Fun Things to Do!
Whether you’re looking for wild adventures or mild adventures, you’ll find it all in this beautiful area. Visit our Outdoor Adventures and Attractions page to find the perfect way to spend your days in Tuolumne County!
Tuolumne County offers up some of the most fun riding you can experience! Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned veteran of the cycling world, there’s a trail with your name on it. From meandering railroad grades to single track downhills, find your favorite in Tuolumne County! Stop by Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau’s Vacation Station for a wide array of easily accessible bike trails. Or visit tuolumnecountytrails.com for a great overview. Happy riding!
There is gold in them, thar hills! Although the Fandango Halls and gun fights are but an eerie presence found in the ghost towns the miners abandoned, the boom of the 1849 Gold Rush left nuggets and frontier adventures behind. In Tuolumne County, several mines are still open that allow visitors to pan for gold as the 49ers once did. The gold-panning adventure companies that teach prospecting courses for adventurous miners are Gold Prospecting Adventures & Store, California Gold Panning and Hidden Treasure Gold Mine & Matelot Gulch Supply Store.
The hills are alive with the sound of golf balls, as this ever-popular sport demands a yard for a putter. The rolling hills of the Mother Lode are as picturesque as they are challenging, with golf courses increasing as the sport grows. Whether you prefer the challenge of championship-eighteen holes or a delightful day at a small course in the pines, our golf courses cover a variety of landscapes and views from the lower foothills to the high country of Twain Harte or Pine Mountain Lake. Year round golf and pro shops can be found at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course, Mountain Springs Golf Club, Phoenix Lake Golf Course, Saddle Creek Golf Course and Twain Harte Golf Course.
Hiking is a year-round activity in these parts! From Dragoon Gulch Trail in downtown Sonora (a local favorite!) to Table Mountain where you get views of forever and springtime wildflowers, hikers of all ability levels will love the options. Check out tuolumnecountytrails.com for some great treks here in Tuolumne County!
Actors from across the state have come to perform on the stage of Sierra Repertory Theater, home of two live theaters in the Mother Lode (East Sonora and the Fallon House Theater in Columbia). Sierra Repertory Theater attracts Equity actors to the region, as patrons from across the state come to watch such highly acclaimed theater. Stage 3 Theater (in downtown Sonora) remains as dedicated to the historic trade with quality shows and actors. Stage 3, albeit smaller, specializes in cutting-edge plays from emerging playwrights that could be tomorrow’s Neil Simon or Arthur Miller.
A jackpot ready to happen, Phase ll at Black Oak Casino is the newest gold nugget in Tuolumne County’s pot of gold. The new gaming floor features over 1,000 slot machines, 24 table games, a 24-hour buffet/café, a fine dining and specialty restaurant, family-style bowling alley with dining, non-smoking bar and gaming room, a Players Club and the newest entertainment venue in the region- The Willow Creek Bar. This non-smoking auditorium seats 200-300 people, depending on the comedy or musical stage acts. Top-billing entertainment is pouring in from across the nation, from live Karaoke Gong Shows and Country stars, to themed- bands that rock you into yester-year. The new Hotel at Black Oak Casino Resort opened in May 2013. Chicken Ranch Casino located in Jamestown is known as “the friendly little casino where the BIG winners play!” They offer slots, bingo, a restaurant, entertainment and events.
As California joins ranks with some of the best wineries all over the world, Tuolumne County is no exception. Visitors can sip the pleasures of some of the best wines produced in the region from Ironstone Vineyards, Gianelli Vineyards, Mt. Brow Winery, Twisted Oak Winery, La Bella Rosa Vineyards and more! In addition to wineries, Tuolumne County is home to Indigeny Reserve, a hard cider distillery set amongst organic apple orchards. Guests can tour the facility, taste the hard cider and enjoy some brandy sampling as well.
Catching the “Big One” is a relaxing way to get away from the stress of everyday life, and a picturesque way to get to know Tuolumne County. All you need is a little bait, a boat, and a love of the great outdoors to fish for Crappies, Bluegills, Catfish, Kokanee, Salmon, Bass or Trout. But if you don’t have a boat to enjoy one of the 78 lakes, like Don Pedro Lake, New Melones Lake or Lake Tulloch, let one of the fishing guides take you and even clean your fish, such as Mother Lode Fly Shop, Springfield Trout Farm, or Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service.
Breath-taking vistas and a rich, enduring history tracing back to the famous Gold Rush days brought Hollywood to the foothills! Since 1919, over 300 movies, television shows and commercials have been filmed that gives everyone a chance to “be in the movies”.
If you feel like taking a hike, there are over 480-miles of developed trails to take in the fresh air, whether it’s the Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest or Yosemite National Park. In Tuolumne County, there are over 2000 permanent campsites to enjoy and professional guides to help you discover them- some even on horseback, like Kennedy Meadows. Yosemite Park is open year round. Four seasons of opportunities beckon to visitors to play in. Whether it’s horseback riding, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, stargazing or a love for winter sports- this park calls out to us all.
WHITEWATER RAFTING on the “T”
Spilling from the highlands of Yosemite National Park is California’s Tuolumne River. It’s rugged canyon scenery, excellent fishing and miles of world class rapids and swimming holes make up this Wild and Scenic River. Four outfitters offer one to three day rafting expeditions. Only two launches are permitted per day giving rafters a feeling of enjoyable solitude. Book your adventure today!
MUSEUMS and HISTORY
Tuolumne County has a rich Gold Rush heritage, with its past preserved in four historic towns, five museums, and two state historic parks. The new Tuolumne County History & Heritage Guide, funded by a grant from the Rural Redevelopment Program of the Stanislaus National Forest, with matching funds from the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, is beautifully designed and informative. The Tuolumne County Historical Society Landmarks Committee provided all the research for this new walking/driving guide.
MARK TWAIN’S CABIN
Mark Twain heard the story of the “jumping frog” after leaving San Francisco to hide out in the Sierras, unable to make good on promised bail for a friend. In 1922, a cabin was built to commemorate the famed author’s presence in Tuolumne County during the winter of 1865-66, but time and elements took their toll. So in 2005, the members of the Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club restored the cabin in celebrating 100-years of Rotary service.
Ski, snowboard and snowshoe enthusiasts as well as those people who just enjoy playing and sliding in the snow have long been drawn to Tuolumne County every winter. Located in the Stanislaus National Forest, Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area recently expanded with Boulder Creek Canyon for the downhill skier and snowboarder. Challenge yourself on 12 lifts with a capacity to serve 15,700 skiers per hour, on 60 Green, Blue and Black Diamond trails. Leland High Sierra Snow Play provides great tubing and sledding with a newly renovated day-use lodge that includes a snack bar, indoor restrooms, pool tables and warm cozy fireplace. Or rent some skates at the Long Barn Lodge to try your skill on the ice rink. Groveland and the Highway 120 Route into Yosemite Valley are open year round. With the many scenic hiking trails along this passage, it is a natural choice for the snowshoe enthusiast and is considered by many to be an up and coming Snow Shoe Mecca! Trail Guide books and snow shoes are available locally.