Known primarily for being the getaway to Yosemite National Park, Mariposa, Mariposa, California is a charming town to visit for those who want to immerse themselves in the best of California’s natural beauty. Avid hikers and outdoor lovers can explore areas like the Horsetail and Fireplace Creek Falls, while those who want to learn about the history of Mariposa’s natural blessings can see the Mariposa Museum and History Center.
1.Mariposa Museum and History Center
© Mariposa Museum and History Center
If you are wondering about what the history of the small town of Mariposa could possibly be, you’ll get all the answers you’re looking and even more amazing stories at the Mariposa Museum and History Center. The museum was founded in 1957 and is a non-profit corporation run by the passion and love of volunteers. Dubbed the “Best Little Museum of Its Size West of the Mississippi” by none other than the Smithsonian Institution, the museum and history center portrays with great detail and authenticity the history and lifestyle of Mariposa County from the era of Native Americans up until the modern age.
5119 Jessie Street, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-2924
2.California State Mining and Mineral Museum
© California State Mining and Mineral Museum
“There’s gold in the hills of California!” It was these words, cried out in 1848, that birthed a massive migration of people into the great interior wilderness of California. One of the greatest repositories of this much sought after gold were in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, in the town of Mariposa. Today, the California State Mining and Mineral Museum showcases the rich history of Mariposa as a mining town as well as the rest of California as a whole. Additionally, the museum teaches all of its visitors the importance of mining not just to the history of California, but the environment and the future of society as well. A trip to the museum is like taking a journey back in time to the height of the mining culture and certainly leaves an impression.
5005 Fairgrounds Road, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-742-7625
3.Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch
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There’s a ton of excitement and adventure to be had at the Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch. Featuring a network of adrenaline pumping ziplines and rope courses, the adventure ranch is a fantastic destination in Mariposa for those who want to test their mettle and courage. One of the greatest draws of the ranch is the 2-hour, six-stage guided tour that brings visitors on and down a total of 7 ziplines. Another draw is the Aerial Adventure Course, which has guest belayed up to the platform where they can begin their exploration of an amazing playground in the sky. The course features 8 different obstacles like the Rickety Bridge, the Giant Cargo Net and the Giant Swing.
Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95228, Phone: 209-742-4844
4.Yosemite Close Up Tours
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If you’re not sure how best to experience all of the beauty that Yosemite has to offer, then you may want to get in touch with Yosemite Close Up Tours. Specializing in small group tours around the Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Close Up Tours differentiates themselves from other tour companies by opting for smaller vans rather than buses to operate. While it means less people in one tour, it also means being able to bring their patrons to much more amazing locations that other large vehicles cannot access. This also means that tours are much more intimate, flexible and will prioritize attractions that pique the interests of the tour party.
5158 CA-140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-8383
5.Butterfly Creek Winery and Vineyards
© Butterfly Creek Winery and Vineyards
California certainly never falls short when it comes to a fantastic bottle of wine and when it comes to the Butterfly Creek Winery, there’s a wealth of spectacular merlot, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and sauvignon blanc wines to sip and enjoy. The Butterfly Creek Winery is located just a short drive from the Yosemite National park and is home to a serene valley full of juicy wine grapes and an abundance of fresh air. Established in 1972, the winery and vineyard enjoys great mountain spring water and zesty Sierra Nevada soil, all of which contributes to the spectacular wine that is produced by the Gerken family.
4063 Triangle Road, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-2097
6.Mariposa County’s Old Stone Jail
© Mariposa County’s Old Stone Jail
Although it is by no means a large attraction, the Mariposa County’s Old Stone Jail is undoubtedly a cultural gem and a special point of interest to see whether you’re just passing through or in Mariposa for an extended vacation. The jail was built in 1858 and features granite blocks that were quarried in an area close to the Mormon Bar. Operational until 1963, the Old Stone Jail has seen its fair share of action with several exciting escapes, the most prolific of which was probably in 1935 when two inmates escaped by somehow cutting rivets, removing an iron plant and working a stone block loose without any outside help.
5012 Bullion Street, Mariposa, California 95338
© Mariposa Marketplace
Whether you’re ready to go on the shopping trip of a lifetime or just want to look for a few trinkets to take back home as memorabilia of your visit to Mariposa, there’s likely no place more ideal to visit than the Mariposa Marketplace. Situated in the historic Trabucco Building, the Mariposa Marketplace is home several different shops spanning across two floors. The shops at the marketplace feature a variety of goods like arts and antiques, collectibles, clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, and more. Curiously, the Mariposa Marketplace also sells Alpaca Products. If you’re not keen on shopping, then come to enjoy the cozy atmosphere and lively scenes that take place within the 4000 square feet of the building.
5024-B Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-7377
8.Mariposa Symphony Orchestra
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Enjoy a classy cultural experience, a stunning performance from expert musicians and a world-class symphonic showcase when stop by the Mariposa Symphonic Orchestra. Playing in several locations in Mariposa such as the Mariposa United Methodist Church and the The Fiester Auditorium of the Mariposa County High School, the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra typically plays a gorgeous selection of classical pieces and prefer performing in unique and intimate settings. The orchestra was first established in 2002 as a modest Mariposa chamber music ensemble and now features 60 professionals museums and boasts of a long history of musical performances in three separate counties.
5009 Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-3155
9.Mariposa Stage Line
© Mariposa Stage Line
Travel back in time to the period of the 1849 Gold Rush with the Mariposa Stage Line. Allowing visitors an authentic experience of the Wild West, the Mariposa Stage Line features a stagecoach ride through a rarely visited area of Mariposa’s Old Town. Located right across the street from the Mariposa Museum and History Center, the Stage Line is drawn by beautiful and majestic horses from within an authentic stage coach. While the ride is definitely an enjoyable one and the driver has a lot of great stories to tell, patrons ought to keep an eye out. After all, the Wild West is a dangerous place and you never know when a band of outlaws or robbers could come stop your carriage in its tracks.
Old Town, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-736-7095
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How would you have fared if you were one of the thousands who tried their luck during the Gold Rush? Well, you won’t have to wonder much longer when you stop by Prospect Yosemite. Families and visitors can come and get their own piece of golden treasure from within the incredible mountains of the Yosemite National Park. One of the most popular activities at Prospect Yosemite are its gold planning and prospecting lessons, where visitors can try their hand at finding gold. Other awesome activities include team building programs and an exciting river snorkeling tour which features 4 hours’ worth of guided snorkeling to learn about the local aquatic wildlife at Yosemite.
4958 13th Street, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-347—6265
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There is arguably no skydive more scenic and breathtaking than Skydive Yosemite. As the only Skydive Center in the world with fantastic views of the Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park, Skydive Yosemite is a popular destination for adrenaline junkies visiting Mariposa. Open to skydivers of all levels of experience, Skydive Yosemite’s main attraction are tandem jumps with a drop zone in the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport on Mt. Bullion Cutoff Road. If high octane jumps aren’t exactly your thing, the Skydive Center also offers scenic flight tours care of Airborrn Aviation, which gives passengers a bird’s eye view of the best sites that Yosemite has to offer.
5020c Macready Way, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-379-5142
12.The House That Dabbles
© The House That Dabbles
There’s no shortage of adrenaline rush-inducing activities at Mariposa. With all of the great heart pumping things you can do, sometimes you just need to take a moment between all of the excitement to do something that is relaxing. When that need strikes, The House That Dabbles has exactly what you’re looking for. Home to an extraordinary gaming experience, The House That Dabbles features a game room that boasts a terrific collection of rare and mainstream games that will have you exercising your brain and engaging in friendly competition. From board games to dice games and collectible card games, there’s a great afternoon instore for all those who visit. Don’t forget to grab a bite or two from the Snack Shack, either.
4996 8th Street, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-3750
13.Airborrn Aviation Services
© Airborrn Aviation Services
If you really want to see Yosemite and the mountain town of Mariposa at its finest, then you need to do it from the air. The Airborrn Aviation Services, a locally owned company based out of the beautiful Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, offers just that - once-in-a-lifetime scenic air tours that circle around the lovely Sierra’s as well as Yosemite National Park. ¬All tours are conducted in Airborrn’s classic Cessna R172K-XP, fondly referred to as Joy, which has comfortable interiors and a maximum capacity of 3 passengers. Spot gorgeous waterfalls, serene lakes and running rivers alongside signature attractions like the El Capitan and the Half Dome, all from a bird’s eye view.
5020 Macready Way, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-2143
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Located in the Happy Isles area of Yosemite Valley, the Silver Apron is one of three major waterfalls in Merced River’s Giant Stairway. Although Silver Apron is largely forgotten and neglected due to the larger waterfalls that surround it, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Getting to the Silver Apron is an adventure in itself as it requires a hike on the John Muir Trail. For those who are eager for a challenge, they can take the Mist Trail the rest of the way. However, for those who want to save their energy, they can continue along the John Muir Trail.
Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California 95338
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Although the Wildcat Falls is one of the lesser known waterfalls of Yosemite, it’s still worth a visit for those who are eager to see everything that the world-class National Park has to offer. When flowing, the Wildcat Falls offers a spectacular look at Mother Nature and makes a beautiful natural landmark to photograph if you get your angles and lighting just right. The Wildcat Falls are located just two and a half miles north of the Arch Rock entrance station. Picnic areas are located nearby and serve as a smart and scenic location to take a break when hikers and adventurers need to catch their breath.
Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California
16.Lower Chilnualna Falls Trail
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If you’re looking for a challenging and fairly strenuous trail to explore in Yosemite, the Lower Chilnualna Falls Trail could be just what you’re looking for. This trail challenges hikers with a relentless climb and a fairly long one at that as it takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete. Although it’s not as popular as the Mist Trail, the Lower Chilnualna Falls Trail features three beautiful waterfalls and some bonus cascades at the start of the rail. It’s also relatively quiet as most of the visitors are off on the Mist Trail. Make sure to pack snacks with you, which you can grab at the Pine Tree Market and the general store at Wawona.
Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California
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Arguably the most famous ephemeral waterfall in all of Yosemite National Park, Horsetail Falls is locating at the east side of El Capital and features a 1,400 sheer plunge. Unfortunately, the Horsetail Falls are only active for about 2 to 3 months out of the year, about the time the winter snowpack starts to melt down. The falls are particularly popular in February when the phenomena called the “Fire-Fall” takes place. During this time, the last rays of sunlight hit the face of the falls and give the impression of molten lava tumbling down to the talus slopes at the base of the falls.
Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California
18.Fireplace Creek Falls
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Hikers and outdoor lovers can’t get enough of the awesome waterfalls in Yosemite Park. The Fireplace Creek Falls are just another fantastic location to visit while exploring the many trails of the national park. The base of the falls sits at an elevation of 5,800 while the Fireplace Creek itself is at 5,350 feet. Relatively powerful, the falls feature a long smooth granite cliff with a pace that slants to the right. The hike to the falls is about four miles from the entry point with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet. 400 feet of that elevation is to climb up above the falls, so you can look forward to a relatively challenging but manageable hike all in all.
Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California
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19.Charles Street Dinner House
© Charles Street Dinner House
Step into a relaxed and truly hospitable atmosphere at the Charles Street Dinner House. Known for providing an exceptional dining experience altogether, the Charles Street Dinner House combines classic dining delights with personal flair and style to whip up menu offerings that will have you coming back for more. The folks behind the dinner house make it their mission to provide patrons with a satisfying and memorable visit each time. All of the magic undoubtedly takes place in the kitchen where tons of love and care are poured into every plate that gets served to the diners. The Charles Street Dinner House offers a dinner, brunch and fine dining menu and also has a great drink selection to pair with their dishes.
Highway 140 and 7th Street, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-2366
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© 1850 Restaurant
Every town, county or city will always have its own hidden culinary gems and Mariposa County is certainly no exception. The 1850 Restaurant is one such hidden gem, which boasts of the best burger in the entire county. Part restaurant, part brewing company, 1850 is home to a modest 10-barrel brewing system that adds another level of awesome to every meal. Although the menu is expansive, there’s no doubt that every visitor needs to try one of their popular burgers like the 1850, the Steakhouse or the Hot Shot burger. Pair it with one of the craft brews that comes straight out of their brewery for one-of-a-kind dining experience at this rustic and homey restaurant.
5114 Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-966-2229
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21.Sugar Pine Cafe
© Sugar Pine Café
Looking for a good old fashion café that serves up classic American comfort food? Then head over to the Sugar Pine Café where welcoming wait staff and kitchen staff serve up traditional milkshakes, burgers, steaks, fries, pies, pastries and more. Built in the 1940’s, the Sugar Pine Café was once called the Dairy Dell Diner, and takes pride in making every single one of their dishes from scratch. Some of the crowd pleasers include their fresh baked pies and turnovers, as well as the American country tradition, their homemade biscuits and gravy. Don’t forget to ask for a cup of their Peet’s coffee or tea to balance and enhance your meal.
5038 Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-742-7793
© Yosemite Treats
After a full day of hiking through the spectacular trails of Yosemite National Park, there’s nothing better than cooling off and energizing yourself with a cold and sweet indulgence at Yosemite Treats. This sweet serving shack offers an incredible variety of delights like frozen yogurt, hand packed ice cream, and smoothies made with real, fresh fruit. Frozen desserts aren’t all that Yosemite Treats offer, however, as they also create amazing freshly baked goods and fix up a mean locally roasted coffee drink. This sweet destination, right at the mouth of Yosemite, is bound to satisfy your every craving with their wide menu and 30 fantastic toppings to choose from.
5040 Highway 140, Mariposa, California 95338, Phone: 209-742-5497
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22 Best Things to Do in Mariposa, California
- Mariposa Museum and History Center, Photo: Mariposa Museum and History Center
- California State Mining and Mineral Museum, Photo: California State Mining and Mineral Museum
- Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch, Photo: Courtesy of Amateur007 - Fotolia.com
- Yosemite Close Up Tours, Photo: Courtesy of robert cicchetti - Fotolia.com
- Butterfly Creek Winery and Vineyards, Photo: Butterfly Creek Winery and Vineyards
- Mariposa County’s Old Stone Jail, Photo: Mariposa County’s Old Stone Jail
- Mariposa Marketplace, Photo: Mariposa Marketplace
- Mariposa Symphony Orchestra, Photo: Courtesy of furtseff - Fotolia.com
- Mariposa Stage Line, Photo: Mariposa Stage Line
- Prospect Yosemite, Photo: Courtesy of clearviewstock - Fotolia.com
- Skydive Yosemite, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- The House That Dabbles, Photo: The House That Dabbles
- Airborrn Aviation Services, Photo: Airborrn Aviation Services
- Silver Apron, Photo: Courtesy of antonel - Fotolia.com
- Wildcat Falls, Photo: Courtesy of Erin - Fotolia.com
- Lower Chilnualna Falls Trail, Photo: Courtesy of jeffwqc - Fotolia.com
- Horsetail Falls, Photo: Courtesy of rongkrod - Fotolia.com
- Fireplace Creek Falls, Photo: Courtesy of nathanallen - Fotolia.com
- Charles Street Dinner House, Photo: Charles Street Dinner House
- 1850 Restaurant, Photo: 1850 Restaurant
- Sugar Pine Cafe, Photo: Sugar Pine Café
- Yosemite Treats, Photo: Yosemite Treats
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Mariusz Blach - Fotolia.com