Current Travel Conditions - Yosemite Day Use Reservations Required Some Dates April through October! - Click for More Info.
Sonora Pass in fall

Experience the Epic High Sierra Road Trip

Open seasonally, generally late spring through fall, the Tuolumne County mountain passes are exclusive to selfie connoisseurs and travel enthusiasts looking for the most stunning scenery. Every turn is picture-perfect, so now is time to explore the breathtaking High Sierra. Experience the enchantment of unique and incredible mountain formations and beautiful rivers and streams along Sonora Pass, Highway 108. Behold the beauty of Yosemite National Park’s less explored Tuolumne Meadows and mountain peaks along Tioga Pass, Highway 120. Explore both scenic mountain passes with an epic road trip loop. Time is limited on the accessibility of beauty, so don’t miss out on the most extraordinary road trip in California’s High Sierra.

Road warriors can drive this loop in under six or seven hours, but give yourself at least a day or two to take it all in.

Highway 108, Sonora Pass- Reach new heights on Highway 108. Pass through the historic town of Sonora and climb to 3,650 feet in Twain Harte. Stop and take in a round of mini golf among beautiful pines at the family-owned and operated Twain Harte Miniature Golf, which is nearly 70 years old. While in town, stroll around and enjoy the unique shops and eateries.

Continue the trek up to 6,310 feet for Instagram-worthy views at Donnell Vista.  The all-encompassing scenery here covers the outlandish rock formations known as the Dardanelles and the crystal-clear Donnell Lake. Make some time to horse around at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.  Take a horseback ride along the South Fork of the Stanislaus River and into the stunning meadow or grab your rod and reel for some fly-fishing surrounded by towering mountains. Have a ranch-style dinner and cozy up in a rustic cabin at Kennedy Meadows Resort for a good night’s sleep. 

Wake up to sunny blue skies and hit the road again and continue the venture up to the top of the mountain peak at 9,623 feet. Like a painted canvas, the views are breathtaking with mountains, greenery, rivers, and lakes.  While there, don’t forget to breathe, the air is so fresh and crisp it feels like an oxygen bar. Wind on down the backside of the pass and get ready to loop it to Highway 120.

   Fly-Fishing at Kennedy Meadows  

Highway 120, Tioga Pass- Departing Tuolumne County for a brief bite to eat hang, a right onto Interstate 395 into Mono County and stop at Bridgeport for some much-needed food and refreshments. A local favorite is the Main Street Deli. Grab a meal to-go and find a picturesque outdoor picnic area to capture the awe-inspiring high desert. Roll down the windows and take in the views of Mono Lake as you head toward the Highway 120 junction in Lee Vining. 

Before toward Yosemite and Tioga Pass, take a pit stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli and enjoy their famous mango margaritas and fish tacos on the patio over looking Mono Lake. 

Once you depart, head west on Highway 120, Tioga Pass, and wind your way up the highest pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range at 9,943 feet. Stop at the highest point, Mount Dana then continue to iconic Yosemite National Park. 

After crossing into the park keep trekking along back into Tuolumne County and take the time to explore the secluded part of Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows.   Stretch those road trip legs with a leisurely walk through the expansive meadow. Continue west, and go from meadows to ancient giants with a stop at the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.  Many of these sequoias 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Depart the park and get ready for a good night sleep in the town of Groveland. Choose from mountain luxury, a historic hotel, or a quaint bed and breakfast or vacation rental. In the morning grab a hearty breakfast and head out around the Groveland area on a golfing, fishing excursion, bike ride, or whitewater excursion on the Tuolumne River or an 4x4 off-road experience

The last leg of Highway 120 will land you at Lake Don Pedro where you can hike or boat. If you'd like to keep exploring, head off to some time exploring Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown and Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia or enjoy some wine, beer, or hard cider tasting.

This is an adventure for the books and a road trip full of memories.

Tuolumne Meadows - Damian Riley   Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

Request a FREE Tuolumne County Travel Guide

Start planning your vacation with the help of travel inspiration and information delivered directly to your mailbox. 

Learn More
Visit Tuolumne County
193 S Washington St
Sonora, CA 95370

Website Developed by Drozian Webworks