Tuolumne County Facts
Where is Tuolumne County?
Tuolumne (as in “follow me”) County, 133 miles east of San Francisco, is a pristine, scenic expanse reaching to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The main highways leading to this picturesque, two-to-three-hour drive from the Bay Area are Highways 108 and 120 from the west the latter considered to be the most scenic and direct route to Yosemite National Park and Highway 49 from the north.
What do you do in Tuolumne County?
Although relatively small with 2,235 square miles, Tuolumne County is a region of great contrasts. In the west, pasturelands are at a modest 300 feet in elevation, but to the east the mountain terrain reaches for the sky, up to 9,628 feet at the Sonora Pass on Highway 108 and 9,941 feet at Tioga Pass on Highway 120 in Yosemite National Park. The Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and other surrounding areas provide incredible natural vistas and settings for hiking, water skiing, horseback riding, rafting, camping, snowmobiling, boating, snow skiing, fishing and other outdoor activities. But that is not all — manmade attractions abound, as well. Seven restored historic hotels, six area golf courses, numerous gourmet restaurants, wineries, train rides, casino, five museums, two state historic sites, live theater and many charming bed-and-breakfasts are among the many other attributes that make the county a true year round vacation destination.
How do you get around in Tuolumne County?
The county seat of Sonora is within easy driving distance to four major airports:
Sacramento International (117 miles)
Oakland International (120 miles)
San Jose International (126 miles)
San Francisco International (133 miles)
In addition, there are two non-commercial airports in the county:
Columbia Airport (longest runway: 4,060 feet); 209/553-5685
Pine Mountain Lake Airport (longest runway: 3,500 feet); 209/962-8966; www.pinemountainlake.com/airport.html
What’s the weather like in Tuolumne County?
The sun shines on Tuolumne County an average of 325 days a year. The rising elevation keeps it above the fog and smog usually associated with the Central Valley and Bay Area to the west. The annual mean temperature is 60°F, and annual mean rainfall is 32.85 inches. The area enjoys the accessibility and full beauty evident of four distinct seasons. In the spring, the lower altitudes and foothills turn a rich green, with many of the native grasses becoming golden during the hot, dry summer. In the fall, flaming colors line picturesque roads and dapple the foothills and mountainsides as native flora begrudgingly gives way to winter. Above 5,000 feet, snow remains on the ground from late November through April, but any accumulation is rare below 3000 feet, where many of the county’s main towns are located.
What’s the best season to visit Tuolumne County?
Peak visitation takes place in May through September for those areas that do not get snow. Those that do (these are on Highway 108 east) include the months of December to mid-March in their high season. Off-season for all areas of the county occurs in March/April and again in October/November. Lodging discounts of 10% to 20% are available throughout the county during these months.