The public transit bus service, YARTS, that connects Merced, Fresno, Sonora and Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite, officially opened on May 15 marking the start of the Tuolumne County summer season. The red route, that runs through Highway 120 and stops at various routes in Yosemite’s Tuolumne County including the historic wild west and gold rush town of Jamestown and affordable lodgings for campers and explorers, means that the northern territory of Yosemite is now even more accessible by public transport. Scenic stops, attractions and accommodation not to be missed along the route include:
Rush Creek Lodge
This brand new 20-acre hillside lodge offers a huge range of amenities, including an onsite restaurants, saltwater pool, spa, hot tubs and a general store, all on the doorstep of the national park. Rush Creek Lodge is the ideal launch pad for exploring Yosemite or spending the night under the stars after a long hike.
Yosemite Lakes Campgrounds at Yosemite Lakes Drive
Five miles from the west gate of Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort allows for great camping in California. Within the 400-acre site is lush greenery and campsites replete opportunities to swim or fish, or the more adventurers can pan for gold in the Tuolumne River.
Yosemite Pines RV Park
Only 30minutes from the valley floor (West entrance) the Yosemite Pines RV Park is both an easy and affordable option to visiting Yosemite. The resort offers numerous accommodation types including cabins, trailer parks, yurts, RV and tent site, with a range of activities close to the site including gold panning, horse-riding, river rafting, golf and mountain biking.
The Buck Meadows Lodge offers 10 clean and comfortable motel rooms for the budget minded traveller. Visitors to Buck Meadows on hot summer days can cool off at Stanislaus National Forest picnic area, Rainbow Pool, just a few miles walk east of the bus stop. To the West, independent bakery, Tangled Hearts, is the perfect stop to grab a hearty breakfast (served until 2pm) with American classics such as Avocado hash browns, cheese-fried chorizo burritos and homemade biscuits with sausage gravy.
The first town you hit in Tuolumne County when driving from San Francisco along the Highway 108/49 corridor Jamestown is where gold was first discovered. Several buildings date back to the 1870s with inns, restaurants, wine tasting rooms from local vineyards and even a cigar bar. There are lots of activities to enjoy, including a visit to the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, hiking one of three trails including Table Mountain and discovering seasonal wildflower displays or film location hunting for spotting iconic scenes from films including Back to the Future 3.
Yosemite’s Tuolumne County is only 2.5 hours’ drive from the San Francisco bay area and all YARTS tickets include the entrance fee to Yosemite.
For more information on the Tuolumne County summer season please head to VisitTuolumne.com
Mark Bibby Jackson
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