Sonora, California

Sonora, California is a top spot for outdoor adventures, boasting some of the best trails and outdoor activities. The must-visit Dragoon Gulch Trail is a scenic 2.5-mile loop with moderate difficulty. It offers views of oak woodlands, unique rock formations, and a seasonal creek. For a more challenging hike, the Table Mountain Trail offers a steep climb with rewarding views of the Sierra Nevada and a stunning waterfall. The nearby New Melones Lake is perfect for boating, fishing, and camping. Yosemite National Park, a short drive from Sonora, offers world-renowned hiking trails, towering cliffs, and the iconic Half Dome. These outdoor attractions make Sonora a top destination for hiking, camping, and fishing.

Top Spots in and near Sonora

  • Sonora, California

    Bouldering at Columbia College

    Get your hands on some limestone bouldering at this spot. There's actually two locations for bouldering in this area, Columbia College and Columbia State Park (about less than a 10 min. drive from Columbia College), but I made this specific adventure for climbing on the college. GPS Coordinates f...
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  • Angels Camp, California

    Upper Natural Bridge Trail

    1.9 mi / 410 ft gain
    Upper Natural Bridge Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Columbia, California.
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  • Groveland, California

    Drive the Yosemite Valley Loop

    4.3
    Upon entering Yosemite Valley National Park I made it a point to see Half Dome, El Capitan, and Washington Column and several other famous Yosemite formations. What I didn't realize was as soon as I entered The Village was that all could be seen within a 15 minute loop around the valley floor. Th...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Hike the South Grove Trail in Big Trees SP

    3.7
    5 mi / 560 ft gain
    The South Grove Trail of Calaveras Big Trees State Park sees far less traffic than the North Grove due to its increased mileage and distance from the park entrance. The trail starts at the South Grove Trail head which is located nine miles east of the entrance on the main park road. The trailhead...
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  • Arnold, California

    Hike the North Grove Trail in Calaveras Big Trees SP

    5.0
    1.7 mi / 40 ft gain
    When thinking of the iconic Sequoias of the Sierra Nevada, one usually thinks of Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. However, there is a often forgotten area of Giant Sierra Redwoods that gets far less traffic than the more popular groves. The North Grove Trail takes you through a grove of over 1...
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  • Groveland, California

    Rainbow Pool

    4.5
    Finding Rainbow Pool is a little tricky, since it is off the side of a highway, but when you find it there is parking and bathrooms. There is a easy walkway to get down to the pool itself, and trails to climb to the top to slide or jump off the rocks. Many people tend to fish up top underneath th...
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  • Pinecrest, California

    Hike to Cleo's Bath

    4.5
    6.5 mi / 1263 ft gain
    This 6+ mile hike is located at Pinecrest Lake in the Stanislaus National Forest located in Tuolumne County and features a lake, river, forest, waterfall, and swimming hole. It is accessible year-round,  in winter there will be snow, and the hike is dog friendly except between May 15th-September ...
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  • Pinecrest, California

    Backpack to Chain Lakes

    4.4 mi / 864 ft gain
    This trip begins at ~7500 feet at the Box Springs Trailhead This trail is at the end of Forest Route 3N20Y. The trail, which is not regularly maintained and may at times be hard to follow, initially descends slightly to 7300', then stays mostly flat before rising just before the lakes. You will p...
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  • Pinecrest, California

    Backpack to Bear Lake (Emigrant Wilderness)

    4.2
    8.34 mi / 705 ft gain
    Start by picking up your wilderness permit at the Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest - (209) 965-3434. There's no quota for this area, so no need for reservations in advance. To reach the trailhead, make your way south from the Ranger Station and turn left onto Crabtree Rd. Drive along this ro...
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  • Jackson, California

    Lake Tabeaud Loop

    2.31 mi / 433 ft gain
    Lake Tabeaud Loop is an out-and-back trail where you may see beautiful wildflowers located near Jackson, California.
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack Chewing Gum Lake

    3.3
    4.5 mi / 1000 ft gain
    Chewing Gum Lakes is located in Emigrant Wilderness, South of Lake Tahoe and North of Yosemite, with stunning valley views and gorgeous granite faces, peaking through the tree lines of the Stanislaus National Forest. Sitting just north of Yosemite allows you to take in a portion of the beauty of ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Climb Cracks at the Gianelli Edges

    We first found the Gianelli Edges mentioned in the Climbers Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway. A short 2.5-3 hour drive from our place in Oakland, it's a great spot for a quick single day or overnight climbing excursion. Just head out 120 toward Yosemite and pull off on the 108 toward Burst Rock/G...
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  • Groveland, California

    Wapama Falls

    4.71 mi / 623 ft gain
    Hetch Hetchy has a completely different character than other areas of Yosemite National Park, and the hike to Wapama Falls is an excellent way to explore this relatively remote section of the park. You can only imagine what this valley looked liked before it was dammed and is second to none compa...
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  • Groveland, California

    Hetch Hetchy to Rancheria Falls

    4.8
    12.55 mi / 2500 ft gain
    Situated in the northwest portion of Yosemite National Park, Hetch Hetchy is is a not often visited treasure of the Central Sierra Nevada. In 1913, in an extremely controversial move, work on the O’Shaughnessy Dam was started to provide water to the growing population of San Francisco. Today, Het...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Merced Grove

    5.0
    3.32 mi / 600 ft gain
    Merced Grove is technically the smallest and most secluded of the three sequoia groves found in Yosemite National Park, which lends itself to be less crowded offering a peaceful solitude hike. The trailhead is located at the Merced Grove parking lot on Big Oak Flat Road. This trail begins by foll...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

    4.2
    2.67 mi / 653 ft gain
    The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park. This particular grove has gorgeous forest scenery and provides great solitude compared to the crowded Yosemite Valley. The trail used to be an old road offering a wide path with a gradual descent, makin...
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Camping and Lodging in Sonora

Glory Hole Recreation Area
Angels Camp, California

Glory Hole Recreation Area

Coyote Point
Farmington, California

Coyote Point

Pinecrest
Pinecrest, California

Pinecrest

Pioneer Trail
Pinecrest, California

Pioneer Trail

Observation Point Picnic Shelter (Ca)
Valley Springs, California

Observation Point Picnic Shelter (Ca)

Deer Flat Boat In Campground
Valley Springs, California

Deer Flat Boat In Campground

Guides, Insights and Stories from Sonora

A Magical Yosemite Valley Winter Storm

A Magical Yosemite Valley Winter Storm

Jordan Tarver

Luxury in the Heart of The Valley: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Luxury in the Heart of The Valley: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Liam McNally

Overcoming Fear on Yosemite's Matthes Crest

Overcoming Fear on Yosemite's Matthes Crest

Timothy Behuniak

11 Amazing Backpacking Trips in Yosemite National Park

11 Amazing Backpacking Trips in Yosemite National Park

The Outbound Collective