Like other parts of Gold Country extending into the High Sierra, Tuolumne County is rich in rugged scenery. It’s also a great place to learn about the colorful and convoluted history of a region that today is cherished for its hiking, fishing, river-rafting, camping and sightseeing opportunities. Columbia State Historic Park and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, a stone’s throw from each other in the neighboring towns of Columbia and Jamestown, should be at the top of the list for families—and that includes Fido, of course.
There’s plenty of browsing to be done in Columbia, the “Gold Rush town that refused to die.” City kids have a blast panning for gold, dressing up in 19th-century costumes, sipping sarsaparilla and sampling the goods from an old-fashioned candy kitchen. Ample picnic grounds are available for enjoying takeout from Columbia restaurants, and both parking and docent-led town tours are free.
Bring Fido along for a ride aboard a rumbling stagecoach before heading over to Railtown, an outdoor museum where he can accompany you both on the grounds and on steam-train excursions along the “Movie Railroad” that has starred in many a Hollywood film and television show.