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Mariposa County Holidays ​

If you think Mariposa County holidays are all about Yosemite, then it's time to think again. Yes, this spectacular national treasure looms large, and you certainly wouldn't want to miss it. But the eastern half of the county, which lies outside Yosemite's boundaries, has plenty to offer too. How does fantastic scenery, wild rivers, glittering lakes, historic towns and superb outdoor pursuits grab you? Oh, and did we mention wine?

This is a stunning part of California, from the rolling Sierra foothills peppered with vineyards (complete with tasting rooms!) to the forested slopes and towering peaks of the high country. Here Mother Nature rules the roost, giving rise to fantastic hiking, climbing and horseback riding - as well as scenic drives through rushing river valleys and giant sequoia groves. It's a feast for the eyes wherever you look.

Water plays a key role and the Merced River has official 'Wild and Scenic' status, making for spectacular hikes through canyons, and great swimming and rafting. Elsewhere the calmer lakes of McClure, McSwain and Don Pedro together provide a huge area of water, ideal for swimming, boating, water-skiing, jet skis and fishing for salmon, trout and bass. Plus a visit to the towering waterfalls of Yosemite is a must.

There's also history aplenty on Mariposa County holidays. In the mid 1800s this area teemed with gold prospectors, and the remains of their endeavors can be seen today. There are abandoned ghost towns to explore, while the California State Mining and Mineral Museum tells the story of the Gold Rush through exhibits including a walk-through mine tunnel. The charming town of Mariposa has several historic buildings too.

With so much to offer, Mariposa County deserves prime billing in its own right. After all, Yosemite is only half its story.

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Sugar Pine Railroad

Sugar Pine RailroadTake a trip back in time aboard the steam-powered Sugar Pine Railroad, and plough a four-mile route through the Sierra Nevada Forest, amid towering trees. The train follows part of the route formerly travelled by log trains transporting timber to the giant flumes that shot logs all the way down the mountainside to the valleys below.


This quaint little town has an aura of times past, and a stroll up the main street on wooden sidewalks takes you past interesting independent stores and historic frontages, as well as the 1854 court house (the oldest west of the Rockies still in operation) and the 1858 Old Stone Jail. There's antiques shops, boutiques and galleries to shop at, as well as good local food and wine.

Giant Sequoia Trees

The stand of giant sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove includes 500 specimens of what are among the world's largest living organisms - some of them up to 3,000 years old. You can tour the Grove by tram; wander amongst the trees looking up, up, up; or take the trail to see two of its stars - the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree.


Founded by Mexicans, in 1870 Hornitos was a thriving gold mining town with 10,000 inhabitants, its streets lined with fandango halls, prospector stores, bars and gambling dens. Several buildings and ruins still stand, including the old Wells Fargo office, the stone Masonic hall, the jailhouse and Domenico Ghirardelli's (of chocolate fame) original store.

Yosemite Valley

Half of this region belongs to Yosemite, and no Mariposo County holidays would be complete without a visit to one of its highlights - the Valley. Yosemite Falls, towering Half Dome, brooding El Capitan, spectacular Tunnel View and Bridalveil Falls are all here. It's nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Yosemite Zipline Tours

Located an hour south of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Zip lines and Adventure Ranch has been built as a six stage, 2 hour guide-led tour. In a group of 8 or 10 you will be driven up the mountain to experience spectacular views of the valley below.

You will need your ESTA!
The US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority if you are travelling to the US. Any passengers who have not made an application for and received their travel authorisation via ESTA before travelling may not be permitted to board the aircraft or could be denied admission at the US entry destination. But of course, neither possession of a visa, nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP will guarantee a passenger admission to the United States. The final determination of admissibility is made by the immigration office at the port of entry.

Where can I apply for ESTA?
Prior to travel, you will need to visit and fill out an online application form.

When should I apply?
This will need to be applied for at least 72 hours prior to travel if you intend to travel to America.

How long is my ESTA valid for?
Your ESTA will be valid for up to two years, or until your passport expires. It is also possible for you to use for multiple entries to America. Just be sure to amend any necessary data, such as date of travel and your address whilst in the US.


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