Nestled in the Sierra Nevada region of California, Tuolumne County (pronounced "To all o' me") is scenic county with breathtaking views and stunning sunsets. The 2010 U.S. Census reported the population as 55,365. This historic county is as old as California itself. It was made a county in 1850 when California received its own statehood. Before this, it was called Oro County, and after it was given an official county, parts of it were given over to Stanislaus County in 1854 and others to Alpine county in 1864.
Tuolumne originally came from a Native American word, but its actually meaning is not entirely clear. Some of its potential meanings include:
- The Land of Mountain Lions
- Cluster of Stone Wigwams
- People Who Dwell in Stone Houses
- Many Stone Houses
Tuolumne County only has one city incorporated into it: Sonora, California. It is also the county seat. The eastern region is dominated by the Yosemite National Park. The park's northern area spreads into Tuolumne County, but Stanislaus National Forest can also be found in this county. There are also several Native American reservations.
Though there is only one actual city, there are a number of Census-designated places as well as unincorporated communities. Some of the places are Cedar Ridge, Columbia, Groveland, Jamestown, Sierra Village and Tuttletown. The communities include Buchanan, Bumblebee, Mather, Pinecrest and many more.
When travelling to Tuolumne County, visitors will find a number of historic sites to explore and plenty of points-of-interest to see. Just west of Lee Vining, you'll find the Great Sierra Mine Historic Site, and in Sorona, you can visit the historic courthouse, the Cady House and City Hotel.
Drivers through Tuolumne County will recognize it by viewing Table Mountain, the most iconic land formation in the county. The major highways that come through this region include State Roads 49, 108 and 120. The region boats a substantial public transportation system, and two airports - Pine Mountain Lake Airport and Columbia Airport - service the area.
Even though there is plenty to look at when driving through Tuolumne County, it is important that all drivers remain aware while behind the wheel. Like other counties, Tuolumne County has seen its safe of accidents, and all motorists would be advised to be careful when operating their vehicles.
On Aug. 7, 2015, two people were killed in a car crash while driving on State Road 108 through Tuolumne County. Close to the town of Little Sweden, the accident involved only one car that went off the roadway and fell down an embankment that was 200 feet. It is unclear what caused this accident, but drivers should be extremely cautious when driving at high speeds along dangerous stretches of highway. When glancing at the radio or reaching to adjust your sun visor, you could miss a turn and slam into the back of another car or go completely off the road.
Another accident in Tuolumne County occurred just days after the previous crash. On Aug. 16, 2015, a 1997 Honda CRV was involved in a crash with a 2007 Toyota RAV 4 on State Road 108/120. The Honda crashed into the Toyota, sending the Toyota into the right lane where it caught fire. The Honda ended up in the center median, but the Toyota's flame set fire to the land around it and ended up burning 110 acres of land. Tragically, all three passengers - two in the Honda and one in the Toyota - lost their lives.
Both of these accidents were terrible, and they serve as an important reminder to drive safe and obey the rules of the road.