If you think Tuolumne County in California is all about Yosemite Park, think again, there’s a lot to discover and experience all year round.
Just 2 ½ hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tuolumne County is an easily accessible, all-year-round destination to explore new experiences, even for the most expert traveller. It’s the gateway to exploring the beauty of the National Parks, the heritage of the Wild West Gold Country and new adventures in High Sierra. Enjoy endless outdoor recreation, sightseeing, star-gazing, wine and cider tasting and of course, the not to miss, Yosemite National Park valley floor.
Here are our favourite sites to discover and experiences to explore.
Giant Sequoias: there is a Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias located in Tuolumne off Big Oak Flat Road; it contains the only tree in Yosemite you can walk through.
Rancheria Falls is a 13-mile hike revealing a series of cascading water that zips vertically through a narrow canyon for more than 1,000 feet before ending in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
Visit the historic town of Jamestown. Jamestown is located on the Highway 108/49 corridor and is the first town you encounter when entering Tuolumne County from the west. It’s the spot where gold was first discovered in the County. Several of the town’s buildings that date back to the 1870s and 1880s are occupied by quaint historic inns, restaurants, shops, a cigar bar and even wine tasting rooms of local vineyards. Jamestown is also home to one of Tuolumne County’s two California State Parks, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.
Gold Panning in Tuolumne County. Several mines are still open that allow visitors to pan for gold as the 49ers once did, and there are several gold panning adventure companies that teach prospecting courses for adventurous miners who seek a true Gold Country experience.
Magnificent vistas, trails, lakes, rivers and streams create endless opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, boating and rafting, fishing, horseback riding and winter sports featuring breathtaking scenery and fresh mountain air.
Enjoy winter sports at Dodge Ridge, 30 miles east of Sonora on all-weather Hwy 108. The all-mountain winter sports area houses downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing & snowshoeing. With 61 runs, 12 lifts, 1,600 vertical feet, three dining facilities, rental equipment and adult/children learn-to-ski or ride programmes. A brand new Family Lodge, with cosy bistro and expanded children’s snow sports centre with preschool snow play programme has just opened.
Pencil in a stop at one of Tuolumne’s four wine and cider tasting rooms and take in a little culture with the view.
From the bountiful foothills of Tuolumne County comes a limited and premium wine. Inspired by the Gianelli family, owners Karen and Pete ensure Inner Sanctum is driven by lasting friendships, deep family roots and the creation of remarkable wines. Tasting room located in Jamestown, CA.
If bourbon is your poison, head to Kentucky to follow the Bourbon Trail with Lesley Perlman.
This is a family-owned cider distillery that serves up a mean hard cider, flavoured vodka and apple brandy. The family has created a beautiful park-like setting for visitors to tour the orchard, enjoy a picnic, or take a stroll on one of the half-mile hiking trails. Tasting room located in Sonora, CA.
Eleven years ago owners, Cheryl and Ron began a journey to grow wine grapes and produce wine from an untested area of the Sierra Foothills at 3,000′ elevation. Located in Groveland, California, Yosemite Cellars offers wines made exclusively from their estate vineyard located near the scenic grandeur of Yosemite National Park. Tasting available in Groveland, CA
Yosemite Family Adventures offers a Starry Night Tour to experience the night sky around Yosemite. Get personal with the craters of the moon, Orion Nebula, rings around Saturn and the Milky Way with special guides that use the latest tracking telescopes to tour guests around the night sky.
Depending on where you stay, Yosemite Tuolumne County has it all, from hotels to cabins and quaint B&Bs. You can also camp under the stars and park your RV in one of 10 public camping grounds.
New opening – Rush Creek Lodge
Located at Yosemite’s Highway 120 West entrance, this “destination within a destination” is a brand new 20-acre hillside lodge featuring a mix of 143 Lodge Rooms, Suites and Hillside Villas, all with private decks. Rush Creek Lodge amenities include a restaurant and tavern with indoor/outdoor seating, saltwater pool, hot tubs, recreation guide service, daily activities and general store.
For more information on places to stay, visit http://visittuolumne.com/places-to-stay