4 Day Southern Gold Country Highlights
Madera, Yosemite and Tuolumne
DAYS 1 - 3: Madera and Yosemite National Park
Drive to Fresno and head up Yosemite Highway 41, or fly into Fresno Yosemite International Airport, and within minutes you’ll be in Madera County ready to experience the Madera Wine Trail. Madera County is a unique grape growing region with an abundance of wine history. The tasting rooms are small enough to visit with the winemakers themselves.
Madera County is known as California’s Gateway to Yosemite and home to Bass Lake – named ‘One of the West’s Best Lakes in California’ by Sunset Magazine. Bass Lake, located in the Sierra National Forest, is a recreational lake located in an area with many adventurous opportunities.
The south gate to Yosemite is only 20 miles from Bass Lake. See Yosemite from the Mariposa Grove of the Giant Sequoias, to Wawona and Glacier Point Road. Then to the most photographed view in Yosemite, Tunnel View, as you head to Yosemite Valley.
DAY 4: Tuolumne
After a day or two in Yosemite Valley, take in views of the glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley which lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park in Tuolumne County. Then off to historic communities of Groveland, Sonora – the heart of California’s “Gold Country” and Columbia to explore the wonders of Columbia State Historic Park.
Southern Gold Country Golf Itinerary
Home to multiple golf courses, set in spectacular scenery, the Gold Country is a wonderful place to tee up. Pair your golfing trip with historic Gold Rush towns, great wine and food and you're on to a winning combination. Here we offer a 5-day golfing itinerary through Southern Gold Country. This itinerary takes you through Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties.
Head out of Stockton east on Highway 4, approximately 1 ˝ hours South of Sacramento.
OPTIONAL HALF DAY: Arrive in Calaveras County
Take in 9 holes of golf at Saddle Creek Resort, followed by dinner in Copperopolis and finally drive to Angels Camp to check into your lodging. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/duLVf
Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis
1001 Saddle Creek Drive, Copperopolis, CA
9 Holes at the Saddle Creek Golf Course
This semi-private championship golf course designed by Carter Morris is surrounded by shimmering lakes and wetlands, sturdy native oak trees and indigenous grasses and offers dramatic views of the Sierras and Yosemite.†† The feeling of tranquility is enhanced by the fact that no two holes run parallel to each other.† It is consistently ranked among California’s†top courses and currently ranked by Golfweek Magazine as #12 on the list of†Best Courses You Can Play in California. 6,800 yards.
Dinner at The Copper Grille, Saddle Creek Golf Resort
The dining room overlooks the 9th green, with spectacular views of the foothills that will relax you from the moment you arrive. Appointed in classical “prairie style” with an open floor plan and towering cathedral ceilings, this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired architecture is one of the few Indigenous American Styles developed by a creative group of Chicago Architects known collectively as the “prairie school.”
OR drive 7 minutes to Copperopolis Town Square to
Dinner at Griff’s BBQ and Grill
304 Town Square Road, Copperopolis, CA 95228
Griff’s BBQ and Grill serves up slow smoked BBQ, steaks, ribs, sandwiches and more. Using only fresh ingredients, their menu is prepared on-site every day. Enjoy wine and beer on tap, tender ribs, 14-hour pulled pork sandwich and the best BBQ sauce in town! Experience Copperopolis history played out through the rustic décor of hand-hewn beams, copper mining artifacts and reclaimed lumber from throughout Calaveras County.
Drive 20 minutes east on Highway 4 to Angels Camp.
Check in to lodging at Worldmark Villas at Greenhorn Creek Resort.
123 Selkirk Ranch Road, Angels Camp, CA 95222
Overlooking the tenth fairway and Clubhouse, guests will enjoy the selection of comfortable accommodations available at the Resort at Greenhorn Creek. In several buildings around an attractive hilltop site, these spacious villas are available in one and two bedroom units, with kitchens, fireplaces, balconies and possible sleeping capacities of up to 6 persons. The Resort at Greenhorn Creek is a full service facility with swimming pools, tennis courts, family entertainment area and a workout room; these villas are the perfect getaway!
Enjoy optional evening wine tasting at The Cellar Room at Greenhorn Creek Resort: thecellarroom.com– featuring a variety of delicious Calaveras wines in a beautifully decorated tasting room with outdoor patio seating.
DAY 2: Full day in Calaveras County
Breakfast at the resort, take in 18 holes at Greenhorn Creek. Lunch in historic downtown Murphys then tour downtown or visit Ironstone Vineyards. Finally, head back to Greenhorn for dinner at CAMPS Restaurant. Map:†https://goo.gl/maps/rfqqE
Breakfast at CAMPS Restaurant, Greenhorn Creek Resort
676 McCauley Ranch Rd.
Angels Camp, CA 95222
CAMPS is a handsome restaurant highlighting regional produce, wines, hand-cut meats and steaks, fresh fish and hand-tossed salads; proudly serving local, ranch-raised, corn-fed USDA Calaveras County beef burgers and farm-fresh local eggs! A regional destination with a vivacious bar, impressive number of local wines, eleven beers on tap and great cocktails amid dancing and live music weekends.
18 holes at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course
Greenhorn Creek is an award-winning Robert Trent Jones, Jr. redesigned championship golf course located in the Sierra Foothills of Angels Camp, the center of California’s Gold Rush history.† This 6,740-yard, par 72 layout wanders through clusters of 200 year-old oak trees and over a once busy tract of underground gold mines.† Changing elevations along with natural and man-made hazards, such as a stone farmer’s wall, ancient Chinese oven and a variety of water hazards will challenge every golfer’s skill level.
Drive 15 minutes east on Highway 4 to historic downtown Murphys.
Lunch at Murphys Historic Hotel
457 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247
Enjoy lunch in the heart of charming, historic downtown Murphys on the patio at Murphys Historic Hotel Restaurant beneath shady trees in a picturesque setting. Known for its award-winning prime rib, rack of lamb and fried chicken, the Murphys Hotel Restaurant is a favorite of locals.
Enjoy a self-guided tour of charming, historic downtown Murphys with its nearly two dozen wine tasting rooms, and boutique shops,
OR drive just 5 minutes out of town to
1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys, CA 95247
Take a guided tour (available daily 1:30 pm – meet in the Tasting Room) of the beautifully manicured grounds and facilities of Calaveras’ largest vineyard. Or take a self-guided tour at your own pace. See the outdoor amphitheater, demonstration kitchen, ballroom with the pipe organ, used for silent movie nights, the massive wine cave and the tasting room and deli. Be sure to also visit the heritage museum with its massive crystalline gold specimen and jewelry store.
Dinner at CAMPS Restaurant, Greenhorn Creek Resort
DAY 3: Calaveras County to Tuolumne County
Breakfast in charming historic downtown Angels Camp, then enjoy historic sightseeing in Tuolumne County’s Columbia, Jamestown and Sonora, including a visit to the Columbia State Park, a living gold rush town featuring the largest single collection of existing gold rush-era structures in the state; and Indigeny Reserve, an organic apple farm and distillery producing hard apple cider and vodka, followed by a relaxing evening in Jamestown starting with dinner, then over to Stogies Gold Country Lounge for a cocktail and cigar Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1pxpG
Breakfast at Market49
1267 S Main Street, Angels Camp, CA 95222
Enjoy a delicious frittata with fresh squeezed orange juice, or a coffee with a just-baked cranberry orange scone in this delightful period building in charming historic downtown Angels Camp. Browse their market for gourmet goods and check out their chocolate making facility.
Head east on Highway 4 and turn right on Parrotts Ferry Road, crossing New Melones Reservoir and enjoy some gorgeous scenery on your 30 minute drive to Columbia State Historic Park.
10:00 am Guided Ranger Tour at Columbia State Historic Park
11255 Jackson St, Columbia, CA 95310
Your guided tour will transport you back in time to the days of the Gold Rush in this beautifully preserved Gold Rush town. The one-hour walking tour, offered every Saturday & Sunday, is led by a knowledgeable park staff member or docent and includes viewing the actual gold discovery site, and learning about the buildings and early town merchants. This fascinating town is filled with artifacts, history and fun activities. Be sure to stop in at the Columbia Candy Kitchen for some hand made goodies.
Drive 25 minutes on Highway 49 South, then Lime Kiln Road to Mountain Springs Golf Club.
11:30 am Lunch at Banny’s at Mountain Springs Golf Course
17566 Lime Kiln Rd, Sonora, CA 95370
Choose from a delicious selection of lunch items in a restaurant with one of the best views in Sonora overlooking the Mountain Springs Golf Course and sierra foothills.
1:00 pm Play Mountain Springs Golf
17566 Lime Kiln Rd, Sonora, CA 95370
Mountain Springs Golf Club is an 18-hole daily fee course which has rapidly matured into one of the most popular facilities in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Play this scenic Robert Muir Graves designed championship course while enjoying the Gold Country and the stunning beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The course will challenge for players of all skill levels.
Drive 20 minutes to:
4:00 pm Indigeny Reserve Tasting
14679 Summers Lane, Sonora, A 95370
Indigeny Reserve is a lush 160 acre preserve and apple orchard set in the breathtaking hills of Sonora, making hand-crafted, organic hard cider and apple brandy in oak barrels. Enjoy tasting a number of hard ciders on tap and their new line of infused vodkas, all triple distilled, in the tasting bar of this beautifully designed facility.
Drive approximately 25 minutes to the Gold Rush era town of Jamestown.
5:30 pm Check into Lodging
National Hotel & Restaurant
18183 Main St, Jamestown, CA 95327
This beautiful 1859 hotel in charming, historic downtown Jamestown features a full service fine-dining restaurant and saloon. The romantic rooms have been restored to the elegance of a bygone era. Once you’re settled in, head downstairs for a drink and appetizers at the saloon. Belly up to the original 19th century redwood bar over which thousands of dollars in gold dust was spent in the early days. Try award-winning Gold Country wines from their award-winning wine list, a specialty cocktail or a craftsman beer.
Settle yourself in to the elegant dining room for a delicious meal in their acclaimed restaurant featuring fresh pastas, steaks and seafood seasoned with home-grown herbs and accompanied by breads and rolls made daily. Finish up your dinner with a carefully crafted desert paired with their recommended dessert drinks.
Stroll over to Stogies Cigar Lounge, just around the corner from your hotel.
End the evening at Stogies Gold Country Lounge
18202 Main Street, Jamestown, CA 95327
Pick out a cigar with recommendations if needed from the owners, choose a drink from the eclectic bar and settle into a comfy leather chair – or take it outside to the porch or patio. This has to be one of the most relaxing ways to spend a fun evening. Check out their outstanding reviews: yelp.com/biz/stogies-gold-country-lounge-jamestown
DAY 4: Jamestown, Tuolumne County, to Mariposa, Mariposa County
Start with breakfast at your hotel, then take Historic Highway 49 south to your next lodging stop in Mariposa. Take in 18 holes of golf at Sierra Meadows then return to your hotel for dinner and drinks followed by optional micro-brew tasting. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/GZS8g
Light Breakfast at the National Hotel & Restaurant
Depart hotel after breakfast at your leisure for Mariposa via Highway 49.
This scenic drive is about 90 minutes but we are suggesting you schedule ample time. (52 miles via Highway 49 S)
Arrive at River Rock Inn
4993 Seventh Street Mariposa CA
Right on the doorstep of Yosemite, this inn is beautifully decorated in eclectic style with hand-picked design items for a unique look in every room. After you settle into your room, order a yummy sandwich or salad from the Deli Garden Café and enjoy lunch on their pretty patio.
Drive approximately 35 minutes to:
Driving range followed by 18 holes at
Sierra Meadows championship course.
46515 Opah Drive, Ahwahnee, CA 93601
Sierra Meadows Country Club, located just south of Yosemite National Park in the beautiful†Sierra Nevada, brings together a mix of lynx and target style golf which is enjoyable for the average golfer as well as challenging for the more advanced players. The course is 6,477 yards and 18 holes, lined with mature oak,†pines and cedar, and it is common to see wildlife such as deer, turkey, geese and more.† The signature Hole #5 is a par 3 that requires a tee shot across water to a beautifully manicured green. Sierra Meadows is perfectly situated above the fog and below the snow and offers exceptional guest services and amenities
Return to the River Rock Inn for a patio dinner.
Walk less than a block to:
Prospectors Brewing Co.
4996 7th Street, Mariposa, CA 95338
This micro brewery has taken a modern approach to period style by creating a contemporary taproom that draws from the rustic nature of historic Mariposa during the Gold Rush. The hand-crafted cement topped bar is framed with antique barn wood. The craft beers on tap are of the highest quality with no compromises.
DAY 5: Mariposa County†to return home or Optional Yosemite National Park
Enjoy a Continental Breakfast at your leisure.
Optional zip lining experience with
Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch
4808 Highway 140, Mariposa, CA 95338
OR self-guided tour of Old Town Mariposa
Feel the old West as you stroll up the historic main street on wooden sidewalks or take a tour of the 1854 court house, the oldest court house west of the Rockies still in continuous operation. Experience the old days in the exhibits at the Mariposa Museum and History Center, named one of the best small museums in American by the Smithsonian Institute.
Lunch before departure to return home or visit to Yosemite National Park, about an hour from Mariposa. For full details on things to do in Yosemite, visit yosemiteexperience.com
Red Wine, Whitewater and Blue Jeans
Historically known for the infamous cry of “Eureka!” and the California Gold Rush, the Gold Country region is home to hundreds of award winning wineries and an abundant collection of outdoor adventures… some iconic and others are unknown but together they make for An Amazing American Road Trip! We've put together four itineraries to give you some of the red wine, whitewater and blue jeans highlights of Gold Country. Click on the itinerary links below to go to a specific itinerary or scroll down to see them all.3 Day Itinerary: Calaveras, Tuolumne & optional Mariposa Yosemite3 Day Itinerary: Amador, El Dorado & Folsom5 Day Itinerary: Placer, Nevada, Sierra & Sacramento7 Day Itinerary: Yosemite Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras & Sacramento
3 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY: Calaveras, Tuolumne & Optional Mariposa Yosemite
DAY 1: Calaveras
Get a fabulous overview of Calaveras wine country with exclusive private wine cave and vineyard tours with Court Wood Wine Tasting Tours. End in historic downtown Murphys to enjoy 23 wine tasting rooms in this quaint Gold Rush town with fun shopping. Be sure to stop in at Ironstone Vineyards and visit their Heritage Museum to see the largest crystalline gold leaf specimen ever found. Dinner at V Restaurant & Bistro in Murphys rounds out the evening beautifully. Overnight upcountry at the Arnold Black Bear Inn for mountain vistas and superb hospitality.
DAY 2: Calaveras & Tuolumne
See where the spectacular Giant Sequoias were first discovered at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Arnold. Hike the North Grove trail, winding up at the beautiful new Visitors Center and Museum. On your way down the hill, stop off at the Snowshoe Brewery for some delicious micro-brews and hearty pasta. Head over to Moaning Cavern Adventure Park and race your friends on their thrilling 1500-ft zip lines and rappel 165-feet into the cavern. Next stop: Columbia State Historic Park, a perfectly preserved, working Gold Rush Town. Stay at the Best Western Sonora Oaks Hotel.
DAY 3: Tuolumne
Get ready for your class 4 whitewater rafting experience with Sierra Mac. Just bring sunscreen and water bottle for the time of your life! Next, it's time for some lip-smacking hard cider at Indigeny Reserve where you can get a tour and tasting. Overnight at the beautiful historic Hotel Charlotte then enjoy an optional Day 4 trip to Yosemite National Park to take in the unique beauty of the Yosemite Valley carved by retreating glaciers more than ten thousand years ago. Instantly recognizable and famous world over, Yosemite’s star landmarks are as magical to meet as any Hollywood A-lister. Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls as well as the majestic giant sequoia trees in the Mariposa Grove near the town of Wawona.
3 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY: Amador, El Dorado & Folsom
DAY 1: Amador
Fly into either San Francisco or Sacramento Airports and you can be sipping robust, old-vine Zinfandel in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley by lunchtime. Visit C.G. Di Arie , Deaver, Nine Gables and Shenandoah Vineyards, four family-owned wineries to savor their quintessential Amador Zins. Splurge on a great meal at Taste, in nearby in Plymouth.
DAY 2: El Dorado
Trace the path of the 49ers to Coloma, just one hour north on the scenic Highway 49. It was here that the California Gold Rush was born. Today the South Fork of the American is California’s most popular white water river. After a spectacular whitewater adventure, wind down at one of the more than 70 wineries in El Dorado.
DAY 3: Folsom
Just 30 minutes west is one of Folsom's most popular attractions, Folsom State Prison where Johnny Cash once performed and was inspired to write "Folsom Prison Blues.” Over 30 miles of scenic trails that wind through Folsom make cycling a great way explore the city. Tour the Gekkeikan Sake brewery. and Kikkoman Foods soy sauce factory, or go for a sunset sail on Lake Natoma.
5 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY: Placer, Nevada, Sierra & Sacramento
DAY 1: Placer
Kick off your Gold Country adventure on the wild & scenic rivers of Placer County. Thrill seekers will love the challenging class III and IV rapids while others “chill “ by the pristine streams and lakes. These captivating waterways are popular spots for gold panning, house boating, fishing and other water sports. Spend the afternoon exploring the Placer County Wine Trail made up of 20 family owned, award winning wineries with passionate winemakers.
DAY 2: Nevada County
Check into the Swan-Levine House, a quaint B&B in Grass Valley and a short walk from Historic Downtown Grass Valley’s unique shops, restaurants, art galleries and tasting rooms. Visit the beautiful South Fork of the Yuba River stretching from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport Covered Bridge. Finish your adventure sipping your way through Nevada County’s emerging wine country known as the Sierra Vintners.
DAYS 3 & 4: Sierra
The most rugged of the Gold Country counties, it remains today much as it was over 100 years ago unspoiled and undeveloped, a perfect spot to unwind and unplug. Immerse yourself in the rich history and outdoor adventure. Spend your days fishing, hiking, birding or biking. Take on the raging whitewater or a take in the wildlife and wildflowers. Spend your evenings stargazing far away from city lights.
DAY 5: Sacramento
Now rested and rejuvenated drive south on highway 49 to California’s capital city. There is just enough time to discover why Sacramento is known as America’s farm to fork capital. The region provides the restaurants with the freshest ingredients every day. If you only have one meal in Sacramento make it Mulvaney’s. Menus are created to highlight the reason for the season.
7 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY: Yosemite Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras & Sacramento
DAYS 1 & 2: Yosemite Mariposa
Fly into San Francisco and in less than 4 hours you will see why visitors come from around the world to witness the unique beauty of the Yosemite Valley carved by retreating glaciers more than ten thousand years ago. Instantly recognizable and famous world over, Yosemite’s star landmarks are as magical to meet as any Hollywood A-lister, Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and other must see valley views. Enjoy any variety of accommodation options in the Yosemite Valley or other locations both in the Park as well as outside including traditional hotels/motels, rustic resorts, bed and breakfast inns or vacation rentals/self-catering facilities. Experience the authentic California Gold Rush ambience in the town of Mariposa.
DAY 3: Tuolumne
Just outside Yosemite Park, The Groveland Hotel is one of the many fine choices for area lodging. Get on the water early for a half-day gentle adventure down the Tuolumne River and you’ll have time to sample a little wine at any of the 30 wineries in the region or for something different check out the organic hard cider at Indigeny Reserve also in Sonora.
DAY 4: Calaveras
Start your morning with a Zip, literally. Moaning Cavern Park. Enjoy a ride on the 1500 foot long twin zip Lines that stretch across the rolling foothills. After your zip, take the guided tour of the cavern or head into the town of Murphys. Take your pick of several oustanding restaurants in Murphys to satisfy your appetite. Tickle your taste buds with your choice from over 20 wine tasting rooms, all within walking distance.
DAY 5: Calaveras
Few natural wonders rival the majestic beauty of the two magnificent groves of giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Campgrounds, picnic areas and miles of hiking, biking, snowshoe and cross country trails make Calaveras Big Trees one of the county’s most popular year-round destinations. Camp with the giants at Big Trees State Park, sleep riverside at the Sourgrass Recreation Area Campground.
DAY 6 & 7: Sacramento
Today you’ll arrive in California’s Capital City, Sacramento. Check out the Urban Wine Experience, Visit downtown wineries and wine bars Enjoy a winemaker dinner or Mystery Dinner Theater aboard the Delta King Hotel. On the final day of your adventure visit the Old Sacramento historic waterfront district where Gold Rush prospectors, heroes and villains once roamed these wooden boardwalks. Also see the world famous California State Railroad Museum at the birthplace of theTranscontinental Railroad.