Solo traveling is one of the most rewarding ways to travel. You are on nobody else’s timeline, can explore the hiking trails you want to, eat at the restaurants that speak to you, or shop for hours without someone waiting on you. If you ask anyone who has solo traveled before you will probably be stuck listening for an hour on how much they loved it. The hardest part is taking that first step out the front door. Starting with a day trip or weekend getaway is a great way to dip your toes into becoming the lone adventurer you have always dreamed of being. Tuolumne County is the perfect destination for getting started solo traveling or for those who already know how rejuvenating solo travel can be.
While hiking by yourself can be daunting, trails like Dragoon Gulch which offers views of historic downtown Sonora, will give you space to clear your thoughts then head for a quick descent to grab breakfast at The Bagel Bin or a local favorite Mandy’s Breakfast House in Columbia. If you’re an experienced backpacker and want to venture further afield and live like Cheryl Strayed, the Pacific Crest Trail goes along the highest elevations of the High Sierra and will help you get some peace and quiet from the daily grind. Stop at Kennedy Meadows Resort & Pack Station to chat with fellow hikers or grab a cold one at the Last Chance Saloon.
Solo travel does not mean you have to be alone the whole time. It just means you are on your own adventure. Sign up for a local tour to make friends from all over the world. Always wanted to go whitewater rafting? Now is your chance. If you are a beginner or ready for a class 5 run, Tuolumne County has rafting trips with varying difficulty to give you that adrenaline rush. The Tuolumne River was even rated #1 for whitewater rafting in California by the San Francisco Chronicle. Learn more about local outfitters.
Experiencing Yosemite by yourself is the kind of thing you will talk about for the rest of your life. The majesty shines through even more with the lack of distractions. Head up to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to see the uncrowded side of Yosemite. Walk around and revel in the beauty of nature and try not to get splashed by the waterfalls. Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias will make you feel small while surrounded by some of the largest and most ancient living things on earth.
Are you a window shopper who loves to stroll through town for hours? Jamestown, where gold was first discovered in the County, with its western charm and the historic ambiance makes for a perfect backdrop for shopping. Grab a glass of wine at Gianelli Vineyards in the rolling hills of Jamestown to enhance your experience. Sonora has even more boutique shops and thrift stores like Runway Xchange where you can find unique items to bring home as a memento.
Eating by yourself can feel awkward. Relish in the fact you do not have to listen to any boring stories or worry about having food in your teeth. It takes a little practice, but it is very relaxing to dine out by yourself. Treat yourself to a juicy burger at Diamond Back Grill or order all the appetizers at Rush Creek Lodge and have no one judge you. You can take your time and live in the moment. Pro tip: buy a book on the local history of Tuolumne County at the Mountain Home Gifts to learn more and have some dining entertainment.
The best part about solo travel is you get to do whatever you want. If you are excited to make new friends, want to just hang out at your hotel pool all day, or spend the whole time in the High Sierra, it is your schedule.