A visit to Twain Harte is a chance to experience life in a very different environment than in the city. It's a town with a difference--Sixty foot tall pine trees and a beautiful mountain lake.
We're at the entrance to the forest. It's the last town with lots of restaurants, shopping, and services.
Twain Harte is close to both the high country forest and the historic Gold Country towns in the foothills. The towns below in green are in the forest, while those in gold are in the foothills.
In Twain Harte, there are gift shops, antique stores, and variety stores: The Harte Collection, All that Matters, Nature's Nook, the Antique Hunter, and the Twain Harte Pharmacy.
Play golf at the Twain Harte Golf Club or tennis at the public courts. In summer, there is miniature golf and a public swimming pool. (The public pool will be closed in 2014 for renovations, however.)
A variety of restaurants can be found downtown and nearby. There is breakfast at the Sportsman Cafe, the Little Cottage Cafe, Caffe Blossom, and, Wed-Sun, The Eproson House. You can pick up hot coffee and pastry at the Twain Harte Market.
For lunch and dinner, there is traditional food, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese all downtown. For pizza, there is Neopolitan pizza and wine at The Prospector in downtown, and traditional pizza at the Pizza Factory in the Village Center.
You can stay overnight in Twain Harte at one of the motels, lodges, bed-and-breakfasts or rental cabins and spend time in the town and also visit recreational opportunities higher up the mountain. Pinecrest Lake, fifteen miles east of Twain Harte, (shown in the slide show) offers boating, kayaking and bicycling (rentals available), bank and boat fishing, a beach, and hiking.
There is also sightseeing with a beautiful drive up into the higher country along the Stanislaus River (shown in slide show).
Twain Harte was named for Mark Twain and Bret Harte, the two most famous American writers
of the last half of the nineteenth century. Both wrote stories and tall tales based on
their experiences living in the area, then known as the "Tuolumne Hills". Click to
read about Mark Twain and read his stories and
read about Bret Harte and read his stories.
For centuries before whites appeared in California the MiWok Indians lived, in season, next to what is now Twain Harte Lake. They built houses known as "U'macha's", conical structures made from cedar bark. A U'macha' is shown in the slide show above.
During the Gold Rush Twain Harte was the site of flume-and-ditch building to supply water needed to wash the dirt and gravel to yield gold. This system still exists and supplies the county from Lyons Reservoir. (Lyons Dam is shown in the slide show.)
At the turn into the twentieth century the Sugar Pine Railway was built through Twain Harte. This railway carried logs from the high country to the sawmill in Standard.
In the 1920s and 30s the Twain Harte area was developed as a resort and as what is believed to be the first private housing subdivision in the Sierra. It was named Twain Harte Lodge in the 1920s after the famous authors Mark Twain and Bret Harte, who had lived in the general area. The first version of the well-known Twain Harte "Arch" was built in 1933. The golf course was built in the 1930s. Over the years Twain Harte has developed into a community with several thousand permanent residents.