4-Day Warm Weather Sample Itinerary
Can be shortened or extended according to your interest and time. Browse the site or our free Tuolumne County Visitors Guide for ideas!
Eve of Day One
- Arrive in the historic gold town of Sonora and check into your Hotel.
- Stroll downtown antique stores, shops and restaurants. Be sure to visit Legend’s sandwich shop & ice cream parlor for some great food and view awesome mining tunnels dug underneath the city of Sonora by gold-seekers in the 1850’s. Top it off with a stop at The Candy Vault for a real treat.
- If you arrive on a Friday, you can walk downtown and catch a 6:00 pm live “Music in the Park” concert performance in Sonora’s Courthouse Park (free).
- Travel approximately 5 minutes to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown to see the “Movie Railroad” where over 300 movies and commercials have been filmed. Back to the Future III, High Noon, Pale Rider, etc. are among some of the Westerns filmed there. Private train rides can be arranged for your group as well. Contact Railtown 1897 State Historic Park for details.
- After touring the park, stroll historic Jamestown and enjoy lunch at one of its fine historic restaurants.
- Check out their store Gold Prospecting Adventures on Main Street in Jamestown.
- Go across the highway from Jamestown to the Jimtown 1849 Gold Mining Camp for a tour and history lesson. See the Long Tom, Rocker Boxes, Grizzly Adams mercantile and many other historical artifacts and replicas. The camp has picnic tables and BBQs where you can have your lunch that you brought or bought in town.
- Return to your hotel for a later afternoon function or a bit of relaxation before dinner.
- For some relaxed fine dining check out some of Sonora’s top downtown restaurants such as Talulah’s or Christopher’s Ristorante Italiano. Both are available for private functions as well.
- Take in a play (depending on the day of the week at either the Stage 3 Theater in downtown or the nearby Sierra Repertory Theater offerings in East Sonora or Columbia.
- Head up Highway 108 to the Summit Ranger Station at the Pinecrest Lake turnoff where you can get a map that shows five interesting trails and vistas that are well marked (free). Try at least one or all five (free)::
– Shadow of the Mi-Wok Trail, easy ¼ mile walk,
– Trail of the Gargoyles, scenic 1 ½ mile walk,
– Trail of the Ancient Dwarfs, pleasant ½ mile walk to unique geological formations
– Donnell Vista, ¼ mile paved trail with magnificent scenic views
– Columns of the Giants, easy ¼ mile walk.
- After your morning hike(s), get picnic supplies at the store at Pinecrest Lake where you can have a picnic on the beach. If you have energy left, spend a few leisurely hours exploring the lake by taking a mild hike around it, rent a paddle boat, or just relax on the beach, go swimming, read a book or take a snooze on a blanket in the pines.
- You can go horseback riding at nearby Aspen Meadows Pack Station where you can ride for one hour for $20 per person.
- On the way back to your hotel in Sonora, stop for a burger or salad at the Strawberry Inn. Then take another relaxing evening swim before falling into deep sleep.
- Drive past Columbia State Historic Park across the Parrotts Ferry Bridge and stop on the west side of the road at the Natural Bridges sign and hike down to the creek (two mile round trip). There are a couple of interesting caverns along the way. If you are a little bit warm, there’s a great place to splash in the water and swim through the caves, especially since you have to hike back up!
- Return towards Columbia State Historic Park (3 miles north of Sonora and free admission), a Gold Rush town that has survived the passage of time better than the other early settlements (free admission). Walk along the wooden sidewalks and learn some history while enjoying hand dipped chocolates from the Columbia Candy Kitchen and maybe a Sarsaparilla at the Jack Douglass “Saloon”. Some of these venues are available for private functions as well.
- Return to your hotel for a free evening.
- After breakfast, take a drive into Yosemite National Park (entrance fee applies) where you can view some of the most famous geological icons (Half Dome/El Capitan) and waterfalls in the world. Take a hike through the Tuolumne Grove of giant Sequoias.
- On your return trip, stop in Groveland at the colorful Iron Door Saloon (oldest continuously running saloon in California) for an ice cream or refreshment in their sandwich shop.
- Time allowing on your way back, stop at the South Fork of the Tuolumne River at the Rainbow Pool (free) day use area for a swim and photo ops.
After returning from magical mystical Yosemite, collapse in bed knowing you have spent four wonderful days enjoying and exploring the best wonders of the Sierra foothills.
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