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7 Causes you Want to go to Tuolumne County California

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large flat lake with mountains and pine forest on the far side reflected in the lake under a clear blue sky - Pinecrest Lake in Tuolumne County California

Gold rush cities, epic nature, and quick access to Yosemite… there are a LOT of nice causes to go to Tuolumne County while you’re in California.

I’ve to be sincere: earlier than I went there, I’d by no means even heard of Tuolumne County! Though it’s house to over half of the well-known Yosemite Nationwide Park – and has loads of its personal unimaginable sights – this small however different nook of California isn’t essentially on the radar of many British vacationers.

And that’s an enormous disgrace, as a result of that is positively among the best elements of the USA I’ve ever visited. It was simply the spotlight of my latest California street journey (and that included driving the well-known Route 1 coastal freeway)!

So, I’m right here to share a couple of of the high causes so as to add a go to to Tuolumne County to your California journey plans!

DISCLAIMER: My journey was supported by Go to Tuolumne County – however all phrases, images and opinions are my very own and unbiased.

The place is Tuolumne County?

First off – let’s get that pronunciation proper! Tuolumne is alleged “to-luh-me”, to rhyme (kinda) with “comply with me”.

Tuolumne County is straight east of San Francisco within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The principle city, Sonora, is roughly a 2.5-hour drive from San Francisco.

The county is split into three foremost areas: Yosemite, the mountainous Excessive Sierra area, and the historic cities and Previous-West vibes of Gold Nation.

7 Causes to Go to Tuolumne County in California

1. It’s RIGHT on the way in which to Yosemite Nationwide Park

Freeway 120 by means of Tuolumne County is essentially the most direct route into the Nationwide Park for these coming from the San Francisco Bay Space, Sacramento and Northern California.

large granite peak with a tall waterfall plummeting down one side and a small green forest in front under clear blue sky in Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite Valley Loop is inside simple attain of Tuolumne County

Tuolumne can be house to a few of the least crowded elements of Yosemite, together with:

  • Hetch Hetchy Reservoir – a surprising blue lake surrounded by imposing granite peaks. A path leads across the reservoir to waterfalls – but it surely’s far much less busy than the extra well-known falls in Yosemite.
  • Tuolumne Grove of Big Sequoias – a strolling path leads as much as and round this grove of towering bushes.
  • Tuolumne Meadows – a big, subalpine meadow on the Tuolumne River surrounded by distant mountain peaks.

2. But it surely additionally has loads of its personal superb nature

wooden jetty on a large flat lake with mountains and pine forest on the far side reflected in the lake under a clear blue sky - Pinecrest Lake in Tuolumne County California

It’s not ALL about Yosemite Nationwide Park: Tuolumne County has some critically gorgeous nature to discover.

From the gently rolling countryside and farmland of the Gold Nation area to the peaks, waterfalls and glittering lakes of the Excessive Sierra – there are a LOT of epic landscapes, offering gorgeous backdrops for street journeys and different adventures.

Head as much as Pinecrest Lake for boating and mountaineering, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for waterfalls and views, or delve into the Stanislaus Nationwide Forest on an off-road jeep expertise with Miller’s Off-Highway Adventures. There’s a lot to find!

3. You’ll be able to discover Gold Rush Nation

two historic white clapboard buildings on a street with several trees in front, the closest building says Columbia Gazette on the sign, under a clear blue sky at Columbia State Historic Park

All that epic nature tends to steal the present, however this little nook of California is additionally packing a variety of historical past – particularly across the southwestern Gold Nation area.

Most of the historic cities on this space had been based (or popularised) throughout the well-known California Gold Rush within the 1800s. There’s nonetheless an actual “Previous West” vibe round right here: anticipate numerous lovely outdated buildings, historic saloons, and even a restored steam railroad.

closeup of the front of the Jamestown Hotel, a brick building with a verandah on the ground floor and a wooden balcony on the top floor. Large white letters saying HOTEL are on the roof.

Gold Nation Highlights:

  • Downtown Sonora – the historic excessive avenue nonetheless has a traditional, gold rush really feel – however right this moment it’s full of fab unbiased artwork galleries, boutiques, eating places and bars.
  • Columbia State Historic Park – a former gold-rush city that’s been preserved as a dwelling museum. You’ll be able to pan for gold, go to a working blacksmith store, and browse outlets – together with an old school candy store.
  • Jamestown – one other fantastically preserved Gold Rush city with quite a lot of hanging buildings. Close by Railtown is a must-visit (extra on that beneath).

4. The Excessive Sierras are mountaineering heaven!

view from the top of a large granite cliff of a large pine forest alongside a grey rocky peak under a clear blue sky
The view from the hike to Cleo’s Bathtub

Lower than an hour’s drive from Sonora, Tuolumne County’s Excessive Sierra area is a land of sweeping vistas and recent mountain air. In summer season, this space is mountaineering heaven, with epic waterfalls, glittering lakes and a few glorious trails.

Pinecrest Lake is without doubt one of the most accessible spots, because it’s solely a few 45-minute drive from Sonora. There are some nice hikes right here to select from. A fairly simple path leads across the lake, crossing the Stanislaus River and the dam en route.

emily standing in front of rushing river with grey rocsk and pine trees on either side and a bright blue lake beyond with a hill covered in pine forest on the far side. she is wearing black trousers and a grey t shirt and her hair is in bunches.

Alternatively, you may hire a kayak or motor boat on the customer centre to cross the lake. From the far facet, you’ll be able to choose up the mountaineering path and comply with the river to Cleo’s Bathtub, a pure pool on the high of a waterfall with gorgeous views of the Stanislaus Nationwide Forest. Simply bear in mind that the final half mile is fairly powerful, with some steep climbs and scrambles over boulders.

5. Movie followers will love Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Emily sanding on the steps of a yellow Diesel engine leaning on one of the rails. Emily is wearing a long red dress and a blue denim waistcoat and has her long hair loose. Taken at Railtown State Historic Park in Tuolumne County California.

I’ve already talked about the historic cities of Gold Rush Nation – however there’s one other historic spotlight that you just completely have to take a look at!

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is house to an enormous assortment of classic steam trains and outdated railway buildings. It’s also referred to as “The Film Railroad”, as a result of it’s been used to movie a whole lot of flicks and TV exhibits. Together with considered one of my all-time faves, Again to the Future 3!

The park can be house to the Sierra Railway. Hop aboard a prepare pulled by a historic diesel locomotive for a 6-mile spherical journey by means of Gold Nation.

6. The native meals scene is STRONG

close up of two sticks of bread with a flight of mini beers behind and a bar out of focus behind that

Tuolumne County is house to many farms, ranches and orchards – and all that recent native produce means a unbelievable meals scene. To not point out a terrific drinks scene, too.

Though different elements of California are higher recognized for wine-making, Tuolumne County has its fair proportion of wineries – in addition to craft breweries, cider distilleries, and extra. The vacationer board has a free Craft Beverage Path you’ll be able to obtain to find a number of the finest native producers.

Don’t miss these foodie highlights:

  • Indigeny Reserve, nr Sonora – A tranquil, 160-acre protect and apple orchard producing hand-crafted onerous ciders and different drinks. Go to for a tour of the distillery and a tasting.
  • Cowl’s Apple Ranch, nr Tuolumne – Don’t miss the well-known Mile Excessive Apple Pie at this quaint, country-style bakery and restaurant on a working farm.
  • Across the Horn Brewing Firm, Groveland – Construct your individual flight board at this enjoyable craft brewery and taproom.
  • Evergreen Lodge, Groveland – Lunch right here was among the best meals I had in California: numerous recent, seasonal dishes and regionally sourced delicacies. The tavern is over 100 years outdated and has a captivating Previous-West really feel.

7. You’ll be able to Keep away from the Yosemite crowds at Hetch Hetchy

large blue lake with grey rocky peaks on the far side and clear blue sky above.

There are 5 entrances to Yosemite Nationwide Park, and two are in Tuolumne County. Of those, the Hetch Hetchy Entrance is usually one of many quietest – and leads into one of many Park’s quieter areas.

This a part of the park solely sees about 1% of the park’s complete visitation. So whereas others are queuing their manner across the Yosemite Valley loop, you’ll be able to simply drive into Hetch Hetchy, park up, and head out for a hike.

In addition to being a lot much less crowded, the Hetch Hetchy Valley can be decrease than different elements of the park – so the mountaineering season lasts longer. And this entrance results in the huge Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (talked about earlier): a stunning spot for a hike.

Able to Go to Tuolumne County California?

Emily standing with her hands in her pockets in front of a wooden covered bridge with a US flag hanging from the top of it and trees on either side. Emily is wearing a long red dress and a blue denim waistcoat and has her long hair loose. The entrance to Indigeny Reserve in Tuolumne County California.

Attending to Tuolumne County couldn’t be simpler. It takes round 2.5 hours to drive right here from San Francisco by way of the I-580 and Freeway 120. I’d suggest making Sonora your base for exploring.

In case you’re visiting the county as a part of a street journey to Yosemite, you may spend a day or two in Sonora and Gold Nation, then base your self in Groveland for 1-2 nights to discover that space earlier than making tracks into the Nationwide Park.

Learn extra in my 4-Day Tuolumne County Highway Journey Itinerary (CLICK HERE).

Are you able to consider any extra causes to go to Tuolumne County? Share within the feedback beneath!

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