Madera County notches into Yosemite National Park via Highway 41, segments of which are included on an 87-mile scenic loop known as the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. If you’re up for adventure, solitude or crystal-fresh air, you’ll find it in abundance here in the 1.3-million-acre Sierra National Forest, where blue sky, granite peaks, sapphire water and fun are the keywords.
Outside the national park, Bass Lake, east of Oakhurst, is the county’s major resort area and has been for more than a century. Miller’s Landing Resort and the The Forks Resort are two major presences on the lake, and both are dog-friendly. Don’t have a boat of your own? Rent a pontoon boat at Miller’s for a lazy day exploring the lake—with Fido on board of course. For lunch be sure to stop by Crab Cakes Restaurant in Oakhurst, just minutes from Bass Lake.
Another overnight option for you and your four-pawed companion is Queen’s Inn by the River, situated on a tranquil 5.5 acres just five miles from Bass Lake off Highway 41. The inn’s wine and beer garden is a great place to chill with your pooch while you sample the produce from Idle Hour Winery next door. Need dog food or supplies? You’ll find what you need at Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply—and if you don’t want to take time out of your busy day, they’ll deliver to your hotel.
Continuing toward Yosemite on Highway 41, put on the brakes in Coarsegold, one of those quirky mountain towns that will put a smile on your face—and perhaps a dent in your wallet. Start with a wander through the free, outdoor Coarsegold Historic Museum, where interpretive information about native Americans, explorers’ search for gold and early homesteaders is provided in three historic buildings. Then, go down the road to the Coarsegold Historic Village, an Old West-themed community of shops for local artists and services. You’ll find everything here from crafter collectives to antiques, rocks and minerals, collectibles and good, old-fashioned junk.