Tuolumne County Profile - Community Indicators Project
Tuolumne County Profile Executive Summary Tuolumne County Profile Introduction Health and Safety Education and the Arts Natural Resources and Recreation Economy and Infrastructure Acknowledgements Conclusion
Tuolumne County Profile Introduction



Where are we and what do we look like?

Tuolumne County’s spectacular landscapes, open spaces, cultural amenities, recreational and educational opportunities, and rich history make this region a unique and exciting place to live. Tuolumne County was one of California’s original 27 counties created upon statehood in 1850, and retains its original county seat, Sonora. The word Tuolumne derives from the name of a group of Native Americans who lived on the Stanislaus River near the western county border.


We are located in the central Sierra Nevada, with major rivers to the north and south. The Sierra Nevada forms the border on the east, with our county flowing into the great central valley in the west. Our diverse terrain includes the Columbia and Railtown 1897 State Historic Parks, and much of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park.

The county is also home to the two highest mountain passes through the Sierra Nevada: Tioga Pass (9,945 feet) and Sonora Pass (9,628 feet). Plant and animal life abound, and Tuolumne County’s wildflowers begin their show in February, continuing in the high country until the first snows. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, with its world-renowned giant sequoia, is found partially within Tuolumne County borders.

How large is the county?

The county encompasses an area of more than 2,200 square miles, ranging from 300 feet to more than 12,000 feet in elevation. Most of the land (78.5%) in Tuolumne County is publicly owned by the federal, state, and local governments. That leaves less than one quarter (21.5%) of the land for private ownership. When viewing the> county as a whole, we have a population density of 22.4 people per square mile. However, it is probably more accurate to state the density on the private land, which is 104 people per square mile.

Tuolumne County - Central Sierra Mountains