Walk among some of the world’s largest trees, fish while surrounded by picturesque beauty and camp in Tuolumne County’s High Sierra landscape.
There’s nowhere quite like Tuolumne County in California. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, this area is a natural paradise filled with opportunities to hike, bike, camp, horseback ride and simply enjoy the great outdoors. Tuolumne County is also a launching point for exploring Yosemite National Park, known for its towering giant sequoias and as the location for many of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ iconic photos.
Hiking to Giant Sequoias in Tuolumne Grove
Tuolumne’s giant sequoias are an indescribable sight. Reaching more than 76 meters tall at maturity, they stand taller than London’s Big Ben. Their trunks are massive, growing larger than 9 meters in diameter – that’s about as long as a bus! And with an average lifespan of more than 2,000 years, these stunning trees are some of the longest-living tree species in the world.
In Yosemite National Park, hike Tuolumne Grove for some quiet time among the trees. You can reach the trailhead from Big Oak Flat Road, making a stop at the Big Oak Flat Information Station on your way in. Once at the trailhead, you’ll begin a sloped descent through sugar pines and white firs before seeing a sign that hints at the excitement ahead: “Entering the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.” You’ll see your first sequoia about 0.3 kilometers past the sign. Continue down the trail to see about two dozen mature giant sequoias. Make sure to bring plenty of water and save some energy for the return trip – the trail is only 4 kilometers round-trip, but the hike back is uphill. The unforgettable experience is well worth it.
Hiking through the trunk of a fallen sequoia tree in Tuolumne Grove
Fly-fishing in Kennedy Meadows
Set your alarms early – you’ll want to see the vibrant sunrise that brings the Stanislaus River and surrounding mountains to life. Kennedy Meadows is a popular spot in Tuolumne County for adventure seekers of all kinds. Try your hand at fly fishing – the area south of Kennedy Meadows Resort is a good spot, and outfitters such as Sonora Fly Co. can provide you with all the equipment you’ll need. Anglers can catch rainbow, brook and brown trout. Don’t worry if you’ve never so much as held a fishing rod. You can arrange for a local expert to take you to their favorite fishing places and show you how to cast a line like a pro. You’ll be reeling in your first catch in no time. Top off your day back at the resort with a home-style meal at Kennedy Meadows’ restaurant and a cold drink at the resort’s saloon.
A fly-fishing lesson in Kennedy Meadows as the sun rises over the Stanislaus River
Camping in and around Yosemite National Park
Tuolumne County provides a range of lodging options in the great outdoors including luxury cabins, cozy yurts, RV and tent sites, and retro camping trailers. For a touch of pioneering spirit, try “glamping” in a fully outfitted Conestoga wagon at Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodge. The wagons sleep up to six people and include air conditioning and heating, furnished beds, a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. Each Conestoga wagon also has a picnic table and fire ring perfect for evenings spent under the stars.
No matter where you stay, the many sites of Yosemite National Park are within driving distance. Visit picturesque Tuolumne Meadows, see breathtaking vistas at Glacier Point and Half Dome, or venture to awe-inspiring Bridalveil Fall. You can also experience California’s gold rush history at Columbia State Historic Park. See the preserved gold-rush era buildings or pan for your own gold at Matelot Gulch Mining Company. Whether you find gold nuggets or a golden sunset in the Sierra, Tuolumne County is an unforgettable experience.
Roasting marshmallows over the campfire at Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodge
Fly into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and rent a car, then drive about 2.5 to 3 hours to Tuolumne County.