Find out more about Tuolumne County

26/11/2023
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Tuolumne County, California has much to offer visitors. Not only is it the gateway to Yosemite National Park, it’s got historic Gold Rush towns, unforgettable High Sierra outdoor adventures and more.

Three holidays in one destination

Visitors to Tuolumne County can experience iconic Yosemite explorations, authentic California Gold Country discoveries and unforgettable High Sierra outdoor adventures.

The Gold Country offers a true Gold Rush experience with rich, lively and thriving historic towns such as Jamestown, Sonora and Columbia, as well as two California State Historic Parks.

The High Sierra, along Highway 108, offers magnificent vistas, trails, lakes, rivers and streams, with breathtaking scenery and fresh mountain air.

Highway 120, meanwhile, is the most direct route to Yosemite National Park from the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. More than half of Yosemite is in Tuolumne County, including the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, the deep blue lake of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and waterfalls including the famous Wapama Falls.

Outdoor adventure

Hiking is the number one visitor activity in Tuolumne County, with thousands of miles of trails, such as around Pinecrest Lake, a popular spot for walking, hiking, fishing and boating.

Whitewater rafting and golf are also on offer, while in the winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Dodge Ridge Mountain Resort. The trails around Lake Don Pedro are great places to see wildflowers. The Blue Oaks Shoreline Trail is nearly 6 miles long is an ideal location for wildflower viewing, and with large rock outcroppings and scenic vistas, it makes for spectacular photos. You might even spot a bald eagle.

Or, experience the West the way the settlers first saw it, on horseback. Choose from a leisurely half-hour ride to an adventuresome week-long pack trip into the Emigrant Wilderness – or anything in between.

Art and culture

Tuolumne County has it all when it comes to arts and entertainment. From diverse art galleries to superior live performances and live music, there’s something to please the artistic tastes and amusement of everyone. 

Sierra Repertory Theatre is the premier theatre company of California’s Gold Country – a  contemporary air-conditioned venue in East Sonora and a historic venue at the Fallon House in Columbia presenting the finest professional regional theatre. 

Visit Tuolumne County will host the 4th Annual Tuolumne County Art Week April 13-21, 2024. Art Week is a celebration of artists of all kinds and the creativity that is deeply rooted in Tuolumne County. Throughout the week there will be exhibits, live demonstrations, music, activities, and more from local artists and businesses.

History

Tuolumne County’s Gold Country has a rich history, with thriving Gold Rush towns, such as Groveland and Jamestown, where gold was first discovered in the county. Visitors can learn how to pan for gold and try for themselves.

Remnants of Tuolumne’s logging days gone by can best be seen on the West Side Trail, which attracts hikers and mountain bikers.

There are old-fashioned steam locomotives at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, while visitors can pay tribute and honour veterans at the 9/11 and War on Terrorism Memorial at the Tuolumne Memorial Hall. 

Wine and cider tasting

The varietals of Tuolumne County and the surrounding region fit tastefully into the ranks of California wines. Guests can visit boutique tasting rooms to sample the award-winning Sierra foothill varietals. 

In addition to wineries, Tuolumne County is home to an award-winning, family-owned and operated hard cider distillery set amongst beautiful organic apple orchards and craft breweries that feature something for everyone. 

The Tuolumne County Craft Beverage Trail takes visitors from Sonora to Yosemite, sampling wine, beer, cider, and craft cocktail creations along the way. The Beverage Trail can be downloaded and many businesses offer special discounts.

Year-round destination

Tuolumne County attracts visitors year-round. The county has a very long wildflower season, thanks to its varying elevations. It’s possible to see wildflowers between March and September.

In April and May, the West Side Trail in Tuolumne is easily accessible and perfect for morning or late afternoon leisurely walk or bike ride along the flower-lined path with fantastic vistas. Learn about the indigenous plants and the railroad history of the area as you walk along this old rail trail, with the help of the informational signs along the way.

In fall Yosemite National Park is much less crowded, and autumnal colours take over. Temperatures drop and cooler adventures are found in the trails of the High Sierra. What’s more, visitors at this time of year benefit from off-peak accommodation prices.

Towards the end of the year, the county becomes a winter wonderland, with plenty of snow for skiers, snowboarders, and snow tubers. Numerous events, such as Christmas parades and wagon rides take place.

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