5 Best Road Trips

California Gold Country Road Trip to Yosemite

Follow the golden road to and from Yosemite on this 453-mile adventure. Explore cowboy towns, taste local olive oil and apples, and see giant buddhas and gold nuggets.

From rafting adventures to historic Gold Rush towns, this amazing adventure starts in Sacramento. Ride the Sacramento RiverTrain before heading to Stockton where family-friendly activities await. From there, head to the charming towns of Angels Camp and Murphys and the stunning Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Then, travel to Tuolumne County where 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 1850s-era shops harken back to the golden days. From there, it’s a 20-minute drive to Jamestown, home of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

Then head through Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat Entrance where granite domes, sparkling waterfalls and incredible hikes await. After visiting the majestic Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, drive out the South Entrance, stopping to ride a train at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Continue on to Mariposa where artisan shops line the historic downtown and wine tasting, fun restaurants and activities await.



Start: Sacramento

Sacramento Bridge Dinner
Sacramento Bridge DinnerVisit Sacramento

Eat and drink your way through this northern California city that boasts more than 10 Michelin awards. Then explore lavishly restored luxury train cars and have dinner on a restored riverboat before embarking on your road trip.

Zen Moments in Stockton

Giant Buddha in Stockton's Cambodian Buddhist Temple
A family walks among a giant statues at Stockton’s Cambodian Buddhist TempleVisit Stockton

California sunshine, amazing food and diverse cultures make Stockton, Calif. a great destination for the whole family. Explore an amusement park, nature center, marina, art stash and giant jewel-encrusted statues.

Jumping for Calaveras County

Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Yosemite
Calaveras Big Trees State ParkPhoto by Bob Chickering courtesy of Calaveras Visitors Bureau

Mark Twain became famous with his story about the frogs of Calaveras County. Here are five reasons why you should stop in this gorgeous corner of California including giant trees and a giant 44-lb nugget of gold.

OARS Wet and Wild Adventures

Rafting with OARS on the Tuolumne River
Rafting with O.A.R.S. on the Tuolumne RiverPhoto by James Kaiser courtesy of OARS

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.

Ride the Rails at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Railtown Baldwin No. 28 Steam Engine Train
Railtown Baldwin No. 28 Steam Engine TrainPhoto by Linda Hogue courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Climb aboard famous movie-star steam locomotives for a fascinating scenic tour and take a guided tour of the historic shops and roundhouse.

Yosemite National Park

Sunset at Olmsted Point in Yosemite
Sunset at Olmsted Point in YosemiteStephen Goldschmidt

Enter the park at the Highway 120 Entrance.

Year-round Fun in Yosemite National Park
Take a leap and try new activities to explore the park. Which ones have you tried?

5 Famous Viewpoints Close to the Road in Yosemite
Visitors to the park won’t want to miss any of these following heart-stopping vistas, all easily accessible from paved roads throughout the park.

Tour Yosemite Like a Local with Gypsy Guide
On your Yosemite adventure, listen to an entertaining guide in your car.

The Giving Trees
Don’t leave Yosemite without visiting the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias with trees stretching 300 feet hight in the sky.

Exit the park out the South Entrance.

13 Gems in Mariposa County

Autocamp fire pit near Yosemite at Mariposa
Courtesy of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Find the largest alpaca farm in the state, stay in a classic Airstream trailer, take a scenic flight over the park plus ten more things to do in this charming historic county.

End: Sacramento