Not only is Bass Lake blissfully beautiful, it comes complete with a list of top amenities. Fringed by forest, it makes for the perfect place simply to lie by the shore and relax. But its warm waters are also ideal for sports, and fishermen pull rainbow trout from the depths, while sailors, jet skiers, canoeists and wake boarders skim across the surface.
In Touch With the Past
There's a whole clutch of museums where you can uncover the area's past. The Fossil Discovery Centre has Columbian Mammoths and Sabre-Toothed Tigers; the Madera Courthouse Museum tells the story of the loggers who sent felled lumber down into the valley by flume; and the 110 year-old Coarsegold Historic Museum is brimming with artefacts and gold-mining history.
Sierra Vista Scenic Byway
Take a drive on the wild side as you twist and turn for 100 miles among the massive granite peaks and dense forests of the snow-topped Sierra Nevada mountains. There's stunning views aplenty along the way, especially at Mile High Vista, plus you can get up close to Giant Sequoias at Nelder Grove and take a cooling dip at Mammoth Pool.
Madera County isn't known as the 'Gateway to Yosemite' for nothing. It sits at the park's southern entrance, meaning all of Yosemite's iconic sights are within easy reach. You can tick off stand-out landmarks like the rocky outcrop of El Capitan and the cascading Yosemite Falls, before admiring the breathtaking view from Glacier Point and wandering among Giant Sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove.
Ticket to Ride
All aboard the Sugar Pine Railroad! Take a four-mile ride through the forest, pulled by a steam locomotive which once lugged lumber. Chug past spectacular mountain scenery or hop onto the Moonlight Special to discover the beauty of the forest at night.