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Blog 4 Hidden Gems in Madera County
Alex Silgalis | 06/19/2019Hiking, Museums, History & Culture, Nature, Photography, Waterfalls |   

Four Hidden Gems In Madera County

While most traveler’s beeline to the main attraction, sometimes you need to head off the beaten path. For those repeat travelers and regional visitors who have already seen the most visited locations in Yosemite, here’s four hidden gems in Madera County to consider exploring this year.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway in and of itself is what many consider the “Secret Yosemite.” Opening sometime in the spring after the snow recedes to the snow-capped peaks, the meadows will burst with color. This list of hidden gems could be focused entirely on what exists on this 82.7-mile-long road, such as Mile High Vista or Eagle Beaks. One of the most photographed attractions along the route though is Globe Rock. This geological oddity will have children AND adults dumbfounded. This sphere of rock sits precariously on a granite pedestal looking as if a giant placed it there.

Love Giant Sequoias but looking for more of a secluded, relaxed vibe when taking them in? Look no further than Nelder Grove. Nestled in the Sierra National Forest less than 6 miles (as the raven flies) from Yosemite's south gate, it features over 100 mature sequoias including the Bull Buck tree. Meaning "Boss of the Woods" this titan of trees is older, taller, and thicker at the base than the famous Grizzly Giant (1,800 years) in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove.  

The Bull Buck Tree

Did you know that the town of Oakhurst was originally called “Fresno Flats” when it was founded? In 1856, it started as a farming town and supply center for the lumber and mining industries across the High Sierra. It wasn’t until Mrs. C. Meyers tired of hearing, "Fresno Flats... that's where Charlie robbed the Yosemite Stage!", circulated a petition to change the name to Oakhurst. And in 1912, the rest is history. While the name of the town has changed, you can still experience what life was like back in the nineteenth century by exploring the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park which features a museum built around two restored homes from the 1870s.

Laramore-Lyman House

As the snowmelt transforms the foothills into a luscious canvas, certain parts of the Sierra National Forest come alive. One of these hidden destinations is the Lewis Creek Trail which is also on our list of the 5 lesser known waterfalls in or near Yosemite. This short hike features not one but two lovely cascading falls. The first one, Corlieu Falls, is only 0.5 mile from the trailhead. And the second one, Red Rock Falls, is only a 3-mile round trip jaunt, making it a perfect option for families and folks with less time.

Red Rock Falls, Waterfall, Lewis Creek, Hiking, TrailsRed Rock Falls

If you’re planning to visit Yosemite, your must-see list most likely already includes the popular attractions. Be sure to set aside time to check out some of these lesser-known points of interest in this humble county. You won’t regret it!


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Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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