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From low elevation lakes to high elevations peaks. From the Sierra National Forest to the Stanislaus National Forest. Ziplining, skydiving, and white water rafting. Fishing and bird watching. Wine tasting and even olive oil sampling, Yosemite Mariposa County is the home to countless activities and the best things to do near Yosemite. We’ve taken the liberty of giving you 100 things to do in Mariposa County that don’t include Yosemite National Park to get you on your way to your own adventure.
The northern portion of Mariposa County is home to trails for recreation at higher elevations, lakes for fun in the sun at lower elevations, and the historic towns of Coulterville, Greely Hill, and Buck Meadows. Museums, mine tours, and even spooky ghost tours will get you right in touch with the area’s gold-mining history that runs as deep as the mines that existed here over a hundred years ago.
Smith Peak Mountain Bike Trail
Propel yourself to a beautiful local summit on a fun 11.3-mile (18.2 km) mountain bike trail.
Cakewalk Heirloom Baking Co. Gallery
Enjoy this farm to table French Cafe and Art Gallery.
Coulterville Gold & Ghost Tours
Explore Coulterville’s historic legacy with a paranormal twist. Call (209) 878-7071 to schedule a tour.
Have a howling good time at this family-friendly festival held annually in September in Coulterville.
Northern Mariposa County History Center
Immerse yourself in the Gold Rush at the Northern Mariposa County History Center in historic Coulterville.
Exchequer Mountain Bike Park is a gem for any mountain biker.
Exchequer Mountain Bike Park
Ride trails at Exchequer Mountain Bike Park made by bikers for bikers near Lake McClure.
Fishing at Lake McClure and Lake McSwain
Reel in a wide variety of fish at Lake McClure, a gorgeous low elevation lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Swimming and Watersports at Lake McClure and Lake McSwain
Spend a fun day on the water at Lake McSwain. There’s everything from trout fishing to jet skiing and great lake-side camping.
Splash-n-Dash Aqua Park
Jump slide and splash at the inflatable, on-water obstacle course, Splash-n-Dash Aqua Park at Lake McSwain.
Merced River Recreation Management Area
Hike, raft, float, swim, camp, or just relax in the Merced River at the Merced River Recreation Area, one of the best outdoor things to do near Yosemite.
Hike Hite Cove Trail
Stroll the best-known wildflower walk in the region through the Merced River Canyon.
Fishing in the Merced River
Cast your line along the Merced River from El Portal to the South Fork.
Check out some of the retreats and other educational activities hosted in the area by NatureBridge.
Splish, splash you can play in a raft with OARS, Whitewater Excitement, Sierra Mac, or Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions.
OARS River Rafting
Have a splashing good time whitewater rafting with OARS River Rafting.
Ride rollercoaster-sized waves on a whitewater rafting trip with Whitewater Excitement.
Sierra Mac River Trips
Run rapids on a whitewater rafting trip with Sierra Mac River Trips.
Spring Wildflower Bloom
Soak in the beautiful wildflower scenery in spring. This activity is great anywhere in the county but maybe the best in the Merced Canyon where California Poppies paint the slopes orange.
Take a tour from high above Mariposa County and Yosemite National Park with this air service based at the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport. 1, 2, and 3 person tours are available.
Treat your tastebuds at the Annual Crab Feed at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds every February.
Gold Rush History Hunt
Dig into Mariposa County’s Gold Rush past with historical markers showing the way for a scenic and informative road trip through the county.
Take a hike around Indian Gulch, one of the first areas to be settled in Mariposa, and imagine how things were during the Gold Rush.
Jerseydale Pumpkin Patch
Celebrate fall with a visit to the Jerseydale Pumpkin Patch.
Art & Wine Festival
In the shadow of the oldest Courthouse in continuous use west of the Mississippi, savor wine and art during this festival held each May.
Bicycle in Sierra National Forest
Pedal the challenging roads heading into the mostly wilderness Park.
Breakfast at Sunrise
Grab an early-morning breakfast at one of the areas many “hometown” restaurants in the area.
Butterfly Creek Winery
Enjoy locally sourced-wine straight from the vine and this gorgeous mountain-side winery with incredible views.
Great wine, art, and conversation is always available in abundance at Casto Oaks’ Tasting Room in historic Mariposa.
Enjoy local art and wine at Casto Oaks
Visit Casto Oaks in Historic Mariposa to sample locally crafted wines from Casto Oaks while taking in the work of local artists.
Epic Alpacas Boutique and Outlet
Shop here to get your warm Alpaca socks this winter.
Epic Alpacas Ranch Tours
Come and visit the largest alpaca herd in California, nestled in the foothills just below Yosemite National Park.
Fishing The Sierra National Forest
Drop your line into 400 lakes across the Forest.
Gem & Mineral Show
Peruse and purchase treasures from the earth at the yearly Gem & Mineral Show in April.
Hiking the Sierra National Forest
Get moving on the backpacking and hiking trails.
High Country Health Foods & Cafe
Stock up on healthy food at High Country Health Foods & Cafe before you take a hike or visit Yosemite.
Hornitos Day of the Dead
Celebrate a traditional Day of the Dead with the residents of Hornitos.
Hornitos Enchilada Dinner
Be part of a 70-year-old tradition at the annual Hornitos Enchilada Dinner held annually in March.
Hornitos Flea Market
Find treasures at the Hornitos Flea Market at the yearly gathering in October.
Karaoke in Mariposa
Belt out your favorite songs in Historic Mariposa at the Hideout Saloon.
Kemble Road Hike
Check out the Chowchilla River under the William Sell Bridge.
Carstens and Feliciana Mountain Road Hike
Breathe the fresh mountain air on a pretty good hike.
Las Mariposa Civil War Days
Step back in time to the 1860s during the Las Mariposa Civil War Days on the third weekend in April.
Mariposa – Downtown Walking Tour
Saunter through the old town of Mariposa to discover buildings from the mid-1800s as well as charming shops, restaurants, and more.
Did you know Mariposa means butterfly? The town got its name for the monarchs that migrate to it each spring. Each year in May, the Butterfly Festival honors the occasion.
Mariposa Butterfly Festival
Get your flutter on at the annual Mariposa Butterfly Festival in May.
Mariposa Certified Farmer’s Market
Grab some delicious Mariposa County grown food at the Certified Farmers Market every Wednesday in the summer!
Mariposa Community Chorus
Be inspired by Mariposa’s own community chorus, which performs twice a year.
Mariposa’s County Fair is looked forward to year-round by locals and visitors alike. Events include a rodeo, demolition derby, livestock silent auction, and of course, carnival rides and food. It’s a western event that is not to be missed!
Mariposa County Fair
Rekindle your youthful spirit with a visit to the Mariposa County Fair on Labor Day weekend.
Mariposa County Farm and Ranch Tour
Discover the heart of Mariposa County’s agricultural roots during the Mariposa County Farm and Ranch Tour, a full-day event in September.
Mariposa Go West Festival
Put on your old west garb and join in the fun at the Mariposa Go West Festival every October.
Mariposa Museum & History Center
Immerse yourself in Gold Rush history at the award-winning Mariposa Museum & History Center. This museum houses lots of Yosemite history too, making it a must-stop when searching for things to do near Yosemite.
Mariposa POW WOW
Honor local Native American traditions at the Mariposa POW WOW occurring in May each year.
Mariposa Storytelling Week
Listen as stories are brought to life by live story-tellers during Mariposa Storytelling Week.
Mariposa Symphony Orchestra
Tune in to the soaring sound of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra.
Mariposa Yosemite Hot Rod & Custom Car Show
Get your engine running with the sight of hundreds of special vehicles at the annual Mariposa Yosemite Hot Rod & Custom Car Show.
Mariposa County High School Drama Club
Witness Mariposa’s up and coming thespians at Mariposa County High School Drama Club productions.
Merry Mountain Christmas Parade
Watch Mariposa Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Parade through Historic Downtown Mariposa.
Merry Mountain Christmas Tree Lighting
Celebrate the holiday season with a tree lighting hosted by the Lions Club following the annual parade.
Mariposa is home to three Museums including the California State Mining and Mineral Museum which honors not only Mariposa’s rich Gold Rush history but all of California’s
California State Mining and Mineral Museum
Learn about not only Mariposa mining history, but the whole state at this local museum.
Mariposa Event Center
Plan your special event at this lovely rental space, by the hour or all day.
Mona Jean’s Art Gallery
Discover this creative artist who paints on Alpaca fur from her own herd!
Morningstar Lane Hike
Strut with peacocks on an easy hike on Mariposa’s Morningstar Lane.
Free Movie Nights
Experience your favorite films during Mariposa County’s summer Free Movie Nights.
Music on the Green
Relax with a free outdoor concert at the Mariposa Art Park every Friday and Saturday evening during the summer, hosted by the Mariposa County Arts Council.
Grab some take out from a local restaurant and have a picnic at one of the many county parks in the area.
Gather ye nuggets while ye may, panning for real gold.
Get comfy with Nativearth, a local artisan shoe company that focuses on current styles and historical shoes.
Rauch Ranch Vineyard & Winery
Settle in at Rauch Ranch for a true western experience including an award-winning vineyard and winery.
Ridgeline Gallery & Gift
Find thoughtful gifts and artwork showcasing Yosemite and the surrounding Gold Country at Ridgeline Gallery & Gift.
Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions
Stay cool on a rollicking whitewater rafting trip with Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions.
Rumm Studio’s Upstairs Gallery
Peruse art created by former park ranger Faith Rumm and other local artists in the upstairs gallery of the historic Louvre Hotel.
Costa Livos Mountain Gold Olive Oil
Sample local artisan olive oils at CostaLivos in downtown Mariposa before topping off the tasting with a homemade Italian dinner.
Sausage and Suds Sampler Fundraiser
Sample a variety of beer and sausages at this annual benefit for the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.
Sierra Artists Gallery
View the artistic endeavors of some of Mariposa County’s artists working in watercolor, oil, pastel, pen, and ink, photography, sculpture, pottery, and jewelry.
Sierra Cider Farm and Cidery
Discover a different type of local liquid “gold” by sampling Sierra Cider, made from heritage apples, at one of many bars and restaurants in the County.
Sierra Foothill Conservancy
Join one of the many outdoor events sponsored by the Sierra Foothill Conservancy.
Silver Fox Vineyards
Request a tour from the vintners at Silver Fox Vineyards.
Catch amazing views of Yosemite as you skydive in Mariposa County.Learn more about the founder of Skydive Yosemite in our video below.
The Wellness Nook
Pamper yourself with a massage or facial at The Wellness Nook.
Discover vibrant local artists at the Treetop Gallery at the Mariposa Arts Council.
Places like Balanced Rock and Tenaya Lodge offer outdoor yoga classes that allow people to get out and connect with nature.
Yosemite Audubon Society
It’s not just for the birds: set your sights on the regional avian flocks.
Yosemite Climbing Association Museum
Experience the rich history of the mecca of rock climbing, Yosemite National Park, in Mariposa.
Wade in & discover the best fly fishing in the region with Yosemite Outfitters.
Yosemite Family Adventures
Plan your own private, customized tour with Yosemite Family Adventures.
Yosemite Ziplines Adventure Ranch is a lot more than just zipping through the southern Sierra, take on the ropes course or pan for gold there as well.
Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch
Zip through the trees at Yosemite Zipline and Adventure Ranch, where you can also experience aerial ropes courses, roping lessons, gold-panning, and more.
Volunteer with Bill King’s South Fork Merced Trailblazers to rehab neglected or bring back forgotten hundred-year-old trails and receive an interesting history lesson as well! There are also snacks after the day’s work is done.
Become a prospector for the day by going gold panning with the folks at Yosemite Crystals.
Yosemite Health Spa (At the Bug)
Treat yourself to a relaxing massage followed by soaking baths including a soak in the hydrogen peroxide and UV hot tub at Yosemite Health Spa at the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort.
Yosemite Songwriting Retreat
Pour your soul into this retreat for emerging and experienced songwriters.
Devil’s Peak (Signal Peak Lookout Tower)
Challenge yourself with a long mountain bike climb to a stunning peak with views of Yosemite.
Goat Meadow Snow Play Area
Bring your sled for some fun in the snow in this area just outside of Yosemite’s southern gate.
Model T Tours
Tour in style with a vintage car with the top down, available from Model T Tours.
Night sky viewing in Mariposa County is unbeatable. Most in populated areas don’t get to see a night sky full of stars. In Mariposa County, this is accomplishable nearly anywhere, but perhaps there’s no better place than the higher elevation areas of Fish Camp.
Each winter Tenaya Lodge opens up an ice skating rink on the property where you can learn to skate or perfect that triple-axel. Even better, there’s a firepit nearby. Roasting marshmallows and making s’ mores is encouraged!
Glide across the ice at the open-air ice skating rink during winter at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
Hit the bullseye with archery lessons at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
Rock wall Warm-up
Scramble up Tenaya Lodge’s climbing wall for a great introduction to rock climbing before tackling challenges from Mother Nature.
Ride through snow and sand on unstoppable fat tire mountain bike rentals from Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
Kids’ Adventure Course
Challenge the kids on this fun ropes adventure course at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
Tenaya Lodge Tours
Get the best views on Tenaya Lodge Yosemite Tours with exclusive convertible buses.
Enjoy the breeze on an easy mountain bike ride through the forest along Tenmile Grade.
Take a step back in time with a ride on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road. The logging train takes you into the Sierra for a ride back into time. Get ready for singing around the campfire too.
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
Climb aboard for a ride into history aboard a narrow-gauge steam train.
Whether it’s rafting big water on the Merced River or climbing big walls like El Capitan, mountain biking down a gonzo fire road in the Sierra National Forest or skydiving from 14,000 feet as Half Dome stands guard in the distance, Yosemite Mariposa is a prime destination for all thrill levels and budgets.
Creatively blending the new normal of work/study with quality outdoor adventure, natural beauty and authentic learning experiences, Mariposa County offers working parents the chance to swap their heels and wing-tips for waffle soles and “reboot” in an iconic national park paradise.
Planning a visit to Yosemite Mariposa County in fall? This is a spectacular season to visit. Check out this amazing fall itinerary for ideas on planning your own trip.