Sonora Travel Guide

  • Church
    Church
    by Weaslebeee
  • Inside Saloon
    Inside Saloon
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  • Abandoned Car
    Abandoned Car
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Sonora Highlights

  • Pro
    Yaqui profile photo

    Yaqui says…

     I loved all the historic buildings 

  • Con
    Yaqui profile photo

    Yaqui says…

     At the time, I have none 

  • In a nutshell
    Yaqui profile photo

    Yaqui says…

     History still flourishes here 

Sonora Things to Do

  • The Sugg House

    The Sugg House was built in 1857 by William Sugg, a freed slave. The wooden frame was completed in 1880. It was used as a hotel until 1921, when changes in the state law (requiring hot and cold running water in each hotel room) made it close. Nevertheless, the house remained in the Sugg family until 1982. It is now on the National Register of...

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  • The Sonora Opera Hall

    Built in 1885, with money from Sonora's Bonanza Gold Mine, this historic opera house has had its ups and downs over the years. It has been occupied by a number of businesses, including a carpenter shop and a garage. In 1986, the city bought the property and reopened it as an opera house. It's now available for shows and private functions. Call or...

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  • Columbia State Historic Park - Old...

    Just north of Sonora is the old mining town of Columbia. Now just a small community, Columbia was one of the most significant towns of California's gold-mining era and the Gold Rush. At one point in the 1850s it was one of the largest communities in California, butl although it stayed fairly important for a few years, its greatness was very brief...

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  • Downtown Sonora

    Sonora is a great old Gold-Rush city with a large downtown containing some impressive buildings. It is attractive and lively, the "old" town but still the centre of local entertainment, commerce, government, etc.

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  • Photo oppurtunities

    Highway 108 is closed, usually at the first snowfall of the year, at a point east of Strawberry. The highway re-opens again in April. There can be as much as 12 feet of snow along side the road after the highway re-opens. Sonora Pass is the most beautiful on earth...

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  • Walk Along Main Street and Admire the...

    Sonora is one of the finest examples of a mining town in the Sierra Nevada, perhaps being only surpassed by the great Nevada City. As walk along the main street look at the turrets and gingerbread work on the buildings, a sure sign of deep pocket construction during its 19th century heyday.

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  • Descent from Sonora Pass

    The descent from Sonora Pass is the scenic pinnacle of the Sonora Pass drive. The road winds through forests and open, green, lush meadows backed by magnificent snow-capped peaks. There are two large meadows on this section of road; it is possible to park on the side of the road where the shoulder is somewhat wider. Also note that this part of the...

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  • Sonora Pass

    At 9628 feet (2900 meters) above sea level, Sonora Pass is the second highest highway pass in California. Sitting on the Sierra Crest, the pass was first used as a route across the Sierra for wagon trains bound from Mono County's mines to the western side of the Sierra Nevada. Today it is the point where Hwy 108 crests in the Sierra. The scenery...

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  • Driving towards Sonora Pass

    Past the Columns of the Giants, the Sonora Pass continues climbing through forest. Eventually, views of snowcapped peaks appear, and the road emerges from forest. The road climbs continuously towards Sonora Pass; not far from the pass, it passes cirques, sharp peaks, and a beautiful alpine meadow.

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  • Columns of the Giants

    Stanislaus National Forest's Columns of the Giants is one of the more famous attractions on the Sonora Pass Highway. The Columns of the Giants resulted from volcanic activity, which left these pentagonal and hexagonal columns; this formation resembles the more famous Devils Postpile. But unlike the Devils Postpile, the Columns of the Giants are...

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  • Dardanelles

    The road to Sonora Pass (Hwy 108) starts in Sonora, CA, in the foothills. The road quickly begins winding deep into the mountains, passing small settlements like Strawberry. The first attraction on Hwy 108 is the Dardanelles, a set of sharp peaks that supposedly resemble the peaks at the Dardanelles Straits in Europe. When I was on Hwy 108, the...

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  • Jamestown

    Three miles away from Sonora is Jamestown, another historic Gold Rush town. This was the site of the first gold strike in Tuolomne County, by Col. George James in June of 1848. He was the toast of the town. However, he eventually departed, leaving behind many big debts. Attempts to rename the town failed, since the US Post Office had already listed...

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Sonora Hotels

See all 9 Hotels in Sonora

Sonora Restaurants

  • Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain

    The full name of this place is "Legends Books, Antiques & Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain because it is a soda fountain in an antique store specializing in books.The place was once a saloon and it still has an old, 19-cnetury carved wooden bar with brass fixtures that adds to the charm of the place. It's also a great place to go to treat (and appease)...

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  • Pablito's: A Margarita for Every Taste

    Pablito's is a popular Mexican restaurant and bar. I didn't try the food, but had to try a few of the many flavors of margaritas on the menu. It has so many, with exotic flavors, that you'd have a hard time sampling them all in one sitting. I can't remember which margarita I liked best. After having several or more, the rest of the evening is just...

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  • Sonora Hotels

    9 Hotels in Sonora

    364 Reviews and Opinions

Sonora Warnings and Dangers

  • Weaslebeee's Profile Photo

    by Weaslebeee Written Feb 17, 2012

    As a resident of Sonora for over a decade I, like many others, underestimate the dangers of driving in Tuolumne County. There are not many street lights so it gets very dark. The roads twist and turn often, and if you aren't careful you may find yourself going head on into an embankment or over a cliff. In addition to unpredictable roads, there are deer, raccoons, and other critters that tend to wander out onto the highways. A mix of drunk drivers and police pollute the roads at night... Do yourself a favor and drive slow. If you're visiting Sonora, you shouldn't be in a rush to get anywhere anyway.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Camping

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Sonora Off The Beaten Path

  • Wild West Ghost Town

    Located 2hrs 41min east of Sonora and just 12 miles east-southeast of Bridgeport (well worth a nights stay!) is Bodie, California's best preserved ghost town. Bodie began as a mining camp following the discovery of gold in 1859 by a group of prospectors, including W.S. Bodey. It had a population of approximately 5000–7000 people and around 2,000...

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  • Don Pedro Lake

    North of Sonora, on Highway 49, lies Don Pedro Lake. It's between Sonora and Coulterville. A favorite place for boaters, fishermen, and water sports enthusiasts. The mailing address is:DON PEDRO RECREATION AGENCY31 Bonds Flat RoadLa Grange, CA 95329

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  • Columbia State Historic Park

    Want to take a trip back in time to the days of the Old West? This is the place to do it. It is one of the best-preserved Western towns in America, now a state historic park. The park is three miles north of Sonora, off Highway 49.You can try your luck at panning for gold, shop at the Pioneer Emporium, or have a pastry at Devon's Delectables.

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Sonora Sports & Outdoors

  • by Avenge Updated Feb 5, 2004

    45 minutes from downtown Sonora is the local ski resort Dodge Ridge. There are few advanced runs (except chairs 7&8), but it's a good hill and you'll have a good time.

    Equipment: Recommend either renting from the Dodge Ridge ski lodge or as you drive up there are a one or two rental places on the side of the road as you near the resort. You can't miss the rental signs.

    Related to:
    • Skiing and Boarding
    • Family Travel

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