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Yosemite Valley Reopens with #YosemiteNOW


California’s summer fire season turned a corner for Yosemite National Park with the reopening of the park’s most popular attraction, Yosemite Valley. In light of this, Yosemite’s Gateway communities have come together with #YosemiteNOW on social media to show the world Yosemite is open.

With four different counties providing a gateway to Yosemite National Park, these areas all share a piece of paradise and are uniquely different offering visitors four different ways to explore the park. To honour the re-opening of Yosemite Valley and other main attractions throughout the park, the Gateway counties of Madera, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne County are offering free #YosemiteNOW heart signs to all visitors.

Tuolumne County is open and ready to welcome visitors with a host of exciting activities, including road trips, water sports and live music to extend the summer.  Only 2.5 hours East of the San Francisco bay area, Tuolumne is made up of Yosemite, the Gold Country and High Sierra.

Yosemite Road Trip

Highway 120/Tioga Pass is the most direct route into Yosemite National Park and is only open seasonally, making it an exclusive summer road trip. This pass climbs up to 9,943 feet and is the highest mountain pass in California. The Gateway town of Groveland makes a good starting point for this trip and offers an array of accommodation, including the Historic Groveland Hotel, a cabin in the pines at Evergreen Lodge and a quaint bed and breakfast at Redtail Ranch. Not to be missed activities along the route include the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias; the third longest living tree specimen, dating back thousands of years and Tuolumne Meadows for views and adventures that are only available from late spring to mid-fall due to winter closures. Fishing, hiking, and sightseeing tours are all available to enjoy.

Gold Country

Brand new to Tuolumne County, the Westside Pavilion has awakened the foothills of Gold Country with music and renowned entertainment. In partnership with Black Oaks Casino, the concert series captures the summer with top national music acts in a laid-back, 2,700 person capacity venue under the stars. In Historic Downtown Sonora, Jamestown and Coffill Park, every second Saturday Night the local towns are also lit up with lights and live music until October. No Gold Country experience would be complete without a trip to Columbia State Historic Park. With no turn-dials or entrance fees, visitors can escape to the Gold Rush days with gold panning, stagecoach rides, a working blacksmith, and a five-generation family-owned candy store.

High Sierra

Explore the High Sierra by boat, foot, bike, or horseback. Riding is one of the best ways to the sights of the picturesque mountain peaks and sprawling meadows of Tuolumne. Aspen Meadows pack station gives visitors the ultimate experience offering trips from 1-hour to all-inclusive. At Pinecrest Lake, kayaking, hiking and taking a dip are all available to enjoy and at 5,600ft, the temperature drops about 10 degrees from the city streets, making it the perfect weather for outdoor adventure. To top off a High Sierra experience, visitors can end the day with a Movie Under the Stars at Pinecrest Amphitheatre.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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