Exploring Gold Country & the Sierras

Denise
Exploring Gold Country & the Sierras

Outdoor Adventures

Fabulous mountain lake just 30 minutes away. During the summer, rent a boat, fish, swim, or just play on the beach. Summer evenings, the outdoor theater at Pinecrest plays family-friendly freshly-released movies in the best theater ever! Any season, the four-mile hike around the lake is refreshing. If you're up for a longer hike, head on up to Cleo's baths at the far end of the lake.
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Pinecrest Lake
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Fabulous mountain lake just 30 minutes away. During the summer, rent a boat, fish, swim, or just play on the beach. Summer evenings, the outdoor theater at Pinecrest plays family-friendly freshly-released movies in the best theater ever! Any season, the four-mile hike around the lake is refreshing. If you're up for a longer hike, head on up to Cleo's baths at the far end of the lake.
Ridgetop Retreat is part of the Willow Springs Homeowners Association, and you are welcome to enjoy the lake, park, and tennis courts at the entrance to the subdivision. It's about a 1 mile walk from the house if you're up for the uphill trek home. Or, there's plenty of parking. You may fish at the lake without a state license, but please don't feed the ducks and geese.
Willow Springs Drive
Ridgetop Retreat is part of the Willow Springs Homeowners Association, and you are welcome to enjoy the lake, park, and tennis courts at the entrance to the subdivision. It's about a 1 mile walk from the house if you're up for the uphill trek home. Or, there's plenty of parking. You may fish at the lake without a state license, but please don't feed the ducks and geese.
58 miles to the entrance--a long day trip, but you can't miss it! Walk/bike/float/watch climbers on El Cap in the valley, or pick a day hike. If you plan in advance, you can hike Half Dome. Visits to Tuolumne Meadow, any of the Giant Sequoia groves, and the Ahwahnee are highlights as well!
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Yosemiten kansallispuisto
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58 miles to the entrance--a long day trip, but you can't miss it! Walk/bike/float/watch climbers on El Cap in the valley, or pick a day hike. If you plan in advance, you can hike Half Dome. Visits to Tuolumne Meadow, any of the Giant Sequoia groves, and the Ahwahnee are highlights as well!
Gorgeous high country mountain meadow. Horseback riding, hiking, and sitting by the river are top attractions. An hours' drive from Ridgetop Retreat.
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Kennedy Meadows
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Gorgeous high country mountain meadow. Horseback riding, hiking, and sitting by the river are top attractions. An hours' drive from Ridgetop Retreat.
Local skiing when the snow is good!
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Dodge Ridge Ski Resort
1 Dodge Ridge Road
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Local skiing when the snow is good!
Boating, swimming, fishing.
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New Melones Lake
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Boating, swimming, fishing.
Scenic trail through the woods in Sonora.
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Dragoon Gulch Trail Head
680 Woods Creek Drive
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Scenic trail through the woods in Sonora.
Explore the caves and/or zipline!
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Moaning Caverns Adventure Park
5350 Moaning Cave Road
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Explore the caves and/or zipline!
Stately "Big Trees" --short or long walks among the giants. Park provides snowshoes on Saturdays for winter walks through the trees. Check their website.
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Calaveras Big Trees State Park
1170 California 4
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Stately "Big Trees" --short or long walks among the giants. Park provides snowshoes on Saturdays for winter walks through the trees. Check their website.
many beautiful hikes in this vast wild space--just an hour away.
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Emigrant Wilderness
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many beautiful hikes in this vast wild space--just an hour away.
A lovely walk or mountain bike ride along an old railroad bed. beautiful views. Open year-round, but go early on summer days.
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West Side Trail
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A lovely walk or mountain bike ride along an old railroad bed. beautiful views. Open year-round, but go early on summer days.
Peaceful walk along historic ditch, among mountain evergreens.
The Ditch & Flumes
24144-24122 Forest Route 4N01
Peaceful walk along historic ditch, among mountain evergreens.

Food scene

American Fare that always pleases.
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Diamondback Grill
93 South Washington Street
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American Fare that always pleases.
Great local coffee and smoothie spot.
Day O Espresso 3
20705 Soulsbyville Road
Great local coffee and smoothie spot.
Delicious Thai food.
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Sonora Thai Cuisine
51 South Washington Street
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Delicious Thai food.
Fun spot to browse and grab a big scoop of ice cream
Legends Books, Antiques & Soda Fountain
131 South Washington Street
Fun spot to browse and grab a big scoop of ice cream
Local Breakfast and lunch spot.
Papa's New Roost
20049 California 108
Local Breakfast and lunch spot.
Gas station serving up good burgers and delicious fries. Gas is expensive, but the food is pretty good. Just down the hill from Ridgetop Retreat.
Outpost
20661 Soulsbyville Road
Gas station serving up good burgers and delicious fries. Gas is expensive, but the food is pretty good. Just down the hill from Ridgetop Retreat.
Fresh apples, delicious bakery and cafe (with gluten free options), train , adorable play structure, and farm animals. a perfect outing, especially for families with young children, and just a 10 minute drive from Ridgewood Retreat.
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Cover's Apple Ranch
19211 Cherokee Road
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Fresh apples, delicious bakery and cafe (with gluten free options), train , adorable play structure, and farm animals. a perfect outing, especially for families with young children, and just a 10 minute drive from Ridgewood Retreat.

Entertainment

High-caliber local productions worth booking.
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Sierra Repertory Theatre
13891 Mono Way
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High-caliber local productions worth booking.
Live shows with headliners
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Ironstone Amphitheatre
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Live shows with headliners
Creative group activity! Private bookings available.
Brush & Cork
246 East Jackson Street
Creative group activity! Private bookings available.

Sightseeing

Stake Historic Park for a flavor of California's Gold Rush. Pan for gold, ride a stagecoach, watch a blacksmith, guzzle some sarsparilla, bowl in a vintage bowling alley (for free), enjoy the museum, and catch some history from a docent. But most of all, make sure you stop by Columbia Candy Kitchen--especially at Christmas-time--to see how giant candy canes are made. Columbia regularly hosts events that are gold country visit highlights. Check their calendar.
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Columbia State Historic Park
11255 Jackson Street
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Stake Historic Park for a flavor of California's Gold Rush. Pan for gold, ride a stagecoach, watch a blacksmith, guzzle some sarsparilla, bowl in a vintage bowling alley (for free), enjoy the museum, and catch some history from a docent. But most of all, make sure you stop by Columbia Candy Kitchen--especially at Christmas-time--to see how giant candy canes are made. Columbia regularly hosts events that are gold country visit highlights. Check their calendar.
Amazing vintage steam locomotives (including some movie stars), and a working roundhouse. Excursion train rides and a Christmastime Polar Express.
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Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
10501 Reservoir Road
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Amazing vintage steam locomotives (including some movie stars), and a working roundhouse. Excursion train rides and a Christmastime Polar Express.
Gold rush town with local shopping, dining, and some fun old buildings. Museum is worth a visit. Don't miss the Motherlode Parade on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, and the Christmas Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
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Sonora
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Gold rush town with local shopping, dining, and some fun old buildings. Museum is worth a visit. Don't miss the Motherlode Parade on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, and the Christmas Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Scenic picnic spot and lookout point along highway 108--about 45 minutes from Ridgetop Retreat. Scamper around the rocks, survey fire damage from the 2018 Dardanelle fire, and view the sparkling Relief reservoir below.
Dardanelle
Scenic picnic spot and lookout point along highway 108--about 45 minutes from Ridgetop Retreat. Scamper around the rocks, survey fire damage from the 2018 Dardanelle fire, and view the sparkling Relief reservoir below.

City/town information

Cute town with fun restaurants and shops. Best of all is the park near the library with a shallow creek running through it. Perfect for a warm summer afternoon picnic.
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Murphys
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Cute town with fun restaurants and shops. Best of all is the park near the library with a shallow creek running through it. Perfect for a warm summer afternoon picnic.
Beautiful mountain town just 5 miles from Ridgetop Retreat. Good food, fun shops, golf and disc golf, closest full-service grocery store, a cute park, and possibly the most beautiful tennis courts in the world.
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Twain Harte
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Beautiful mountain town just 5 miles from Ridgetop Retreat. Good food, fun shops, golf and disc golf, closest full-service grocery store, a cute park, and possibly the most beautiful tennis courts in the world.

Food Scene

Delicious, unique Mexican fare, with outdoor seating along an historic gold mining waterway.
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El Arroyo Cantina & Mexican Kitchen
126 South Washington Street
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Delicious, unique Mexican fare, with outdoor seating along an historic gold mining waterway.

Kaupunkia koskevat ohjeet

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Summer Farmers Markets

Friday evenings and Saturday mornings
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Yosemite

During the summer, passes are required to enter the park. And if you plan to hike Half Dome, you will need a pass as well. Get passes at nps.gov. If you don't have a pass, you may be able to ride the YARTS bus into the park.
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Don't miss Columbia State Historic park

Check their calendar for special events--but it's always worth a visit.
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Second Saturday Art Night in Sonora

Rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy music and art every second Saturday night on Washington Street in Sonora.