Competitive Landscape: Yosemite Gateway 1
Mono County, Tuolumne County and Lee Vining all attract visitors who are interested in outdoor activities and beautiful views.
- Average annual visitors: over 1.5 million
- Visitor demographics: Worldwide; visitor website can be viewed in 53 languages including English.
- Differentiators/special attractions: Devils Postpile National Monument; Bodie State Historic Park, Ghost Town from the California Gold Rush; Mono Lake, one of the western hemisphere's oldest lakes.
- Five hot springs: Travertine Hot Springs, Buckeye Hot Springs, Old Benton Hot Springs, Hilltop Hot Springs and Wild Willy's Hot Springs.
- Three of California's highest mountain passes: Sonora Pass, Tioga Pass, and Monitor Pass.
- Yosemite National Park east entrance at Tuolumne Meadows, where you can visit the Lembert Dome, Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge, the Pothole Dome, Cathedral Lakes, Tenaya Lake, and Olmsted Point.
- Mono County also has 10 towns including Bridgeport, Lee Vining, and Mammoth Lakes.
- Mono County has 24 rivers, creeks, and lakes for fishing, paddle boarding, swimming, and kayaking.
- What people like about it: Yelp reviewers love Bodie State Historic Park for its history, landscape and multiple buildings you can explore. Get opportunities for photos, and it is dog friendly.
- Yelp reviewers state that the Devil's Postpile is unique and stunning.
- Facebook fans commented that Convict Lake is a great place to watch the leaves turn in the fall and a great place to camp.
- Facebook reviewers mention that the Eastern Sierras are a beautiful place to see nature, great hiking and fishing, and it is very quiet.
- Digital marketing tactics: Mono County uses an e-newsletter and hashtags on social media posts. They also work with East River PR, a public relations firm.
- Average annual visitors: In 2018 Kennedy Meadows reported 54,678 visitors, Columbia State Historic Park reported 273,540 visitors, Railtown 1897 State Park reported 29,670 visitors and Pinecrest Reservoir reported 29,328 visitors.
- Stanislaus National Forest reported in 2017 they had just over 1 million visitors.
- Visitor demographics: Top origins of international web traffic: United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and France. Top three international visitor counties in Visitor Centers: United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
- Differentiators/special attractions: Tuolumne County has 11 large waterfalls: Niagara Falls, Blue Canyon Falls, Preston Falls, Rancheria Falls, Wapama Falls, Lower Yosemite Fall, Upper Yosemite Fall, Vernal Fall, Tuolumne Falls & White Cascade. Some are easy to get to and others you will need to hike to see. There are also many small ones that appear when the snow melts in the spring.
- You can pan for gold at gold mine from the 49er days, and take a course in gold mining at several locations.
- At Railtown 1897 Historic State Park you can ride a steam train that has been featured in movies and TV shows.
- You can ride in a stagecoach at Columbia State Park.
- There are caves you can walk through and repel into at Black Chasm Cavern and Mercer Caverns.
- Tuolumne County also hosts two casinos: Chicken Ranch Casino in Jamestown and the Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne.
- Tuolumne County has opportunities for outdoor recreation such as whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, golfing, boating and fishing,
- What people like about: Facebook reviews comment that Tuolumne County is beautiful, scenic, historic and they can't wait to return.
- Facebook fans comment over and over they "love it there" on several posts.
- Digital marketing tactics: Visit California Digital Banner Ads and e-newsletter Sponsorship, Sunset Magazine Digital ad, Facebook advertising, digital vacation planner, digital ads on San Francisco planner, digital ads on MyYosemitePark.com and digital ads on MyMotherLode.com.
- Average annual visitors: Mono Lake in Lee Vining has 250,000 visitors a year.
- Visitor demographics: n/a
- Differentiators/special attractions: California's highest vehicle pass is Tioga Pass, at 9,945 ft elevation. It is also called Yosemite's Heavenly gate.
- You may see Big Horn Sheep while you camp or fish in the alpine settings in Saddlebag, Ellery and Tioga Lake.
- Lundy Lake offers boat rentals and great spring wild flower displays and beautiful colors in the fall.
- Saddlebag Lake offers a five-mile loop scenic ferry boat ride.
- Tioga Pass and Lee Vining Creek Canyon and Tioga Pass offer great hiking, spectacular fishing and wonderful photo opportunities.
- The Mono Craters in the Mono Basin Scenic Area are between 600 to 40,000 years old, and some look like volcanoes that could erupt at any time.
- What people like about: Trip Advisor reviewers enjoy Lundy Lake for beautiful wildflowers and birding.
- The Los Angeles Times reviewed Lee Vining as "more than a pit stop" with "grand views, volcanic craters and, later, hands-on birding, geology and arborglyph". The article also noted it was handicap friendly and had great places for meals.
- Trip Advisor reviewers love Ellery Lake Campground because it is small; each campsite is on a creek, stating it is the best campground.
- Digital marketing tactics: n/a
We could not provide complete information on average annual visitor numbers and visitor demographics for Mono County or Tuolumne County
The research team commenced our search at the tourism site for each county to find their visitor information. We found lodging and restaurant information, along with places to go and events in the area. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any number for amount of visitors or their demographics on these pages.
We moved to the Mono County and Tuolumne County government websites to review county board reports and minutes of government meetings. Here we were able to find limited information for Mono County which is included in this brief. However, no exact number for Mono County was found. We also found a county report from Tuolumne County which talked about visitor spending, but did not have numbers of tourists available. We found some information on international visitors, which is also included in this brief. However, we were unable to provide complete information on average annual visitor numbers and visitor demographics for Mono County and Tuolumne County.
We then reviewed news sources such as NBS Southern California, ABC 10 and the Union Democrat for articles about Mono County and Tuolumne County. We were able to find information on events in the area, fishing reports, and accident reports. We were also able to locate an article about tourism in Tuolumne County that gave information on numbers of tourist in certain venues, which we included in this brief However, we were not able to find complete numbers and demographics for visitors to Mono County and Tuolumne County.
We were unable to find visitor information, visitor demographics, and digital advertising information for Lee Vining.
We began our search at the Mono County tourism site to find visitor information, where we found lodging and restaurant information along with places to go. We also reviewed the Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce site; unfortunately we were unable to find any number for amount of visitors or their demographics on these pages. We then viewed the Mono Lake Committee site where we found information on the number of visitors to this area of Lee Vining. However, no visitor demographics were found and no information on digital advertising for the town of Lee Vining.
We moved to the Mono County government website to review county board reports and minutes of government meetings. Here we were able to find limited information for Mono County which is included in this brief, but no specific information on the town of Lee Vining. We were unable to locate any information on average annual visitor numbers and visitor demographics or digital advertising for Lee Vining. We searched for a local government site for Lee Vining, but none was available.
We then reviewed news sources such as NBS Southern California, ABC 10 and the Union Democrat for articles about Lee Vining. We were able to find one article about vacationing in Lee Vining which we included in the brief. We also reviewed social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but Lee Vining does not appear to have social media accounts for the town.
Lee Vining is part of Mono County, and is advertised with Mono County, and it appears that this town does not have any published information about its own tourism or advertising in the public domain.