Mariposa CA: Historic Gateway to Yosemite

  • Mariposa's historic and well-preserved main street

    Travel Through Time, On Highway 49

    The old mining town of Mariposa is the perfect place to begin an adventure into Yosemite National Park. Not only does the town exude charm and historical significance, it offers a wide option of overnight accommodations and amenities a mere 40-minute drive to Yosemite Valley. Despite its modern conveniences, Mariposa offers its visitors a true sense of history that is kept alive by town citizens dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of this pristine Gold Rush town. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • From Gold to God in Historic Mariposa

    Right after the message that there was "Gold in them thar hills" made its way over the international telegraph lines, prospectors from all over the world descended upon this region of California in search of a quick fortune. The Mariposa mine continued to crank out gold, and in five short years, Mariposa evolved from a tent mining camp to a city of several thousand people. While wagon trains pulled in supplies, a church was built above town to tend to the residents' spiritual needs.

    Photo courtesy of Mariposa County Visitors Bureau

  • St. Joseph's Catholic Church celebrates 150 years.

    St. Joseph's Church Celebrates 150 Years

    The classic church on the hill, built in 1863, still has a devout following among Mariposa's townspeople. Descendants of immigrant gold mining families from Italy, Poland, Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Ireland, England, China and numerous other countries still make their home in Mariposa today.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Gold Coin Bar & Tavern, Mariposa California

    Mariposa's Oldest Building Serves Up History & Comfort Food

    The Fremont Adobe is Mariposa's oldest building, erected in 1850 as the office of visionary John C. Fremont, who laid out the town's original street grid. It housed many types of establishments over the decades, serving as a bakery, dry goods store, jewelry shop and saloon. Today, the building harbors the Gold Coin Bar & Tavern, where guests can enjoy hearty food and drink in the shadow of striking murals painted in the 1890's depicting maritime scenes. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Gold Coin Bar & Tavern

  • Relaxing over a craft beer at the Prospectus Brewing Company

    Raise a Glass at Mariposa's Microbrewery

    Although steeped in history, Mariposa still offers the visitor a taste of the 21st Century lifestyle. The Prospectus Brewery Company is the product of five Northern California families that have worked together for years to bring a unique craft brewery to the region. The microbrewery offers a wide variety of signature craft beers and is a favorite gathering spot for visitors and locals alike, especially after enjoying a day in Yosemite National Park. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Prospectus Brewing Company

  • Soar over the Sierra foothills on a Mariposa zipline.

    Get Your Zip On

    For the adrenaline seekers, the Yosemite Zipline Adventure offers a unique soaring experience through the Sierra foothills. Even neophytes to ziplining will enjoy this activity, as the six courses start easy and gradually work up to greater heights and views. The "Motherload," nearly 1,000 ft. long, soars over tree tops and across a deep ravine. For a nominal fee, less adventurous companions can ride along in an ATV to watch their partners in action.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Yosemite Zipline Adventures

  • Mariposa Old Stone Jail

    Jail House Rock, Mariposa-Style

    The gold rush frenzy brought its share of criminals to town. Built in 1858 from granite blocks, the two-story, perfectly-preserved Mariposa Old Stone Jail is another "step-back-in-time" experience. Tours of the jail are not scheduled, but hit-and-miss. If you get lucky, you'll see the austere rooms where prisoners were housed. Don't miss the graffiti on the walls, scrawled by actual prisoners over the decades. The building served as the town jail until 1963.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Shopping is a favorite activity when visiting Mariposa.

    Shop the Historic Block

    Shopping in Mariposa is a delightful experience, as you have your choice of a wide variety of stores lining the streets of this historic town, offering items that transcend the centuries. Antiques abound, of course, but you can also find mementos of your trip at specialty boutiques that sell designer jewelry, pottery, clothing, and crafts from local artisans.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Mariposa offers a variety of dining options.

    Eat, Drink, Be Merry in Mariposa

    Despite its size, Mariposa boasts a surprisingly eclectic dining scene, ranging from down home Western barbecue fare to international cuisine. Trendy dining spots as well as rustic restaurants in historic buildings line the streets of town, offering menus to satisfy every palate. Located a few miles outside of Mariposa, travelers from around the world flock to the Cafe at the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort for its healthy, innovative cuisine and rustic ambiance.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Hornitos Cemetery

    Contemplate the Past at Hornitos Cemetery

    You'll find the “ghost town” of Hornitos (though it still has a population of 75) just a few miles outside Mariposa. Perched on a hill above town, a pioneer graveyard offers a sobering look at the lives and deaths of the town’s early inhabitants who came here from far and wide in search of the mother lode. It once housed a large population of Italian immigrants. Ruins of the store where the famous chocolatier Domenico Ghiradelli got his start before moving to San Francisco, still remain.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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