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Dragoon Gulch Trail with Dog
Menka Belgal

Bring Your Dog to Tuolumne County

By VTC Author | 01/28/2024 | Community, Exploring Tuolumne County, Gold Country, High Sierra, Pet Friendly

Humans, treat your dogs to a vacation where wide open spaces, fresh mountain air, and off the grid adventures come together--in Tuolumne County. Located 2.5 hours from the Bay Area, the Dog Days are waiting in Yosemite National Park, Gold Country, and the High Sierra. There are plenty of places of all kinds to stay overnight with your dog too--look for the green paw print on the lodging listings.

Hiking on one or more of the numerous trails on the Stanislaus National Forest is a great way for the whole family to spend the day. The Little Golden Children's Forest Trail is close to the highway and is accompanied by a self-guided brochure available at the Groveland Ranger Station adjacent to the trailhead. 

Groveland, the gateway town into Yosemite, is fun to explore. Settle in for a peaceful lunch at Mountain Sage Coffee and Nursery or enjoy an on-site crafted beer and light faire at Around the Horn Brewing Company

Make your trip to the area extra special on a glamping adventure at Yosemite Pines RV Resort or a camping excursion on the Tuolumne River at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort.

For those planning an outing with your dog in Yosemite National Park, it's important to know before you go. For the most part, dogs are welcome on the Valley Floor of Yosemite Valley as long as they stick to paved roads and paths and in developed campgrounds (unless otherwise posted). In Tuolumne Meadows, you can bring your leashed dog on roads that are open to vehicles. Remember that among some of the places where dogs can't go in Yosemite are O’Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, on shuttle buses, on unpaved trails, and near lodging areas. Find out more about safely bringing your dog to Yosemite here.

Photo: India Sutton
Photo: Instagram @odindgr8
Photo: Instagram @laducb


Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is home to the famous Sierra No. 3®, the popular steam engine that was used in many films and TV Shows, one of the most notable being Back to the Future III. The No. 3 is in the roundhouse for maintenance, and you can see it on the roundhouse tour. But don't pout, other historic locomotives and railroad cars are on the tracks and running. Dogs are welcome to roam the park with their owners and if they’re well behaved, they can ride on the excursion trains. 

Courtyard dining is a breeze at The Service Station. Family-owned and operated on the Main Street of Jamestown, this dog-friendly restaurant has a great selection of local wine, craft beer, and seasonal drool-worthy specials that will have you begging for more. Just thirsty? Bear Tent Brewing Company has a nice relaxing beer patio for you and your pup.

Outside of Jamestown, near the town of Chinese Camp, the Red Hills Recreation Management Area offers hiking trails in atmosphere noticeably different from the surrounding country-side. The serpentine-based soils in the area support a unique assemblage of plant species to enjoy.

A new dog-friendly hiking trail just opened at Lake Don Pedro providing rewarding views of the lake and a workout. A four mile out and back trail well worth the sweat.


Columbia State Historic Park is full of history and pup-lovin’ adventures. Dogs can walk with their owners through the 1850s Gold Rush town and ride on the stagecoach, they might come in handy to scare off any gold robbing thieves! 

Grab some delicious lunch from Columbia Kate's Teahouse to enjoy in one of the pristine picnic areas in the park. Don't forget the sarsaparilla; it's a must-have when visiting the Columbia State Historic Park.


Historic Downtown Sonora is especially dog-friendly, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and lodging that welcome pets. Dog-friendly outdoor dining options in downtown include the Sonora Brewing Company and Diamondback Grill.

Stretch your legs on the Dragoon Gulch Trail. Located on the outskirts of the city center of Sonora, this system of trails lead up the rolling hillside with stunning views of the city. 

Visit Indigeny Reserve, a 160-acre apple orchard and distillery that creates local organic hard ciders. Although the hard cider might not be pet-friendly, the beautiful, shaded hiking trails and picnic area are.

Many types of dog-friendly lodging options are available in Tuolumne County's Gold Country. Take a look.

Photo: Instagram @hobbit_tails
Photo: The Wilkinsons
Photo: Instagram @ash.too.ash

The Stanislaus National Forest is full of pup-friendly trails to hike. A local favorite is the Sugar Pine Railway Trail, an easy level 6-mile round trip trail that runs along the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. Another choice is the Trail of the Gargoyles featuring unusual volcanic rock formations and spectacular Sierra views. 

Rent a kayak or boat at the Pinecrest Lake Marina and take the doggo on a nice trek on the lake, or pack a picnic and enjoy the day soaking in the shoreline and mountain air on the trail around the lake. 

When you're getting hungry, dog-friendly outdoor dining is available at The Sugar Shack,  Mia's Restaurant, and Kennedy Meadows Resort.

There are plenty of pet-friendly lodging accommodations in the High Sierra from quaint bed & breakfasts and vacation rentals to rustic, scenic resorts.

Photo: Instagram @goldilocks_outdoors
Photo: Instagram @thebautistabeaglepepi
Photo: Instagram boba_boi_

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