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Her location, between Gold Country and Yosemite, allows Groveland to capitalize on the influx of tourists ambling in both directions. Her Wild West architecture, spunky historic downtown, and surrounding natural treasures don't hurt either. Groveland has always been a stopping off point rather than a destination (Gold Rushers headed to the Mother Lode rarely found big bucks up in these mountains and tourists always seems on the way elsewhere). However, this ole gal should not be overlooked. The stunning nature doesn't arbitrarily begin where the national park does. Rather, exploring the alpine wilderness near town offers unpopulated swimming ...

Her location, between Gold Country and Yosemite, allows Groveland to capitalize on the influx of tourists ambling in both directions. Her Wild West architecture, spunky historic downtown, and surrounding natural treasures don't hurt either. Groveland has always been a stopping off point rather than a destination (Gold Rushers headed to the Mother Lode rarely found big bucks up in these mountains and tourists always seems on the way elsewhere). However, this ole gal should not be overlooked. The stunning nature doesn't arbitrarily begin where the national park does. Rather, exploring the alpine wilderness near town offers unpopulated swimming holes, hiking trails to blankets of wildflowers, and mountain biking trails to stream down. Groveland is also the headquarters of (and gateway to) Hetch Hetchy, the massive water project that brings clean liquids to the San Francisco Bay Area — this also is a grand place to escape the Yosemite crowds without sacrificing splendor. And of course, setting up camp in the alpine village of Groveland allows you access to Yosemite's undiscovered western wilderness in a half hour or the Gold Rush towns of Jamestown and Columbia in about an hour.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, early fall