Film-friendly Tuolumne County is one of the country’s most versatile locations. Over 300 film and television series have filmed in and around Sonora, the County seat.
This region is the heart of the Mother Lode, the southern gold region of the Sierra. Popular locations include Railtown 1897, featuring a 19th century roundhouse that’s still in use, steam engines and railcars from many eras, and over 30 miles of track.Columbia is a living town with seven blocks of original brick buildings from the Gold Rush era.
Elevations run from a few hundred to over 10,000 feet and ranges from grasslands, to rolling hills, then oak savannah, sagebrush, foothills, pines, and finally the granite heights of the Sierra Nevada. The primary communities in the county lie below the snow line, making for worry-free filming year-round.
Driving Driving time from Los Angeles to Sonora is approximately 5 1/2 hours. Take Interstate 5 north to Highway 99 and continue on 99 through Bakersfield and Fresno to Merced. At the north end of Merced watch for the Sonora/Highway 59 exit. Carefully follow the road signs, which direct you to Sonora via highways 59 and 108. Travel time between Merced and Sonora is approximately one hour. There are frequent gas and food stops along Highway 99. Services are limited on both 59 and 108.
Commercial Air United Express/SkyWest offers commercial flights between SFO and Modesto (one hour from Sonora) via turboprop airplanes. The nearest major commercial airports with larger service are Oakland and Sacramento (both are two hours away).
Air Charter Columbia Airport (three miles from Sonora) and Pine Mountain Lake Airport in Groveland are both managed by Tuolumne County and offer private aircraft convenient locations to fly into. Flight time from Los Angeles in a turbo-prop is approximately one hour and forty-five minutes each way. Full-size charter jets capable of bringing the entire cast and crew can land at Merced, Modesto or Stockton airports (all one hour away).