Groveland is a beautiful, historic community with deep connections both to California's Gold Rush and Yosemite National Park. While there are many things to see and do here, we gathered a list of the top 7 that must be experienced for any Groveland vacation to be complete.
Groveland was founded in 1848. Back then it 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 the community's lodging, dining and shopping is located on Main St. One of the biggest names 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.
As you explore Main Street, you'll find a fun selection of gift shops and thrift shops, fantastic food and historic lodging properties. Soak up the ambiance, they don't make towns like this anymore.
Echo Adventure is known for offering access to some of the biggest adventures in and around Yosemite National Park. They're based in Groveland, and as a result, are also experts on the history here. This is a fun way to explore the town, as you'll find out about all the secret bits of history, local favorites and must-see stops. The half mile walking tour starts at their office and ends up at the historic Groveland Hotel for a quick sample at their Bourbon Bar and Taproom, before moving on to their historic wine cellar. If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of ghostly "Lyle," a gold miner who's been rumored to haunt here since 1925.
Not only was Groveland a key town during the gold rush, it was also the base of operations when Hetch Hetchy was constructed to provide San Francisco with a stable water source. The Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum was founded to keep the many stories of the community alive, and share them to 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. Perhaps the most popular exhibit is the massive, 565 pound California Black Bear at the entrance, the largest bear of its kind ever documented.
Pine Mountain Lake is actually a gated community constructed to take advantage of the beauty of the Groveland area. However, many of its 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 on it. Bring your clubs and enjoy year-round golf 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 amenities available to the public include stables and camping. Vacation Rental homes are also available for visitors looking for a retreat.
Yosemite Cellars started off back in the early 2000's as a bit of an experiment, when Ron and Cheryl Harms decided to try growing wine grapes in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. While no one had grown here before, the experiment has paid off. They've crafted wonderful wines that defy expectation, which are enjoyed in a beautiful tasting room taking advantage of the stunning surroundings.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy well known varieties, like a Grenache Rosé and a Syrah. The Tannat is a much rarer variety that has won over many tasting room visitors, while their Firefall blends are eagerly anticipated each year.
Call ahead if you plan to visit.
Groveland is the Gateway to Yosemite and nestled in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, as such no trip here would be complete without exploring at least a few of the many hiking trails. There are many to choose from, with a great selection of difficulties and terrains. You can choose to explore yourself, but a great option is to take a guided hike to find the true hidden gems of the area.