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Sonora, California

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Sonora, California Website

photo of bridge near Sonora, California
Photo: Malimer Dam Bridge
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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
Email
From the Bay Area From Sacramento From Lake Tahoe From Southern California Mileages

From the San Francisco Bay Area, you will travel across California's Great Basin and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Take Interstate 580 East to Interstate 205, which exits onto Interstate 5 North. Take the first exit off I-5, which is marked "Sonora, Highway 120".

This will take you to Highway 99 North. You will see an exit sign, "Sonora and Yosemite". Follow this into the city of Oakdale (The Cowboy Capital of the World), the home to the Hershey's Chocolate Factory (yes, that Hershey's). When you come to the third stoplight in the center of town, 120 joins Highway 108. You will turn left and follow this into The Great Unfenced. Highways 108 and 120 split at Yosemite Junction. If you turn right, you will travel on 120 into Groveland and Yosemite Park. If you continue on 108, you will arrive in Sonora (about 10 miles).

From Sacramento and Points North, there are several ways to get to the recreational and cultural center of California's Gold Country. You can take Interstate 80 East to Auburn and travel south on the 200-plus-mile trail of the gold prospectors, Highway 49, or take Highway 50 East to Placerville and then south on Highway 49.

The best way is to take Highway 99 South towards Stockton. You can take Highway 4 East out of Stockton. When you reach Copperopolis, turn right onto O'Byrnes Ferry Road. This will take you by Lake Tulloch, and you will then arrive at Highway 108/120. Turn right. A very short distance later, Highways 108 and 120 split at Yosemite Junction. If you turn right, you will travel on 120 into Groveland and Yosemite Park. If you continue on 108, you will arrive in Sonora (about 10 miles).

You can also continue on Highway 4, and when you arrive at Highway 49 in Altaville, turn right. It is about 18 miles to Sonora. For the best route, continue south on Highway 99 until you come to the Highway 120 exit. Follow this into the city of Oakdale (The Cowboy Capital of the World), the home to the Hershey's Chocolate Factory (yes, that Hershey's). When you come to the third stoplight in the center of town, 120 joins Highway 108. You will turn left and follow this into The Great Unfenced. Highways 108 and 120 split at Yosemite Junction. If you turn right, you will travel on 120 into Groveland and Yosemite Park. Continue on 108 for Jamestown and Sonora.

From east of the Sierra Nevada:
From Lake Tahoe, there are several ways to get to Tuolumne County. You can take Highway 50 to Placerville and go south on Highway 49, or take Highway 89 South and turn right on Highway 88 into Jackson and then go south on Highway 49. You can continue on Highway 89 South to Highway 4, turn right and continue on to Altaville, and then go south on Highway 49 to Sonora.

The famous Federal Highway 395 traverses the eastern side of California into Nevada near Tahoe and Reno, then up to Oregon and Washington. Highway 395 begins at Interstate 15 in Southern California. This is the route traveled by settlers as they searched for a pass through the Sierra Nevada. There are two passes into Tuolumne County. These are the two highest passes in the Sierra Nevada. The first is Highway 108 through Sonora Pass at 9,628 feet. From 395, you turn west onto 108 at Sonora Junction and it will take you directly into Sonora. The other pass is Highway 120 through Tioga pass at 9,941 feet and through Yosemite National Park through Tuolumne Meadows. Follow Highway 120 to Jacksonville Road in Moccasin and continue until you arrive in Jamestown, where you can then continue to Highway 108 or any other part of The Great Unfenced

From Southern California,take Interstate 5 out of Los Angeles. Continue north and just after going down the Grapevine, take State Route 99, unless going to the Bay Area first and then continue on I-5. You will go through many agricultural towns. This is the Heartland of California.

There are several ways to enter The Great Unfenced, uncrowded Tuolumne County when you approach Fresno.

The first exit is in Fresno. Watch for the Yosemite (Highway 41) exit. Highway 41 will take you to Mariposa, where Highway 49 begins. Also known as the Golden Chain Highway, this 200-plus-mile highway is the trail that the gold prospectors followed from gold mine to gold mine. It is 57 miles to Sonora. This is a very curvy road but full of scenic vistas. You can also stay on Highway 41 and, after visiting Yosemite Valley, take Highway 120 out of the Park. You will enter Tuolumne County 66 miles later.

The second exit off SR-99 is in Merced. Here you will see a sign which says "Sonora, Highway 59". Take this exit and it will save you at least a half-hour. This is a shortcut known to locals and many repeat visitors. You will actually be traveling on J-59 until you reach the small town of Snelling. Just on the other side of Snelling, you will turn left on Highway 59. Somewhere along this road, you will enter Tuolumne County. Follow this to the end at Highway 108/120 and turn right; it is only about 13 miles to Sonora.

The third exit off SR-99 is Modesto. Watch for the Highway 108 exit. This route is not recommended as it travels through the city and you are trying to get away from that kind of stuff. Highway 108 leads directly into uncrowded Tuolumne County.

The last exit off SR-99 is Highway 120, easier than Highway 108. You will see an exit sign, "Sonora and Yosemite". Follow this into the city of Oakdale (The Cowboy Capital of the World). When you come to the third stoplight in the center of town, 120 joins Highway 108. You will turn left and follow this into The Great Unfenced. Highways 108 and 120 split at Yosemite Junction. If you turn right, you will travel on 120 into Groveland and Yosemite Park. If you continue on 108, you will arrive in Sonora (about 10 miles).

You can also travel east of Los Angeles and up through Cajon Pass to reach Federal Highway 395. Follow the directions from the eastern Sierra Nevada above.

Highway 108 and 120 are open all year.
Mileages from Sonora to:
Angels Camp - 17 Merced - 51 Sonora Pass - 81
Bridgeport - 98 Mi-Wuk Village - 15 Soulsbyville - 6
Chinese Camp - 10 Moccasin - 19 South Lake Tahoe - 150
Columbia - 4 Modesto - 51 Standard - 5
Dodge Ridge - 33 Oakdale - 34 Strawberry - 30
Groveland - 27 Pinecrest - 31 Tioga Pass - 109
Jamestown - 3 Sacramento - 105 Tuolumne - 9
Kennedy Meadows - 66 San Francisco - 133 Twain Harte - 11
Long Barn - 18 San Jose - 120 Yosemite Park - 53
Los Angeles - 354 Sierra Village - 18 Yosemite Valley - 66

Highway 120 & 108 from the west to Sonora are open year around because Sonora is below the snow line. However, there is a need to check road conditions in the wintertime, especially if going to higher elevations in the Sierra. Both Highway 4 and 108 are closed over the Sierra after the first major snowfall, but are kept plowed to Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge Ski Areas. Sonora Pass and Ebbetts Pass usually reopen in mid-May.

Highway 120 is open year around to Yosemite National Park and into the Valley. Tioga Pass over the Sierra is closed for the winter and opens around the first of June.

It is always advisable to carry chains in the mountains during the winter. Snow rarely falls as low as Sonora and usually melts quickly when it does.

Caltrans Highway Condition Information: (800) 427-7623

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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