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Sonora, California

Getaway to the Gold Country

Sonora, California Website

photo of church near Sonora, California
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Sonora, California Website

Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 4020
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 533-4420
Toll Free:
(800) 446-1333
Fax: (209) 533-0956

There's more than gold in them there hills!

Playland with a Heart of Gold is how some refer to Tuolumne County, but whether you pan for gold or wander through charming shops and stores in historic towns like Sonora, you are sure to find plenty of treasures.

Sonora, established in 1848, has been the county seat of Tuolumne County since 1950. Still the main hub of county activity, Sonora features many well-tended Victorian homes, historic buildings, and a beautiful downtown area designated as a California Main Street City. Many of the buildings date back to the 1800's, including the picturesque courthouse on Washington Street and the County Museum on West Bradford, which used to be the county jail. Sonora has a wide variety of accommodations and is a shopper's paradise with art galleries, antique shops, jewelry stores, boutiques, and restaurants.

Located in Tuolumne County, Sonora shares this part of the country with some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, such as Yosemite National Park where you can marvel at the spectacular vistas as you descend into Yosemite Valley, see Half Dome, Tioga Pass, Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, and Tuolumne Grove of Sequoias.

The countryside offers splendid beauty in every season. In the Springtime, the foothills transform into a natural garden abundant with wildflowers that carpet rolling meadows studded with oak trees. The backroads in the Sonora and Jamestown areas bloom with Buttercups, Fiddleneck, Shooting Stars, Five Spot, Baby Blue Eyes, Phacelia, and Golden Poppies. The color of nature is gentle, the welcoming sun is bright, and the air has a lingering winter crispness.

The Summertime comes alive with mountain festivals, theaters, and fairs. Visitors invade welcoming towns that invite them to enjoy a variety of activities from water sports to antique hunting, golf, fishing, or panning for gold just like the 49ers of old. The days are warm, and the water feels good.

Photo: Tribal Dancers Me-Wuk Acorn Festival

Deep river canyons and picturesque mountains with pine and cottonwood accompany your travels as you go further up the elevations to wintertime ski country. The Sonora Pass on Highway 108 offers the closest route to ski areas like Dodge Ridge. Sonora may be at its most magical as the whole town decorates for the holidays with a Victorian splendor right out of the pages of a Dickens novel.

Legendary naturalist John Muir described the Sierra foothills as "a vast golden flower-bed." Indeed, its spring can only be rivaled by the rich abundance of color in the turning leaves of autumn. The hamlets of Sonora, Jamestown, and other Mother Lode communities exude a tumble-down veil of gold, orange, and burnt umber that emits a romantic need to gather wood for a cozy fire, bake pies, and prepare for winter.

It was over 150 years ago that the discovery of gold forever changed the Sierra Nevada foothills. Thousands of people from all over the world descended on the Mother Lode. Many of these pioneer descendants still live here, and the remnants of this history, aside from the historic buildings, lies in the ambience of Sonora and Jamestown, home to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, an authentic steam railroad. Local residents new and old share an abiding respect and love of the area's history and preservation, which they willing share with you.

To fully enjoy Sonora and the surrounding area, you need to spend a few days. A variety of lodging is available to you. There are some wonderful Bed & Breakfasts, Country Inns, and small hotels in the area. We recommend the special attention and historic perspective accompanied by modern conveniences that you will find at the inns and Bed & Breakfasts.

There are lots of choices for dining in the gold country from small country kitchens where you can get a good mountain breakfast, cafes with wholesome specialities, and delis. Don't miss Josephine's Restaurant in Sonora, where you can savor the fine flavors of Italian and California cuisine to rival some of the finest restaurants you would find in a city. Their wine list is impressive and their chefs top-rated.

Activities all year long are lined up for your pleasure as you discover the Mother Lode. Fall brings the Me Wuk Indian Acorn Festival, Sonora Blues Festival, Poison Oak Show (where you can discover the beauty of Poison Oak without breaking out), Wild West Days, and Moonlight Melodrama & Train Ride, Country Dances, and Banjo Jams. In the Winter, you can attend many holiday events, including a Victorian Christmas Feast, sing-a-longs, and Widder's Ball. Sonora is a wonderful place to do your Christmas shopping as you can wonder through magical shops, boutiques, and art galleries.

Just three hours from San Francisco, Sonora and the Mother Lode can be reached on Scenic Highway 120, the most direct route from all Northern California locations. Ascend Priest Grade from Lake Don Pedro and in a short eight miles you are elevated 2,000 feet into a world of adventure and beauty. Then next time you need a getaway...think gold....get away to Sonora in Tuolumne County.

Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 4020
Sonora, California 95370
(209) 533-4420 Toll Free: (800) 446-1333 Fax: (209) 533-0956
Email: tcvb@mlode.com Sonora, California Website

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