Yosemite Mariposa County this summer is more accessible than ever for Californians! Of course, Mariposa County is not only the Home of Yosemite, but also offers a treasure trove of things to do outside the park.
The California State Mining & Mineral Museum offers a golden glimpse into the state's mineral bounty and mining history. On display: the Fricot "Nugget," at 13.8 pounds, the largest remaining intact mass of crystalline gold from 19th century California.
Here Come da Judge
Mariposa County Courthouse is California's oldest, stately building having served continuously as the seat of county government since 1854 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tequila and Chocolate
Hornitos is a rough-and-tumble Gold Rush ghost town with the first Wells Fargo stagecoach office in the county. Legend has it that bandit hero Joaquin Murrieta built a tunnel from a local dance hall to his private horse stable to evade lawmen. Back in 1855, Domenico Ghirardelli built his first store here, before moving to San Francisco, and everlasting chocolate fame. Today there remain stone and brick buildings, some still whole, including the Plaza Bar.
Cider House Rules
A Mariposa cidery in the heart of California gold country, Sierra Cider crushes estate-grown heritage apples into varietal ciders like Farmhouse Style (tasting notes: English Bittersweets) or Early Harvest (honey and apple blossom, extra-sparkly and great with food).
The "Best Little Museum of Its Size West of the Mississippi" according to the Smithsonian Institution, the Mariposa Museum & History Center has Gold Rush documents and displays, artwork, photos, and Native American crafts.
Whether you take a five-hour trip through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias or the one-hour Big Creek crossing, Yosemite Trails Horseback Adventures offers unique journeys into the woods and back in time. Just off Highway 41 near Fish Camp, the Yosemite Trails ranch is close to Yosemite National Park's south entrance and Tenaya Lodge.
Looking for more things to do in Mariposa County? Take a look at our list of 100 Things to Do.