Top Reasons to Visit Sonora Inn
- Built in 1896 as a Victorian hotel, this historic bed and breakfast in the Sierra Nevada foothills has since been remodeled in the California Mission style, with Spanish tiled roofs and arched walkways.
- The property has welcomed a number of Hollywood starlets over the years, including Drew Barrymore, who stayed here during the filming of Bad Girls, and actress and former Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly.
- Newly remodeled in 2012, guest rooms have new carpeting, new beds, and flat-screen TVs. Floral linens and white shutters retain the rooms’ elegant country style.
- The hotel is 5 miles from Columbia State Historic Park, where visitors can experience the former mining town’s gold-rush-era heyday by making candles, panning for gold, and riding through town on a horse-drawn carriage.
- There are fishing creeks and golf courses tucked amid the mountain landscape.
- Sonora’s historic main street is lined with antique shops, bakeries, and gourmet wine bars. The hotel is also about an hour from Yosemite National Park.
Sonora, California: Former Gold-Mining Town Close to Yosemite National Park
Located about two hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area is Sonora, a small town tucked along the Sierra Nevada in California’s Gold Country. Learn about the area’s gold-rush history at the nearby Columbia State Historic Park, which contains buildings from the 1850s, a century-old stagecoach, and saloons with sarsaparilla and piano music.
Sonora is about an hour’s drive from Yosemite National Park, the third most visited national park behind the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Spring is one of the best times to see Yosemite’s famed waterfalls, thanks to the snowmelt brought on by warmer weather. Yosemite Falls—a three-tiered waterfall considered the highest in North America—transforms into a thundering cataract each spring. Serious hikers can trek to the top on the strenuous Upper Yosemite Falls trail, which gains 2,700 feet in elevation in just 3.5 miles.
Though much of the park is covered in snow through May, springtime has its perks. Stroll the 5-mile loop around Mirror Lake, which seasonally dries up and becomes a meadow. In the spring, it’s full of water reflecting one of the park’s most iconic geologic formations: the granite Half Dome.