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Blog The Ultimate Summer Hiking Guide for Oakhurst
Ciara Turner-Ewert | 05/01/2023Hiking, Outdoor Activities, Trails |   

The Ultimate Summer Hiking Guide for Oakhurst

Summer has arrived in Oakhurst, California and there’s no better time to plan an epic hiking excursion. With excellent weather conditions, thawed out swimming holes, and sunshine for days, Oakhurst offers hikers a plethora of inspiring hiking adventures along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Nestled just outside the town you’ll find Giant Sequoias hailing from the glorious Nelder Grove, a stunning scenic byway rigged with vistas, and fascinating rock formations.

Here’s some of the best hiking spots I recommend exploring during the summer.   

Fresno Dome

Located about a 45 minute drive north of Oakhurst is Fresno Dome. This hiking trail was my first introduction to the beautiful city of Oakhurst since it’s the best footpath for witnessing panoramic views of the area. Wave hello to the city as you climb and hike 1.5 miles out-and-back. The path starts in a forested field, then passes through a lovely meadow before its steep ascent across a barren rocky hill.

After the heart-pumping climb you’ll find sweeping views at the top and a great place for a summer picnic. Walk around the 7,539 foot dome, relax, and take in the scenic view of the conifers and the Soquel Meadow.

Marker for the Geographic Center of California in North Fork

Yup, you read that right! Located about 14 miles from Oakhurst is the precise geographical center of California. While it requires more driving than hiking, this is a must-see summer stop for avid hikers. In winter this area gets pretty cold, making summer the ideal time to visit.

Park along the side of the road, then follow the small staircase up to the flat cemented area with an engraved plaque. Then voila, you’re standing at the geographical center of California!

Summer Oakhurst Hiking Guide

If you’re a fan of summer road trips and small hikes, then you’ll want to check out the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. This is one of the best ways to soak up the vast wilderness of the Sierra National Forest. With roughly 100 miles of open roads, this byway showcases natural attractions away from the bustle of crowds.

Along this high country road you’ll witness breathtaking lookout points, interesting rock formations, off the beaten path hiking trails, giant sequoias from Nelder Grove, and a historic cabin. Stop at the Mile High Overlook to get a panoramic view of the area and a sneak peak at Mammoth Pool. This iconic spot is one of the big reasons the byways' beauty is often compared to that of Yosemite National Park.

Keep in mind that Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias is currently closed due to restoration. It will reopen in 2024, so check here for updates.  

Summer Oakhurst Hiking Guide

I highly recommend stopping at the Jesse Ross Cabin along the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. It’s one of the first stops along the byway and features a historic cabin that was built in the 1860s. Walk along the flat, short trail that stretches through the meadow and tour the cabin grounds to see what it was like living in a cabin back in the 1800s.

Summer Oakhurst Hiking Guide

Globe Rock is an iconic stop on the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. As the name suggests, this natural attraction features a massive spherical rock shaped like a globe. Sculpted by freezing and thawing water, this rock remains one of the most photographed spots along the byway. Walk up the hill to enjoy this natural wonder and if you’re craving a longer hike, feel free to explore the area by foot.

Summer Oakhurst Hiking Guide

Another fascinating rock formation found along the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is Arch Rock. Similar to Globe Rock and Jesse Ross Cabin, there’s a short hike to reach this enchanting natural wonder. Stay alert as you pass Little Jackass Campground as Arch Rock is close by. Pull off on the small turnout to park, then gently descend down the switchbacks on the path until you reach the Arch Rock viewing platform.

Summer Oakhurst Hiking GuideCowboy Tavern Veggie Shephard's Pie 

If you’re looking for a list of the best restaurants to try this summer, I've got you covered. Oakhurst is loaded with mom-and-pop eateries to satisfy your belly after a long summer's hike. Local eateries support the local economy so dining at them is an excellent way to practice sustainable travel since it helps build small town communities.   

In Oakhurst you’ll find burger joints, quaint mountain restaurants, flavorful Mexican food, and ice cream shops meant to take the edge off the summer's heat. There’s even a century-old establishment — Jones Store — that opens up just in time for the summer crowd, dishing out some tasty BBQ food!

  • Casa Velasco Mexican Food (Address: 54311 Road 432, Bass Lake, CA, 93604) Hands up if youre craving Mexican food after a day well spent outdoors. If your hand's raised high, Casa Velasco Mexican Food is calling your name. This cozy restaurant is located at Bass Lake and serves up tacos, burritos, fajitas, and more. If you’re a vegan traveler, this is one of my favorite go-to spots in the area.   
  • Glow Café (Address: 40044 CA-49 b2, Oakhurst, CA 93644)— One of the best quick breakfast spots in Oakhurst is Glow Café. Their menu features an impressive list of homemade smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and more. Since their recent expansion, this eatery also offers veggie burgers, tri-tip sandwiches, and lots of other goodies. If you’re grabbing breakfast at your hotel, not a problem. Pop by Glow Café for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up!
  • Bee's Bakery Cafe (Address: 40250 Junction Dr., Oakhurst, CA 93644) Perfect for folks looking to get an early start to the day, Bee's Bakery Cafe serves up breakfast sandwiches, omelets, avocado toast, waffles and pastries and has a full lunch menu with a variety of delicious sandwiches, and has several vegetarian options. The restaurant is open Thursday - Tuesday from 6:30 am - 2:30 pm. 
  • Cowboy Tavern (Closed 2023) (Address: 50552 Rd 632, Oakhurst, CA 93644) For those looking for a great dinner spot, the newly opened Cowboy Tavern at Sierra Sky Ranch offers a peaceful milieu for dining. This western tavern dishes out hefty cowboy staples like cast iron shepherd's pie, but it also offers lighter meals like pan-seared salmon and their signature sweet bell pepper soup. This restaurant is only open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
  • The Gnarly Carrot (Address: 32954 Rd 222, North Fork, CA 93643) Before hopping on the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, head over to The Gnarly Carrot to grab some healthy snacks. This health food store offers smoothies, fresh juices, and local produce, perfect for a road trip. You’ll find zesty nuts, fresh figs, artisanal chocolates, and other handmade goodies locals in the area crafted.
  • Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen (Address: 41139 CA-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644) If you love a top-notch Sunday brunch, then you want to head to Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen located next to the Queen’s Inn By The River. The menu serves Mediterranean-inspired foods that showcase seasonal ingredients. Imagine Kalamata olives, hummus, and cheeseboards as you sip a glass of Pinot Noir with the Fresno River in the distance.
  • Jones Store (Address: 5S07, Bass Lake, CA 93604) Tucked beneath the trees at Beasore Meadows, Jones Store is a one-stop shop for locals wanting to enjoy some yummy BBQ food along the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. Here you’ll find their infamous tri-tip, burgers, and cold beverages. Save room for dessert, as Jones Store is also well-known for their pie covered by a generous mound of ice cream and whip cream.

Oakhurst has an abundance of hotels to choose from. If you’re looking for an intimate, cozy stay with great brunch for the weekend, I highly recommend checking out Queen’s Inn By The River. Rated four stars on Trip Advisor, this accommodation is quietly situated near the Fresno River. On the other hand, if you’re planning early morning starts and craving a massive all you can eat breakfast, consider staying at the Holiday Inn Express. This is great option for anyone traveling with little ones and it’s rated four stars on Trip Advisor.

Ciara is a travel writer, health & wellness writer, certified wellness & transformative travel coach, and a world traveler who’s visited over 30 countries. Her work has been seen in USA Today, Essence, Travel Noire, and many other publications. When she’s not writing for publications or coaching, Ciara is traveling the world with her amazing husband, eating chocolate chip cookies, and writing for a wellness travel blog she founded, Wellness Travel Diaries. On her blog, you’ll find adrenaline-seeking inspiration, outdoorsy adventures, drool-worthy allergy-friendly eats, and tried and true wellness hacks.

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