Yay! I’m FINALLY sharing my Southern Yosemite Travel Guide!
We are frequent visitors of Yosemite National Park and plan a camping trip at least 1-2 times a year (spring and fall). We drive up on Hwy 41 (south entrance) and usually stop in Oakhurst for gas and a quick bite to eat. This time, we went up a few days early to actually explore the Southern Yosemite Madera County area including Coarsegold, Oakhurst, Fish Camp and Bass Lake!
I had no idea what to expect but after the amazing trip we had, we are already planning to come back to visit JUST this area. I had no idea that there were so many amazing places to eat and so many fun things to do and see. We experienced a lot of firsts on this trip, which was exciting! Since we’ve been to Yosemite so many times, we’ve pretty much done it all. Being in a new area and trying to new things brought about so much excitement and really laid the foundation for the rest of the trip.
I’m so excited to share my Southern Yosemite Travel Guide with you!
Southern Yosemite Travel Guide
Where to Stay in Southern Yosemite
YOSEMITE RV RESORT
The Yosemite RV Resort is located in Coarsegold, CA (right before Oakhurst on HWY 41) and offers so many different accommodations! From cabins and yurts to RV and tent camping sites, it really has something for everyone.
For this visit, we stayed in a yurt! This was first time ever in a yurt but it definitely won’t be my last. It was much roomier than I thought it would be. The space is open and includes a queen size bed, bunk beds, futon, dining table, mini fridge, microwave, lamps, storage and plenty of extra blankets, towels, etc. There is also AC and heat, a full length mirror, windows and a skylight with a fan. The site also includes a fire pit, grill and picnic table. There is no bathroom or shower in the yurt but they are located close by (ours was literally just down the driveway).
One my concerns when booking was whether or not there were outlets. Since I travel with multiple cameras, phone and laptop, outlets are necessary. I was thrilled to see that there were plenty around the yurt. I also wasn’t sure about the bathroom/shower situation but it was much easier than I thought it would be. It was located right next to the yurt and we were actually the only people using it. It was SO clean and well taken care of. The showers were roomy, clean and had plenty of warm water.
The yurt itself is really roomy! There is definitely enough space for 5 people. The bed was really comfortable and having the AC/heat was such a treat, especially if you are used to tent camping. I also loved that there was a fridge and microwave for our yummy leftovers 🙂
The property itself is huge! There is a lot of space and it’s absolutely beautiful! There are several picnic areas, a gift shop, a dog park and a seasonal pool. The property is clean and well-maintained. The staff was also amazing and was very quick to answer any questions I had.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience! We loved glamping in the yurt and are already planning a trip back with our family.
Address: 34094 CA-41, Coarsegold, CA 93614
Where to Eat in Southern Yosemite
EL CID MEXICAN RESTAURANT
El Cid Mexican Restaurant was our first stop on this trip. I had shredded chicken tacos and my husband had a bean burrito with rice and bean. The food was delicious, especially the salsa (I’m such a salsa person haha). The service was quick and the servers were very friendly. They also have a really pretty view of the mountains from the window!
Address: 41939 A-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
SOUTHGATE BREWING COMPANY
We loved everything about Southgate Brewing Company! The music, atmosphere, food and drinks were amazing! I’m not typically a beer drinker but they brew their own so I did a little tasting. I tried the Cranberry Seltzer, Honey Badger and Amber Lager and was surprised at how good they were! I also tried the Blackberry Cider and it was incredible! We ordered steak frites for our appetizer and it was seriously the most delicious thing ever. For our entrees, my husband and I both ordered the BBQ burgers with onion rings. I had a side of homemade vegetable soup and my husband had the fries. Everything was incredible! The burger was so juicy, the fries were great and the vegetable soup was delicious. The service was also incredible with friendly and attentive servers. This was definitely one of my favorite stops. We can’t wait to come back here!
Address: 40233 Enterprise Dr, Oakhurst, CA 93644
WILD FIG KITCHEN
For breakfast, we went to Wild Fig Kitchen in Coarsegold right down the street from the RV Resort. This place is adorable! I really loved the decor and they had a cute space for both indoor and outdoor seating. I ordered a breakfast burrito with egg whites and my husband ordered French Toast. We also shared a side of bacon, country potatoes and orange juice. My burrito was HUGE and everything was delicious! This was actually my husband’s favorite place!
Address: 35300 CA-41, Coarsegold, CA 93614
DUCEY’S ON THE LAKE
We went to dinner at Ducey’s on the Lake at the Pines Resort after one of our hikes. This restaurant is pretty much right on the lake so the views were gorgeous, especially at sunset. The atmosphere was more upscale and very nice. The meal started off with bread and garlic butter. Sadly, I can’t eat bread so I didn’t have any but my husband said it was really good! We also had chili and let me say that this was probably the best chili I’ve ever had. It was SOOOO good! For our entrees, I had the steakhouse burger with truffle fries and my husband had the New York steak with mashed potatoes and bacon mac n cheese. Everything was absolutely incredible! The burger and truffle fries were perfect! The steak was amazing as well. We will definitely be back!
Address: 54432 Rd 432, Bass Lake, CA 93604
Our last morning in the area was pretty busy since we were getting ready to head into Yosemite National Park. Glow Juicery was our choice for a quick breakfast on the go. I had the Sierra Starburst and my husband had the Orange Creamsicle. We both really love smoothies and these were a delicious choice for our busy morning. They also have acai bowls – this is on my list for next time!
Address: 40044 CAA-49 b2, Oakhurst, CA 93644
What to Do in Southern Yosemite
REIMER’S CANDY SHOP
We stopped in at Reimer’s for some candy, chocolate, candied apples and home-made ice cream! The shop had nostalgic 1950s look and had so may different sweet treats, gifts and souvenirs. We tried several things, which were all delicious but my favorite was the ice cream. My husband had the Strawberry Cheesecake Flavor and I had the Strawberry Banana Sorbet. Plus the sorbet is dairy free – I was so surprised and excited to find a dairy free option for me! The store service was amazing and we loved this place so much that we actually came back for a second visit before heading up the mountain.
Address: 41969 CA-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
YOSEMITE MOUNTAIN SUGAR PINE RAILROAD
We spent a half a day at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. We’ve driven by this place so many times over the years and have always wanted to stop but just never made the time to do it. I’m SO glad that we did this time because it was honestly one of the highlights from our time in the area. We went gold panning, something I haven’t done since I was a kid. It was so much fun to learn more about the area and the process of gold panning. Plus we took home a little souvenir from our gold panning adventure 😉
We also rode the old steam train! We meandered through the forest and took in the gorgeous fall colors. It was truly a magical experience. The whole thing lasted about an hour, which was actually longer than I was expecting (in a good way). We stopped mid way through for a break and then headed back to the station where we had a delicious picnic lunch (an add on for your ticket) and did some souvenir shopping at the gift shop. My husband took some incredible photos of the train and then we finished up our time at the museum. It honestly couldn’t be more perfect! We could have stayed here all day. In fact, we are planning to take our family back here on our next trip! There’s just so much to see!
Address: 56001 CA-41, Fish Camp, CA 93623
YOSEMITE AXE THROWING
Before heading into the park, we stopped at Yosemite Axe Throwing. A few of our family members drove up early to join us and it was seriously so much fun! None of us had never thrown an axe before and they taught us everything that we needed to know in order to do it safely. It was pretty tricky at first but once I had some practice, I actually made a few bull eye’s and kill shots! They have both an indoor and outdoor area and this place would be amazing for a party or to just enjoy for an hour or two. I loved it so much and can’t wait to go back! SO much fun!!
Address: 40761 CA-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
WAY OF THE MONO TRAIL BASS LAKE
This was our actually first time in the Bass Lake area so we decided to explore a bit. The Way of the Mono Trail was recommended to us by Yosemite Madera and we really enjoyed it! This is one mile loop that offers gorgeous views of Bass Lake. It also includes a bit of history on the area so you can read as you walk or trudge full force to the top! I definitely recommend good footwear since it’s not paved and changes elevation. For those of you wondering… yes I did do this in a dress LOL! However, I’m always prepared for an adventure so I had my hiking shoes 😉 You can find trailhead parking across the street from Little Denver Church Picnic Area.
LEWIS CREEK TRAIL – CORLIEU FALLS
On our way to Yosemite National Park, we stopped at the Lewis Creek Trail 1 for a hike to Corlieu Falls. This was a really pretty hike that took us down to a waterfall. Honestly, I had no idea it was even here! I wasn’t expecting the steep decline so I hiked in a skirt and hiking shoes but I would definitely recommend normal activewear (GOOD footwear and hiking clothing). This is unpaved and there weren’t many signs so I would google it beforehand, especially since there is a secondary trail in this area. I also didn’t see many signs on the trail leading to the falls so if this is your first visit, I recommend hiking with a friend and allowing a bit of extra time. Anddd don’t get it confused with the Lewis Creek Recreation Trailhead. We made that mistake lol. Similar name, completely different trail.
Overall, we had an INCREDIBLE experience and can’t wait to go back! If you’ll be in the Southern Yosemite area, make sure you put these on your list. Visit Yosemite Madera County also has a lot of fun ideas as well! If you’d like to see a firsthand look at all of these places along with the last half of our trip where we explore Yosemite National Park, make sure to watch my vlog below!
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