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Area Activities

The Arnold area is a scenic playground with something for everyone!

East on Highway 4 in Arnold (Fall)

Heading East on Highway 4 in Arnold (Fall).

Drone photograph by Gabriel Deamicis, Higher for Hire Photography.

East on Highway 4 in Arnold (Winter)

Heading East on Highway 4 in Arnold (Winter).

Drone photograph by Gabriel Deamicis, Higher for Hire Photography.

BIG TREES STATE PARK

On top of the Big Stump
On top of the Big Stump
In the nook of a Big Tree
In the nook of a Big Tree
Murphys-2

Murphys is a small, gold-rush era town you will pass through before reaching Arnold.  It is full of historic architecture, boutiques, restaurants and wineries/tasting rooms.

Compared to Wine Country, Murphys is quaint, with tasting rooms dotting Main Street. Wine aficionados appreciate Hatcher Winery, Newsom Harlow and Broll Mountain Vineyards.  Lavender Ridge pairs their wine tastings with cheese and hosts fun events.  Check out Val du Vino at the west end of Main Street, and then visit its sister winery, Allegorie for its arts & crafts gallery.

Several wineries are located off of Murphys Grade Road, such as Chatom Winery, Coppermine and Ayrial Vieux, a limited production, artisan vineyard and winery, producing wines from grapes grown on their estate.

In comparison, Ironstone Winery has an enormous tasting room with a 42’ stone fireplace, set among gorgeous gardens.  You can buy drinks & food at their deli and then picnic on their grounds.

Winemaker for a Day Event at Lavender Ridge
Winemaker for a Day Event at Lavender Ridge
Lunch in Cellar at Lavender Ridge’s Winemaker Event
Lunch in Cellar at Lavender Ridge’s Winemaker Event

Gazebo in Murphys Community Park

Historic downtown Murphys has a town square with a gazebo, playground, picnic area, lawns, a creek and a bocce ball court.

Murphys Playground
Murphys Playground
Lazy Summer Days at the Creek in Murphys Community Park
Lazy Summer Days at the Creek in Murphys Community Park
Floating down the Creek
Floating down the Creek

There are so many options for dining in Murphys…  Grounds (excellent for breakfast), Alchemy, V Restaurant and V Bistro, to name a few.  In nice weather, eat outside at the Murphys Hotel.   Grab a cup of locally-roasted coffee at the Gold Country Roasters, visit Nelson’s Candies to experience an old fashioned candy shop, and treat yourself to a scoop of delicious homemade ice cream at JoMa’s.

Special events in Murphys include Irish days in March, the Grape Stomp in October, the Jumping Frog Jubilee & County Fair (in Angels Camp) in May and multiple weekend wine festivals.

The slopes less traveled
The slopes less traveled
Bear Valley Adventure Park in Summer
Bear Valley Adventure Park in Summer

Snow sports in the winter, outdoor adventures in the summer.

Arnold Rim Trail Lisa Boulton 2-Compressed
Arnold Rim Trail Cyclist-Compressed
The Cave at Natural Bridges
The Cave at Natural Bridges
Natural-Bridges---Dave-Bunnell-min

About a mile hike down to an amazing waterway running through caverns that look like they belong in South America (or Disneyland!).  Bring a raft to cruise from one side to the other.

THE LAKES

White Pines Lake
White Pines Lake

For fishing, kayaking and enjoying the natural beauty of the lake.  The area was originally a lumber mill, so you can stop in to the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum for a little local history.

White Pines

White Pines Lake.

Drone photograph taken by Gabriel Deamicis, Higher for Hire Photography

Lake Alpine
Lake Alpine
Spicer Meadow, Utica and Union Reservoirs
Spicer Meadow, Utica and Union Reservoirs

STANISLAUS RIVER

A few minutes east up Highway 4 from Arnold is the neighborhood of Big Trees Village.  Wind through the neighborhood for an insider’s path to the Stanislaus River for camping, fishing and swimming.  Take Boards Crossing Road 5 miles down to the Stanislaus River.  This path is a free river access, but the road is closed in the winter.

Whitewater Rafting

Oars offers a Class IV+ 1 day whitewater rafting trip on the North Fork of the Stanislaus River through Big Trees State Park.

ARNOLD DINING

There are many excellent dining options right here in Arnold!  Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen always draws crowds, and is joined by relative newcomer Dogwood.  More casual options include Snowshoe Brewing Company, El Vaquero, Arnold Chinese and The Ranch House Café.  And for super casual (and take out), there are Subway, Giant Burger and Round Table Pizza.  Our local market – Big Trees Market – is well stocked if you would prefer to eat at home.

THE LOCAL ARTS & CRAFTS SCENE

Many artists and craftspeople call this area their home.

Art on Main in Murphys features the work of local painters (including Sarah Evans’ oil paintings and Martha Wallace’s watercolors), potters (including Tim Hanrahan and Marcus Tikotsky), photographers, wood workers and glass artists.

You can view Bill Poulson’s stunning art glass at Poulson Art Glass in the Cedar Center in Arnold along with his wife Bobbette Budworth’s glass works.

Timeless Home Gallery in Arnold showcases the modern barnwood style furniture and resin table designs of owners John and Lynn Glocker.

There are numerous festivals and fairs throughout the year in Murphys, Arnold and Bear Valley that feature the work of local and visiting artists.

Linda Trent is an independent artisan whose hand-crafted jewelry is characterized by clean lines, quality of craftsmanship and affordability.  You can find her jewelry, alongside unique and gorgeous items for your home, at ND&X in Murphys.  You can also see Linda’s jewelry online at Linda Trent Jewelry.

If you appreciate handcrafted pottery, you won’t want to miss Quyle Kilns.  Look for an old red pick-up truck along the stretch of Highway 4 between Arnold and Murphys.  Pamela Quyle runs the operation which has been in her family since the 1950s.  They locally mine and process raw clay and produce handmade pottery.  Pamela offers visitors a fascinating tour of her facility, which includes the kilns, the pigment room and the clay manufacturing machinery.

Artsy Parts is a relative newcomer to Arnold, with owner Mona offers classes and art supplies at her studio.

Don’t miss Green Frog Soap along Highway 4 in Arnold.  Owner Denise handcrafts a variety of aromatic soaps.  She even makes soap for dogs… the owners of Big Dog Retreat say their dog loves it!

GOLD COUNTRY ADVENTURE

Columbia

Another quaint, gold-rush era town.  This one has saloons (don’t miss the Sarsaparilla) and, in summer, fun activities such as panning for gold, horse-drawn carriage rides and candle-dipping (some of these are only offered on weekends).

Panning for Gold in Columbia
Panning for Gold in Columbia
Candle Making
Candle Making
Old Stagecoach in Columbia
Old Stagecoach in Columbia

Moaning Caverns

You can walk or rappel down in to the cavern, and ride their twin zip lines.

Moaning-Cavern-Rappel3_Serena-Deininger-Resized and Compressed
Moaning Cavern Ziplines1-Compressed