Sacramento to Yosemite, the California Gold Country Road Trip

Follow the golden loop to and from Yosemite on this 449-mile adventure.
By Staff ,

Watching park visitors float down the Merced from the Sentinal Bridge in Yosemite.

Grant Ordelheide

Trip Overview

From golden-colored giant Buddhas to historic Gold Rush towns, this amazing adventure starts in Sacramento. Ride the Sacramento RiverTrain and stop by the California State Railroad Museum for a primer on how railroads changed the course of U.S. history. 

From there, head to Stockton where fine art, incredible ethnic food and a Buddhist temple complex await. Continue to Mariposa where artisan shops line the historic downtown. From Mariposa, it's a 55-minute drive to the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park where granite domes, sparkling waterfalls and incredible hikes await. 

When you leave the park, head out the Big Oak Flat Entrance to see Groveland and the Iron Door Saloon, California's oldest continuously operating saloon. From there, it's a 30-minute drive to Jamestown, home of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. In the heart of Tuolumne County, you can go river rafting or explore historic Sonora with a lively theater scene and a downtown filled with great boutiques and coffee shops. Don't miss Columbia State Historic Park where business owners dress in 1850s attire and shops harken back to the golden days. 

Download Road Trip PDF

Road Trip Itinerary

Start: Sacramento

Explore lavishly restored luxury train cars, have dinner on a restored riverboat, and take a train excursion before embarking on your road trip.


J.C. Leyendecker art featuring Kellogg's Corn Flakes

Photo by the Haggin Museum courtesy of Visit Stockton

Giant Buddhas, World-Class Art and Ethnic Food in Stockton
Walk among 90 giant statues, gorge on Thai and American farm-to-table cusine, or gaze at a painting that used to hang at the White House.
Read more.

Mariposa County

Airplane tour over Yosemite with Airbornn Aviation

Photo courtesy of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

8 Gems in Mariposa County on the Edge of Yosemite
Find the largest alpaca farm in the state, do an olive oil tasting, take a scenic flight over the park plus five more things to do in this charming historic county.
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Yosemite National Park

The Bachelor and 3 Graces in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. 

Grant Ordelheide

Enter the park from the South Entrance and stop in the Wawona area to tour the Mariposa Grove of sequoia trees, reopening spring 2018. Continue north, visiting Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley before exiting out the Big Oak Flat Entrance on Highway 120.

Download the Yosemite Driving Tour App
Feel like you're touring with a local in your car. The GyPSy Guide app uses your phone or tablet's location to play commentary about Yosemite attractions such as Half Dome and Tunnel View as you drive.
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Take a Private Tour of Yosemite
Go on one of four classic tours, or go stargazing, fly fishing, or hiking with an expert guide from Yosemite Family Adventures.
Read more.

Where Should I Camp in Yosemite National Park?
Use this personalized guide to help you decide where to spend the night, from car camping paradise and remote backcountry sites to RV heaven.
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Tuolumne County

Rafting with O.A.R.S. on the Tuolumne River

Photo by James Kaiser courtesy of O.A.R.S.

Tuolumne's Top 7 on the Edge of Yosemite
Half of Tuolumne County lies in Yosemite. Discover the top seven things to do in its quaint towns from boating to Gold Rush-era experiences.
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O.A.R.S. Wet and Wild Adventures Just Outside of Yosemite
Go on a 1-day rafting trip on the Merced River, or experience a 1- to 3-day rafting adventure on the Tuolumne River near the west edge of Yosemite National Park.
Read more.

Starstruck by Railtown 1897's Hollywood Darling
Meet the famous movie-star locomotive Sierra No. 3, take a guided tour of the historic shops and roundhouse, or jump aboard a steam-powered excursion train.
Read more.


Deposit Photos

Oakdale, Calif. is hailed the Cowboy Capital of the World
Turn off the main strip to explore the historic downtown. Start at the Cowboy Museum, then learn about or experience the April rodeo. End the day at the H Bar B.
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End: Sacramento