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Yosemite Area Communities

As you read through this website, you'll learn that Madera County is a land of diversity, encompassing fertile fields in the valley on up to soaring mountains in the eastern half of the county. Throughout, you'll find cities and towns with attractions and activities just as varied.

Our Communities

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Ahwahnee is another small mountain community, located west of Oakhurst on Highway 49. Several popular bed and breakfasts are located in Ahwahnee. Stay here and be away from it all, while still just moments from restaurants, shopping and only half an hour to the southern entrance in to Yosemite.

Bass Lake

A sapphire gem in the mountains, Bass Lake is a popular vacation spot. A beautiful hotel, spacious cabins, campgrounds and vacation rentals ranging from rustic to luxurious are all found in Bass Lake, as well as the Pines Village, a fun shopping center. There you can experience many fun events, such as the regular craft fairs, the annual Antique and Classic Wooden Boat show and an upcoming triathlon. Perhaps the biggest event is the annual fireworks display on July 4, an amazing spectacle of light and color above the lake.


Chowchilla is Madera County's second incorporated city. A western town in many ways, at no time is this more evident than each April when they hold the Western Stampede, where countless cattle are herded down the city's main street in an amazing spectacle. Each May you'll have a blast at the Madera County Fair, held at the county fairgrounds in Chowchilla, another fun way to experience Madera County.


Located at the intersection of Raymond Road and Highway 41 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is Coarsegold. As the name may suggest, Coarsegold was a gold rush town, after coarse nuggets were found in a nearby stream. Today the community is home to the largest Indian casino in Central California, a charming bed and breakfast and historic museum and numerous special events like the popular Peddlers Fair each Memorial and Labor Day, and the annual rodeo and Tarantula Festival.

Fish Camp

The northernmost attractions in Madera County are in Fish Camp. Here you'll find the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road, a popular historic trek on a Shay locomotive. Fish Camp is also home to a very popular inn and restaurant next door to the railroad, making it a great spot to stay. Fish Camp is also the closest community to the entrance to Yosemite, and a wonderful retreat for those looking to escape summer heat.


Madera is the seat of the county that share's its name. The largest city in the county, you will find museums, an art gallery, great food and excellent hotels. Madera isn't just part of California's Gateway to Yosemite, but it's an excellent place to stay and explore much of central California. From the beaches to the west to the giant sequoias to the east, it's placement along several main highways makes it an ideal place to stay and play. The Madera region is also home to many of the wineries along the Madera Wine Trail, and a great spot for exploring the agricultural tourism opportunities, or "agri-tourism," for those who have never experienced life on a farm.

Madera Ranchos

Madera Ranchos is a small community east of Madera. The Ranchos, as it is often referred to by locals, is well known for its famous founders, Jack Haley who played the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, and Jackie Gleason. Many streets are named after Hollywood stars of the time, reflecting their connection to Tinsel Town.

North Fork

Located "In the middle of it all," North Fork is the exact center of California. A charming mountain town, it has a motel and a guest ranch, and is a popular kick off point for the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. It also boasts a tribal museum and fun restaurants and more. Annual events include the Mid Sierra Loggers Jamboree each July and the North Fork Fall Festival each October.


North and east of Madera Ranchos is O'Neals, another small town, located in the foothills. O'Neals remained a quiet community while other neighbors experienced booms thanks to logging or the discovery of gold. Today, O'Neals holds a popular stop along the Madera Wine Trail, as its home to a vineyard and winery.


Just a few miles up Highway 41 from Coarsegold is Oakhurst, the largest of the unincorporated communities in Madera County. Oakhurst is home to several hotels, bed and breakfasts as well as central California's only five star restaurant, numerous art galleries and several museums. Oakhurst is even home to the newest winery along the Madera Wine Trail. Enjoy popular annual events such as the Run for the Gold Car Show, Chocolate and Wine festival and many more. Browse the gift shops, or see if you can find all the carved bears throughout the community.

Oakhurst Centennial

Oakhurst celebrated its centennial in 2012! From Fresno Flats to the bustling town of Oakhurst we see today, Oakhurst has many stories of its rich history.  Visit www.Oakhurst100.com to learn more.


Out west is Raymond, a historic hamlet that was once the last stop for pretty much any person on their way to Yosemite in the 1800s. A historic museum in Raymond puts that history on display, and even offers walking tours of the historic community each year.

Find great Southern Yosemite Area travel advice on TripAdvisor.