If road tripping through living history and epic scenery is your jam, take this as your cue to visit Tuolumne County in Northern California. Tuolumne serves up your classic American road trip experiences – outdoor adventure, sweeping mountain vistas and colourful gold rush history, all best reflected upon at their many boutique tasting rooms for cider, beer and wine.

Tuolumne County

In Tuolumne County you can hike around Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.

Disclosure: Travels with Baggage sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers.

I’ve partnered with Visit Tuolumne County to offer a spectacular giveaway that includes flights, accommodations and activities for a family of 4. It’s the ultimate trip to California! Be sure to read the entire post for info on how to enter.

family biking california

Biking is one of the best ways to explore Tuolumne County with friends and family.

Where is Tuolumne County?

Now the name (Tuolumne County) might not sound familiar, but I bet you’re familiar with this gem of a region made up of Gold Country, the High Sierra and Yosemite National Park. It’s about a 2.5 hr drive from San Francisco, which is served by daily direct flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. 

trip to california

Tuolumne Grove Yosemite National Park is where you’ll find those giant (and I do mean massive!) sequoias.

Yosemite Calling

For a classic American road trip experience, you can’t miss exploring Yosemite National Park. From the San Francisco Bay Area, Highway 120 is considered the front door entrance to Yosemite.

This is where you’ll find the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias – world’s most massive trees. It’s an easy 4 km round-trip jaunt to fully immerse yourself in this thicket of ancient giants. Forest therapy is literally at your fingertips, and you can even walk through one of these ginormous trees.

Other not to miss spots in Yosemite include Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where you can cool off, taking a waterfall hike to Wapama Falls and trek around the reservoir. It’s also a lesser-known entry into the Park, which means more one-on-one time with nature.

Yosemite National Park resevoir

It’s a refreshing hike along Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Good to Know

Certain National Parks in the US, including Yosemite National Park now have reservation systems during peak hours (6 am – 4 pm) until September 30. But if you have a hotel or campsite reservation that’ll get you in.

Travel for this giveaway must be taken between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023, so if you win, you won’t need to worry about the reservation system.

Sierra Foothills

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range are a spectacular part of Tuolumne County. Anyone who’s read Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, will be familiar with the Pacific Crest Trail, and you can hike some of those very same trails here!

With little light pollution, this part of Northern California has some of the best stargazing around. Not sure where to go? Sign up for guided stargazing hikes and tours. But there’s plenty more adventures besides hiking.

This is the spot for biking, zip lining and white-water rafting along the Tuolumne River. There’s plenty of wildflowers in the county’s lush meadows and if it were up to me, I’d view them from horseback. Outfitters like  Kennedy Meadows and Aspen Meadows guide you into the backcountry on day rides or all-inclusive multi-day trips.

Endless Family Activities

When it comes to family fun, Tuolumne County delivers all that parents look for in a holiday. Besides the accessible outdoor activities, there’s a staggering number of cultural attractions disguised as cool, fun activities so kids won’t realize they’re learning a bit of history on the fly.

Journey along Highway 108, popping in at charming gold rush towns from the 1800s. Not to miss is Columbia State Historic Park, a living history village with its period costumes, stagecoach rides and other immersive experiences.

Calm the troops down in Groveland, where they can burn off their energy in the town’s lush gardens or cool down in Pine Mountain Lake. Afterwards, meander through the Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum, to learn the storied history of California’s migration.

gold rush town

Saddle up to the stagecoach at Columbia State Historic Park.

I’ll Drink to That!

With over 100 wineries, Tuolumne County is one of the largest wine regions in the United States! Whether you’re touring through Gold Country, the Sierra or Yosemite, the area is flush with tasting rooms, breweries and wineries. 

Some wineries worth sussing out include Gianellie Vineyards, which is like a little slice of Italy in Tuolumne County. Their tasting room is nestled among the undulating Sierra foothills, just outside of Jamestown.

In downtown Jamestown, look for the Arthur Michael Vineyards and Winery tasting room and sample their high-quality Cabernet, Barbera, Zinfandel and Sangiovese.

Another must visit in Jamestown is Hurst Ranch Depot, where the railroad station from Clint Eastwood’s movie, The Unforgiven is onsite. Another fun fact: the real life Grizzly Adams once lived here!

Inner Sanctum Cellars Winery & Tap Room at Basecamp is another sublime spot serving up remarkable wines. Find their tasting room, tap room and picnic grounds between Sonora and Columbia.

Sonora California

Downtown Sonora is just as pretty as it is delicious.

In downtown Sonora, look for The Independent Wine Company, a delightful small plate wine bar and shop.

Not a wine-o? Head to Indigeny Reserve, a lush apple orchard and nature preserve where they handcraft cider, fruit-infused vodka and apple brandy.

Want discounts at local wineries, breweries and cider distilleries? Of course you do! Sign up for the Tuolumne County Craft Beverage Trail. In addition to discounts, you’ll earn points toward prizes as you explore Tuolumne County.

Tuolumne County Vacation Giveaway

Tuolumne County and I are giving away flights for up to a family of 4 from either Vancouver or Calgary to San Francisco International Airport and return; 1 car rental for 5 nights from the San Francisco International Airport; a 5 night hotel stay in Tuolumne County; most meals and family activities in the Tuolumne County as agreed by Visit Tuolumne County.

To enter, simply hop over to my Instagram account around 7pm MT on Tuesday, June 14, and show your interest for Tuolumne County (and Travels with Baggage). Be sure to pop over to Instagram before midnight ET on June 22, 2022, when the contest closes.

visit tuolumne county

Visit Tuolumne County Contest Rules

THE VISIT TUOLUMNE COUNTY CONTEST (“CONTEST”) IS ONLY OPEN TO LEGAL CANADIAN RESIDENTS (EXCLUDING QUEBEC) AND IS GOVERNED BY CANADIAN LAW AND THE LAWS OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SEE BELOW FOR FULL CONTEST DETAILS. PARTICIPATION IN THIS CONTEST CONSTITUTES YOUR FULL AND UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE OF, AND AGREEMENT TO BE LEGALLY BOUND BY, THESE CONTEST RULES (THE “CONTEST RULES”).

CONTEST PERIOD. The Contest begins on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) and ends on Wednesday, June 22 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the “Contest Period”).

ELIGIBILITY. The Contest is open to all legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory of residence at the time of entry. Employees and immediate family members of Visit Tuolumne County (“Sponsor”), its affiliated companies and agents, advertising and promotion agencies, the contest judges and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns are not eligible to participate in this Contest.

HOW TO ENTER. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To participate in this Contest, you must: a. Have a valid Instagram account (an “Account”). If you do not have an Account, visit www.instagram.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free Instagram account. b. Become a follower (a “Follower”) of the official @TravelTuolumneCounty channel (the “Channel”) and @travelswbaggage channel (the “Channel). c. During the Contest Period, to enter, comment under @travelswbaggage post on family road trip packing ideas, and save the post for an additional entry.. d. Comply with Instagram Terms of Service and Instagram Rules available at www.instagram.com. LIMIT (1) ENTRY PER PERSON/ACCOUNT DURING THE CONTEST PERIOD. For greater certainty and the avoidance of any doubt, you can only use one (1) Account to participate in the Contest. If it is discovered that you attempted to enter more than once during the Contest Period, then all your Entries will be void. Use of any automated system to submit Entries is prohibited and will result in disqualification. BY SUBMITTING AN ENTRY, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR ENTRY (INCLUDING YOUR USERNAME AND PROFILE PICTURE) MAY BE POSTED ON INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, FACEBOOK AND/OR SPONSOR’S PROPRIETARY WEBSITE, WHERE IT MAY BE VIEWED, SHARED (BY USERS OF INSTAGRAM AND VARIOUS OTHER INTERNET-BASED SITES) AND COMMENTED ON BY THE SPONSOR AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

DRAW AND WINNER SELECTION/NOTIFICATION. On Friday, June 17, 2022 in Calgary, Alberta, at approximately 11:00 a.m. ET, one (1) eligible entrant will be selected by random draw from all eligible Entries received during the Contest Period. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible Entries received.

Before being declared a winner: The selected entrant will be contacted by private message on Instagram and notified to see if they are eligible to win. The selected entrant must reply by private message within one (1) business day of notification and provide the Sponsor with a contact phone number. The selected entrant must first correctly answer a time-limited mathematical skill-testing question to be administered by telephone. The Sponsor will then email, and the selected entrant will be required to sign and return within one (1) business day of notification a declaration of eligibility and a liability/publicity release, which: a. confirms compliance with the Contest rules; b. releases the Sponsor, its affiliated companies and agents, advertising and promotion agencies, the Contest judges and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns from any liability in connection with the Contest, the entrant’s participation therein and/or the awarding and use or misuse of the prize or any portion thereof; and c. grants to the Sponsor the right to use the selected entrant’s name, address and likeness in any form of advertising relating to the Contest without further notice or compensation. -If a selected entrant: (i) cannot be contacted by private message within one (1) calendar day of selection or there is a return of any prior notification as undeliverable; (ii) fails to correctly answer the skill-testing question; or (iii) fails to return the Contest documents within the specified time, then he/she will be disqualified and will forfeit the prize, and the Sponsor reserves the right to select an alternate entrant from among the remaining eligible Entries.

PRIZE. Grand Prize: There will be one (1) grand prize available to be won (“Grand Prize”), consisting of flights for up to a family of four (4) from the Calgary International Airport or Vancouver International Airport to San Francisco International Airport and return; 1 car rental for five (5) nights from the San Francisco International Airport; five (5) night hotel stay in Tuolumne County for the family of four; and most meals, and activities in the Tuolumne County as agreed by Visit Tuolumne County. The estimated retail value of the Grand Prize is CAD$8,000. Prize will only be awarded to the person who is the owner of the Account. Visit Tuolumne County is not responsible or liable for any travel incidents such delayed or canceled flights, or rental car issues.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. The Grand Prize does not include, and the Sponsor will not pay for, transportation beyond the 5 night stay, transportation to/from Vancouver International Airport and any additional costs. Winner must arrange for their own transportation, accommodation, and spending money beyond this. Prize must be accepted as awarded and are not transferable or convertible to cash. Rental car restrictions may apply. Grand Prize winner’s travel companions (or winner on behalf of minors who are winner’s child/charge) must execute a release of liability prior to use of prize. Travel must be taken between the times of October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023; certain restrictions and blackout dates apply. Grand Prize winner and travel companions must possess valid photo ID, passport, VISA and travel documents at time of travel. All travelers must also pass any required medical testing and comply with any additional requirements, at any time, that may be required or recommended by any government agency, airline, or Sponsor, including without limitation, passing one or more COVID-19 antigen and screening tests, and testing negative for COVID-19 or having been vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers may also be required to execute any assumption of risk and/or other documents relating to COVID-19 or he/she may not be permitted to travel.

GENERAL. By entering the Contest, each entrant agrees to abide by these Contest Rules. This Contest is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws. Void in Quebec, outside Canada and where prohibited by law. The decisions of the Sponsor with respect to all aspects of this Contest are final and binding on all entrants without right of appeal.

Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend, withdraw or amend this Contest in any way, without prior notice or obligation, in the event of an error, technical problem, computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failure or any other cause beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor that interferes with the proper conduct of this Contest as contemplated by these Contest Rules. In the event of cancellation, the drawing will be conducted from eligible Entries received prior to cancellation. Any attempt to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of this Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent permitted by law, including criminal prosecution.

You must warrant that your Entry meets the specifications, set out above. Sponsor reserves the right to deem ineligible and exclude from the Contest any form that Sponsor, in its sole and absolute discretion, determines does not meet these specifications. Your right to submit a form must not be restricted in any way. You must be able to provide legal releases for use of participation by Sponsor in any format, and materials related to the Contest.

All Entries are subject to verification at any time and for any reason. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility (in a form acceptable to – the Sponsor) – including, without limitation, government issued photo identification): (i) for the purposes of verifying an individual’s eligibility to participate in this Contest; (ii) for the purposes of verifying the eligibility and/or legitimacy of any Entry entered (or purportedly entered) for the purposes of this Contest; and/or (iii) for any other reason the Sponsor deems necessary, in its sole and absolute discretion, for the purposes of administering this Contest in accordance with these Contest Rules. Failure to provide such proof to the satisfaction of the Sponsor in a timely manner may result in disqualification in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor. The sole determinant of the time for the purposes of a valid Entry in this Contest will be the Contest server machine(s).

Without limitation, the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies and the Contest judges will not be liable for any failure of the website during the Contest; for an technical malfunction or other problems relating to the telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment or software; for the failure of any Entry to be received by the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies or the Contest judges for any reason including, but not limited to, technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website; or any combination of the above. Further, the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies and the Contest judges will not be liable for any injury or damage to an entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading any material in the Contest.

In the event of a dispute, Entries will be deemed to have submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the person who is assigned an email address by an internet provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g. business, educational institute, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. If the identity of an online entrant is disputed, the authorized account holder associated with the email account at the time of Entry will be deemed to be the entrant. The selected entrant may be required to provide proof that he/she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the selected Entry. The sole determinant of the time for the purposes of a valid online Entry in this Contest will be the  Contest server machine(s).

By entering this Contest, each entrant expressly consents to the Sponsor, its agents and/or representatives, storing, sharing and using the personal information submitted with his/her Entry only for the purpose of administering the Contest.

PRIVACY. Any personally identifiable information collected during your participation in this Contest will be collected by Sponsor and used by it and its agents for purposes of the proper administration and fulfillment of the Contest as described in these Official Rules, and in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, posted at https://www.visittuolumne.com/privacy-policy and as allowed by law.

WINNER LIST. For the first initial, last name, city and state of the winner, available for ninety (90) days after July 31, 2022, send an email to: tania.kedikian@aboutdci.com with TUOLUMNE COUNTY WINNER LIST as the subject line. Winner List will be sent after the prize has been awarded.

SPONSOR. The Sponsor of this Contest is Visit Tuolumne County, 193 S Washington St, Sonora, CA 95370.