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Fall-ing for Tuolumne County

By VTC Author | 08/07/2023 | Exploring Tuolumne County, Family, Outdoor Adventure, Sights, Special Event Venues & Services, Stanislaus National Forest, Wine and Cider Tasting, Yosemite National Park

We all know that fall feeling, but it's more than just a feeling--it's all of the senses combined! The sights, tastes, smells, and sounds are unmistakable. 

Your ultimate fall California road trip awaits in Tuolumne County! Experience a different side of Yosemite National Park in the quieter and less crowded destinations. Watch as history comes to life with local tales of legends and as nature makes its noise of loud autumn colors in Gold Country. Temperatures are dropping and cooler adventures are found out on the trails of the High Sierra and at unique events throughout the County. 

Take a chance and take a trip to Tuolumne County, where your senses will get their fill of fall with off-peak accommodation prices.


Yosemite has quieted down, and now’s the time for national park adventures and new explorations as the season turns. Find yourself in awe as you take in the sights among the giant sequoias backdropped by dynamic colors of maples and dogwoods in the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. Take a deep breath in the fresh air.

Tip: Did you know that there are two days in fall when it's free to visit national parks? National Public Lands Day in September and Veterans Day in November.

Near Yosemite, explore the Stanislaus National Forest on a bike to hear the whistling wind and feel of the rugged trail beneath your wheels, or take to four wheels along the forest's dirt roads on a true 4x4ing experience with Miller's Off Road Adventures.

Wander in Groveland, and pop into Mountain Sage Coffee and Nursery for a taste of their yummy pumpkin spice latte and seasonal scones you won’t be able to resist, or stop in Around the Horn Brewing Company for a one-of-a-kind seasonal brew. Feel like shopping? Swing by Ranch Revived to find the perfect fall decor or warm, wool blanket to bring home. Stock up on outdoor gear at Echo Adventure Cooperative, and find some locally-made gifts and souvenirs at Mother Lode Made and The Grove Mercantile (which has seasonal flavors of homemade ice cream too).

For the golfer, Pine Mountain Lake Golf Course is the perfect locale for a fall-day round with views of Yosemite's peaks.

   Around the Horn Brewing Company Beer Flight

The air is cool and bright and colorful foliage takes over Columbia State Historic Park. Explore the nooks of the park and let your nose lead you into Seven Sisters Candle and Soap Co. where you’ll feel their seasonal scents warm your heart. Wander a little ways and visit Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen, where there’s no tricks, only treats. We recommend…everything! While you're in Columbia, check out the modern take on an old provisions store, Columbia Mercantile 1855 for an old-fashioned style grocery shopping experience. 

At Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in nearby Jamestown, become immersed by the smells, sounds, and sights of Wild West railroad culture. Explore the downtown shops like Tiny Birds Tiny Bees, and try some local beer at Bear Tent Brewing Company or wine at Arthur Michael Vineyards or Hurst Ranch. Take the scenic route just outside of town to Gianelli Vineyards and Tasting Room to sip wine while overlooking the rolling foothills with golden grape leaves in the foreground.

Sonora, Tuolumne County's largest city, bustles with things to do. Take the family on an indoor adventure and work together to solve a real-time immersive puzzle at Motherlode Escape Rooms, or wander the shops filled with autumn decor, clothing, and more. Treat yourself to some wellness with a variety of treatments offerings at Amala Detox and Tea Lounge and Stix & Stones. Indigeny Reserve, just east of town has the best hard apple cider, which is proudly created on site. The property also has beautiful picnic grounds, walking trails, and a disc golf course.

Take the whole family to the ultimate fall destination Cover's Apple Ranch  in the town of Tuolumne to try their fresh pressed apple cider and Mile High Apple Pie, pick out a pumpkin, and feed the barnyard animals. 

Nelsons Columbia Candy Kitchen Halloween Candy    Pumpkin Patch at Covers Apple Ranch

Photos by The Taste Edit and Jennifer Rapoza

High Sierra adventures await, where the brisk mountain breezes are the perfect excuse for a cozy sweater. Take a hike along the Pinecrest Lake Loop Trail and catch unreal views of the changing leaves set against rugged granite mountains. Looking for more adventure? How about a horseback ride into the wilderness to peep colorful scenes that you won't see from the car.  Aspen Meadow Pack Station and Kennedy Meadows Pack Station offer guided trail rides of multiple lengths and for all ages through mid-October. 

When it comes to seasonal baked goods found along Highway 108, the team at The Sugar Shack knows how to get those taste buds to tingle with fresh, home-made sweet treats and savory meals.

Visit the little mountain town of Twain Harte and enjoy a relaxing picnic under the pines at Eproson Park. Nearby, find some fun fall fashions at The Walk-In Closet or handy cooking gadgets to help with upcoming holiday cooking or gift giving at The Harte of the Kitchen.

Pinecrest Trail      Aspen Meadow Pack Station Trail Ride

Photos by Instagram: @strawberryridgecabin and Emily Taylor

Cooler days bring out lots of fall events throughout Tuolumne County. Some of the most noted are the Groveland 49er Festival and Chili/Salsa Cook-Off in September Fall Fest at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora and Harvest Festifall in Columbia State Historic Park in October. Keep an eye on the events calendar; fun events, such as haunted tours, train rides, and art shows, are added often.

And, don't miss out on the fall bounty of Tuolumne County and the region; many of the local farmers' markets run into October!

Boys and caramel apples in Columbia   

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