While most trails in Yosemite are off-limits to our canine companions, this unmarked and unsigned loop trail from Hazel Green Creek is an exception. Easily accessible by car via Tuolumne Grove Road, the trail heads south from its junction with the Tuolumne Grove Trail and, following Yosemite National Park Road, loops back up to Tuolumne Grove Road to the Hodgdon Meadow Campground, where pups are welcomed everywhere except in restrooms and in the group camp area.
The trail's route is almost entirely within Hodgdon Meadow, and the primary terrain is mildly graded grassland with intermittent wetlands. The paved road provides excellent views of the surrounding granite domes and peaks, as well as the woodlands ringing the meadow. In the spring and early summer, wildflowers like lupine, Indian Paintbrush and others line the path, and there are many critters to see, including snakes, elk and maybe even a bear or two. Hawks and occasionally eagles soar above on the thermals, looking for their next meal and blue jays serenade you with their raucous call from the trees.
From the trailhead near Hazel Green Creek, you and Fido can also access Tuolumne Grove Trail, which is another paved trail. The trail takes you downhill to Tuolumne Grove, where you'll find massive sequoia trees, a mixture of ancient giants and new growth. Some trees have been downed by fire or wind, exposing their root networks, and one tree has been cut into a squared arch that you can walk through while looking up at its lofty height. The trail doesn't offer much shade until you reach the Grove, so be sure to carry plenty of water for you and the pup.
Luckily Yosemite boasts a few paved trails and sidewalks on roads into and around the valley, and while hiking with our fur-babies in the wild on forest floors is fun, there's a ton to see, sniff and hear in the developed areas and on the roads as well!
As throughout Yosemite, you may see all types of wildlife, including bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. Poison oak abounds in the park as well. Long sleeves and pants help if you aren't able to avoid it. Dogs are only permitted on paved trails and roads and in designated campgrounds. This trail is dog-friendly, but don't venture onto unpaved trails.