The Chowchilla Mountain Road Trail is a dog-furiendly dirt path that was once a stagecoach road that led from Mariposa into Yosemite. Today, this road has disintegrated considerably, with deep ruts and holes along the way in many areas. Open seasonally to off-road vehicles, this off the beaten track path is pawfect for your adventure pup. Though part of the road heads into Yosemite Valley where dogs are not usually allowed, this is one of the few roads that are pet-friendly, so long as you keep your pooch on a leash.
If hiking, its best to start this trek inside Yosemite in Wawona, since there is parking available, as the other end of the road off Highway 49, or Golden Chain Highway, offers no parking. Park at the Wawona Visitor Center, the Wawona Hotel, the nearby tennis courts, or snack shop. Right outside the visitor center is the start of the Chowchilla Mountain Road. Take this paved section south past Wawona Road toward the golf course. The road hugs the golf course, passes two offshoot trails that are part of the Wawona Meadow Loop, then at the third intersection, head down the road south away from the golf course. This road will be paved, and will turn after a bit, heading south, then west.
When you come to a three-way intersection, go left to stay on the Chowchilla Mountain Road. Continue south, and at the next three-way intersection, go left again to stay on Chowchilla. To the right is Summit Road. Now, Chowchilla will travel west and pass the Summit Campground and Battalion Pass before it intersects with Tenmille Grade road. Go to the left to stay on Chowchilla, and continue west, then south. There are some spur trails along the next section, but stay on the main road to keep on your path. Next, you will pass several other roads, Cold Spring, and a creek. At the second meeting of Harris Cut Off Road, stay to the right. Many more smaller roads will branch off, then you will come to E Westfall Road, turn left. This last section will end at Highway 49, near the small town of Elliot Corner.
This trail is lightly traveled and is usually empty of visitors no matter what time of day you visit during the week. The weekends tend to see more hikers, and even bikers along the way, who often use the trail for the many jumps, turns, rocky areas, and meadows. This pawrific path does travel over the summit, so be prepared. During the spring, the colors of the meadows are bursting with vibrant hues everywhere. Come back in the fall to witness the autumn colors as the leaves change on the trees. Due to the snowfall, the trail is closed in the winter season.
There's no restrooms or water available on the trail, so be sure to bring enough water for both of you. Restrooms are available behind the Wawona Hotel building, and there is a snack shop as well if you want to get a snack or something to drink. Also be sure to bring clean-up bags with you.
You can see the beautiful Chowchilla Mountain Range from almost anywhere on the trail. This is a beautiful walk in the woods with your four-legged friend near the pawmazing Yosemite National Park, and you will both want to return for another trip to see more.