You’ll need time and fair weather to explore the upper reaches of this diverse county, but we’ll get you started with dog-friendly suggestions in a couple of areas ripe for a fall visit. Sonora
, the county seat, is a great jumping-off point for excursions to nearby Railtown 1897
State Historic Park, where Rover can join you as you ogle the displays and hop into an observation car for a trip on the “Movie Railroad.” Then, drive 15 minutes to Columbia State Historic Park
—where, if you time it to visit between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, you’ll see special exhibits and enjoy music and activities led by costumed volunteers. What could be cuter than a photo of your pup riding in a stagecoach?
the Highway 120 gateway to Yosemite National Park, is another place where California’s Gold Rush history comes alive, and the Groveland Hotel
is almost a destination in itself. The historic structure, which began its career as an adobe trading post built in 1849, is known today for its mile-high feather beds and period decor. Guests with dogs are welcome in all 17 guest rooms and at tables in the garden courtyard. The hotel’s acclaimed Cellar Door restaurant features an extensive and expertly chosen wine list that has received a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence
. Fido might not be impressed by that, but you might be. In inclement weather, you and he can retreat to the bar and have dinner from the restaurant served there.
A word of warning: You might want to put your pup in a crate if you arrive via Highway 120
, which switchbacks up a long grade to reach this picturesque town that gold built. The road commands 100 percent of a driver’s attention—and dogs do get carsick, you know.