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The Top 7 Things To Do in Groveland

By VTC Author | 01/01/2022 | Exploring Tuolumne County, Guided Tours, Outdoor Adventure, Whitewater Rafting, Yosemite National Park

Groveland and the surrounding area, including Yosemite National Park, is a beautiful, historic region that played key roles in the California Gold Rush and in the history of Yosemite and even the city of San Francisco, 145 miles away. Here are seven things that must be seen for any getaway to Groveland to count.

Groveland was founded in 1848 and was known as "Big Oak Flat" before getting its current name in 1863. This is a time when much of a community was focused around its main street. That's still the case here today, as much of the community's lodging, dining, and shopping is located along the Main Street (Highway 120). 

One of the most notable businesses downtown is the Iron Door Saloon. Founded in 1852, this is the longest continually operating saloon in all of California. Step up to the bar, which is the original from when it first opened, and order one of their signature drinks. You'll quickly be transported back through time to the Old West. 

Just west of Groveland on Highway 120, Around the Horn Brewing Company is a fun-spirited micro brewery where there's something for everyone, including those who don't particularly care for beer. Their beers are always changing, so there's no getting bored there.

Photo: India Sutton

Not only was Groveland a key town during the Gold Rush, it was also the base of operations when the O'Shaughnessy Dam was being constructed to form Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which would provide San Francisco with a stable water source. The Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum, located at Mary Laveroni Park was founded to keep the many stories of the community (natural and cultural) alive, and share them with the many visitors who come through the area. 

A myriad of exhibits guide visitors on a journey through time as they learn about the region's Indigenous peoples, pioneers who later settled the area, the Gold Rush, and the construction of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Perhaps the most popular exhibit is the massive, 565 pound California Black Bear at the entrance, the largest bear of its kind ever documented. 

Much of the Pine Mountain Lake area is a gated community with many vacation homes available to rent, some include access to the private pristine lake, and residential homes constructed to take advantage of the beauty of the Groveland area. However, many of the community's amenities, including the 18-hole championship golf course, are open to the public. 

The gorgeous course was rated "4 1/2 stars Best Places to Play" by Golf Digest, but you shouldn't just take the experts' word for it. Bring your clubs and enjoy year-round golfing in a stunning setting. The 6,363 yard course winds through pine and oak trees, while also offering views of Yosemite mountain peaks. 

Once done, head over to The Grill At Pine Mountain Lake to recharge and refuel. 

Other public amenities include a campground and the Pine Mountain Lake Equestrian Center, which offers trail rides and riding lessons.

Groveland is the Gateway to Yosemite and is surrounded by the Stanislaus National Forest, as such no trip here would be complete without exploring at least a few of the many hiking trails. Hiking is the #1 visitor activity in Tuolumne County after all. There are many trails to choose with a great selection of difficulties and terrains, such as the Carlon Falls Trail and Wapama Falls Trail at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. 

You can choose to explore yourself, but a great option is to utilize a local tour operator to find the true hidden gems of the area. Hint: When utilizing a local tour operator for a Yosemite trip, the park entrance fee is included and you will not need any temporarily-required day-use permits to enter the park.

Whitewater rafting with up to Class 5 runs on the Tuolumne River is exhilarating and creates life-long memories. The Wild and Scenic Tuolumne, named #1 rafting river by the San Francisco Chronicle, is California’s premier wilderness whitewater. There are several local outfitters to choose from to take you on your exciting rafting adventure, each offering their own specialties.

Photo: Sierra Mac River Trips
Photo: ARTA River Trips
Photo: Tracy Barbutes

Tuolumne County offers up some of the most fun on two wheels around. Road and mountain biking is evolving fast in Tuolumne County, and whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned veteran of the cycling world, there’s a trail with your name on it. The Ferretti Road Non-Motorized Trail Network just outside of Groveland includes 1.3 miles of bike-only trail that can ridden in any direction and features long drops, log  ride, jumps, berms, and rollers. These features have go-arounds so they can be avoided.

The new indoor/outdoor spa at Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite is filled with extraordinary elements inspired by the natural beauty and power of Yosemite. Imagination has taken form with Warm Waterfall Coves, Aromatherapy Steam Room, and Himalayan Salt Sauna leading to a Cool Mist Room and an innovative Sensory Room that will genuinely transform you.

Photo: Rush Creek Lodge/Kim Carroll
Photo: Rush Creek Lodge/Kim Carroll
Photo: Rush Creek Lodge/Kim Carroll

There are many options of places to stay in the Groveland area. Campers and RVers will find simple campgrounds to full-service RV parks. For those looking for indoor accommodations you will find quaint B&B's, well-appointed vacation rentals, historic inns, and mountain resorts. Find your perfect basecamp here.


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