and out of wildlife’s natural habitats. Always stay at least 50 yards away from bears and 25 yards from other wildlife that you may encounter on your visit.

Remember the smaller creatures too! Keep your pets out of meadows. Nesting birds and rodents are hidden in meadow grasses.

Pet food is also bear food. Ensure all pet food is secured in a food locker when left unattended. (Learn about food lockers and where to locate one at Yosemite.)

Know where you can go

Plan ahead and know where you can take your pet. Do not leave your pet unattended anywhere in the park or left alone in a hot vehicle if you cannot take them with you.

Where Can Your Pet Go in Yosemite?

Dog on boardwalk in Cooks Meadow

Where Pets are Allowed in Yosemite

  • In developed areas

  • On fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths (except when signed as not allowing pets)

  • In all campgrounds except walk-in campgrounds (e.g., Camp 4 and backpackers camps) and in group campsites

Where Pets are not Allowed in Yosemite

  • On unpaved trails
  • The trail to Vernal Fall
  • On unplowed roads covered in snow
  • In undeveloped and wilderness areas
  • In public buildings
  • On shuttle buses
  • In lodging areas
  • In all walk-in and group campgrounds/campsites, including Camp 4
  • O’Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy
  • In any other areas, as signed
Paw print logo and badge dog tag

How to Become a Yosemite B.A.R.K. Ranger

Demonstrate to other visitors that you know how to explore the park safely and help protect special places like Yosemite! Stop in any Yosemite visitor center to pick up your official B.A.R.K. Ranger pledge card to become an official B.A.R.K. Ranger. You will be asked to complete a few simple activities, learn the B.A.R.K. Ranger code and sign your pledge. You can then purchase the official B.A.R.K. Ranger badge at any Yosemite Conservancy bookstore in the park.

Bear, a large dog, sitting upright with a dry Yosemite Falls in background

Yosemite B.A.R.K. Ranger Ambassador

During summer 2021, we went in search of our first B.A.R.K. Ranger Ambassador. We received over 100 qualified applicants. And the winner is.....

Meet Bear from Concord, California, Yosemite’s B.A.R.K. Ranger Ambassador!

Bear was chosen for exemplifying outstanding B.A.R.K. Code behavior while enjoying his favorite national park. Some of his model behavior includes: utmost respect of all wildlife, preparation and understanding of which trails pets are allowed, recreating responsibly with a travel water bowl and leash, and excellent Leave No Trace ethics by always cleaning up after himself.

Bear's owner thinks that "Bear’s best asset in public parks is how he respects wildlife and never attempts to chase after any."

Congratulations to Bear!

Pet Safety

  • Be prepared and ensure your pet can safely attend all activities on your itinerary. Pets should not be left unattended in a vehicle, especially in the summer. High temperatures in a car can be a serious threat to pets. Instead, consider leaving them at home in the comfort of air conditioning, or utilize the Yosemite kennel (closed in 2021).

  • Hot to touch? Too hot for paws! The summer heat can be dangerous for a pet’s paws. Avoid walking your pet in the heat of the day. Follow the five-second rule: place the back of your hand on the pavement; if you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your pet.
  • Know where you can get your pet water while visiting the park. If you are hungry or thirsty while you are exploring, your pet probably is too. Always carry extra food and water for your pet and speak to a park ranger if you need help locating the closest drinking water.

Service Animals

Dogs classified as service animals are individually trained to perform a specific task that assists a person with a disability. Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere that visitors can go. Emotional support, therapy, and companion animals, as well as service animals in training, are not service animals and must abide by all pet regulations.

Kennel

The kennel is closed for 2021.
Yosemite Hospitality operates a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley from approximately late May through early September. Written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and Bordetella) must be provided. Dogs must be at least 20 pounds (smaller dogs may be considered if you provide a small kennel). You can get more information about the kennel by calling 209/372-8326.

Dog on leash in Yosemite Valley

Last updated: August 26, 2021