Set against the backdrop of Yosemite National Park with historic gold rush towns and scenic landscapes, Tuolumne County makes for the ultimate filming destination. Over 350 productions have been filmed in the county since 1919 and visitors can take a trip down memory lane at Jamestown’s “Walk of Fame”, with 31 medallions celebrating the rich history of the movies and TV shows filmed in Tuolumne County. Discover some of the iconic filming locations that remain tourist attractions today, featuring in family favourites such as Back to the Future III, Little House on the Prairie and Petticoat Junction.
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Known as “The Movie Railroad”, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is located in Jamestown and has been a popular site for motion picture and television location filming since 1919. The 26-acre Historic Park and its trains have featured in hundreds of films and TV shows including Back to the Future III, Little House on the Prairie and one of the most famous Western films ever made, High Noon. The site houses several historic railroad buildings, tracks, turn-of-the-century machinery, modern and historic railroad equipment and a working turntable, and is home to one of the most photographed locomotives in the world, Sierra No.3®. Visitors can tour the scenic park and its equipment and hop on a seasonal excursion train ride between April and September through California’s scenic Gold Country on a six-mile, 45-minute round trip journey.
Get immersed in California’s Gold Rush history at Columbia State Historic Park. This living gold rush town is free to visit and features the largest single collection of gold rush-era structures in the state. Visitors are transported back in time, with merchants dressed in 1850’s attire, a working blacksmith shop and activities including gold panning and authentic stagecoach rides. Columbia State Historic Park has been transformed into the far away cities of turn-of-the-century New York and Chicago. In the television series, Little House on the Prairie, the historic town became Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and in the classic western, High Noon, it was known as Hadleyville. Grace Kelly’s house is located on the main street in Columbia State Historic Park.
Located in the heart of Gold Country, Sonora has been the backdrop of many western films including Bad Girls due to its quaint historic downtown buildings, scenic surroundings and charming feel. Visitors can explore the downtown area, now filled with art galleries, boutique stores and unique dining options, and sample local beer at one of its taprooms and breweries. The Sonora Inn historic hotel in downtown Sonora has been visited by many celebrities including Grace Kelly during the filming of High Noon – a suite has been named after her – as well as Drew Barrymore while she worked on the film Bad Girls.
Wandering the streets of Jamestown is like walking through a western film set, with historic buildings dating back to the 1870s and 1880s. Located on the Highway 108/49 corridor, Jamestown is where gold was first discovered in Tuolumne County and many of the town’s buildings remain occupied by quaint historic inns, restaurants and shops, as well as wine tasting rooms and a microbrewery. The historic town has been the backdrop of many films and TV shows, including Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and The Wild Wild West. Visitors can stay at the 1859 Historic National Hotel, a treasured throwback of old-world California charm in the heart of Gold Country.