Published on August 29, 2023

During the Gold Rush, as California was just becoming a state, Mariposa earned a nickname: “The Mother of All Counties.” Stretching as far south as Los Angeles and as far east as the Nevada state line, with its rolling pastureland to the west and cloud-kissing Sierra peaks to the east, beauty and tranquility infused this vast landscape where life was ruggedly simple. To this day, not much has changed except the county’s size.

Finding a rural retreat in Mariposa County is like going back in time. Whether you’re watching the setting sun sparkle your wine glass outside your vineyard bungalow, chilling with a good book on the roof deck perched above an orchard or taking a stroll through the horse ranch just outside your door, there’s serenity to be had and nature to be explored. Here are some country-quiet stays where the lodging is the destination.

A Big Bite of Quietude

The Orchard Barn Loft at Sierra Cider is a cozy place to rest your head with beautiful views of the Orchard and the Sierra.

It’s said an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and nowhere is that wellness mantra more true than at the Orchard Barn Loft at Sierra Cider. Located 45 minutes from Yosemite National Park and 15 minutes from the historic Gold Rush town of Mariposa, this modernly-appointed barn-top loft lets visitors get a bird’s-eye view of 800 cider-specific apple trees while taking a break from the stresses back home.

Walk the rows then tilt back on the oak tree swing and gaze up at the passing Sierra clouds as the farm’s “petting zoo” of goats, chickens and dogs keeps you company. On Saturdays visit Sierra Cider’s tasting room just 50 steps away to sample their signature “Campfire Champagne and taste that sweet orchard umami. Guests are greeted with a complimentary bottle of hard cider and get 15% off purchases in the tasting room. A slice of apple heaven.

Vine & Dandy

With a bocce ball court by the vineyard, Casto Oak’s Winemakers Cottage is a getaway all on its own.

As the setting sun backlights the grape vines and you set down your glass of cabernet to throw your bocce, a sense of “ahhhh” washes over you.  This is the good life at the Winemakers Cottage at Mount Bullion Vineyard.

Nestled on a 20-acre estate, the cozy two-bedroom/one-bath cottage invites guests to unwind with a full mangia-ready kitchen and picnic table on the deck featuring outdoor lighting. Take an evening stroll through the vineyard and commune with the Mariposa County terroir.

The Table Is Set

With a beautiful interior, rustic exterior and views like this, Big Table Ranch is a destination in itself.

Located on an old working horse ranch a few miles outside of the Gold Rush gem of Coulterville, the Big Table Ranch Guest House captures the Sierra spirit in a way that is sure to lighten your mood.

This 3 bedroom/3.5 bath cabin features a well-stocked kitchen, fireplace (wood provided), hot tub and two swimming pools (in-ground plus a swimming cistern, unheated, open May-October). Pop into Coulterville for authentic Gold Rush history, or head 28 miles to the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite National Park. This property is dog-friendly (up to 3 furry friends allowed at no extra charge) and perfect for meadow walks or lounging on the porch and counting your blessings.

Horse Sense

The rolling pastures of Southern Mariposa County epitomize the American West.  Studded with oak trees, windmills and vintage barns, visitors are transported to a simpler time when living off the fat of the land was the best diet around.

For a couples retreat to remember, the Yosemite “Getaway” Cottage at the Round Hat Horse Ranch in Catheys Valley beckons. Walk the tree-lined trails, see the animals up close then ease into the outdoor soaking tub for a natural remedy that re-aligns the soul. Stargazing in Yosemite Mariposa County is unbothered by city lights, the perfect nightcap for your “heavenly” stay.

From Here to Serenity

Serenity Ranch provides well, just that, serenity.

The country charm of Northwest Mariposa County is all about the wide-open spaces of the Sierra foothills and its H2O recreation at Lakes McClure, McSwain and Don Pedro. 

The restful vibe at Serenity Ranch lends itself to slow travel whether you’re enjoying a family meal, flicking a line for some Yosemite Mariposa County fishing or just relaxing away from the grind back home. This 3 bedroom/2 bath cottage features a full kitchen, outdoor porch with BBQ and basketball hoop for a friendly game of horse.   If the kids (or adults!) need an infusion of action, try the nearby Exchequer Mountain Bike Park and Splash-n-Dash Aqua Park for a little vim-n-vigor.

Timeless Tranquility

Sometimes we need to retreat to move forward, especially when it comes to advancing our personal well-being. Nowhere is that goal more achievable than booking a rural escape to Yosemite Mariposa County. With timeless tranquility infusing the land yet plenty of things to do, there’s a perfect balance to be had as the hustle & bustle back home seems worlds away.  Whether you come for a digital detox, family & friends reunion or couple’s getaway, the result is always the same: laid-back fun.

Categories: Lodging