Skip to main content

Yokohl Valley Drive/Mountain Route 296 and Signed County Route J37 sign find

Back in March the Sierras were clearing up finally after a rough winter and I decided to hit a road I wanted to always try; Yokohl Valley Drive.






Yokohl Valley Road/Mountain Route 296 is a 23 mile road in the Sierra Nevada Range in Tulare County.  Yokohl Valley Road has a north terminus at CA 198 and gradually winds through the foothills and lower mountains in a southeasterly direction to reach County Route J37.  Yokohl Valley Road is extremely narrow but manages to maintain a center stripe for the duration of the route.  There is a couple large hairpins in addition to a large grade that ascends to approximately 2,700 feet above sea level a couple miles north of the J37 junction.  I'm unsure on how old Yokohl Valley Road is but it does appear as a county maintained roadway in 1935 on a Tulare County Highway Map.

I started out on Yokohl Valley Drive from CA 198 in the village of Yokohl and headed southward towards J37.  Most rural mountain roads in Tulare County have a Mountain Route number and Yokohl Valley Drive is not exception being assigned with MTN 296.





The asphalt quality on Yokohl Valley Drive quickly drops off south of CA 198.





About the only semi-significant junction on Yokohl Valley Drive is Road 228 which traverses towards Lindsay.  Yokohl Valley Drive begins to follow Yokohl Creek from Road 228 east towards the Sierras.





The views of the Sierras is fantastic after a winter storm.





Pretty soon Yokohl Valley Drive begins to ascend into the Sierras.  The roadway is somewhat straight but it doesn't last too long.















There is a stern warning to trucks buses to not continue as Yokohl Valley Road rises above 1,000 feet.





The grade Yokohl Valley road travels is pretty big and tops out at a summit of about 3,000 feet above sea level.  There is one hard hairpin curve and several other smaller ones.  The view looking back at the road you just climbed near the top puts the height of the climb in stark relief.










Yokohl Valley Drive descends down to J37 on much softer grades.  The roadway is pretty rough but something I didn't consider to be too difficult.









At the end of Yokohl Valley Drive the road meets J37.  I actually found a surprise I wasn't expecting, Signed County Route J37 was actually signed!






I've never found any of the Signed County Routes in Tulare County aside from J37 to actually be signed, I was actually shocked to see shields.  J37 begins at Springdale and traverses 25.17 miles northeast to Mount Home State Forest which is a large grove of Sequoia Redwoods.  Balch Park Road appears to be very old in design and appears on County Highway Maps in 1937.  There is at least one bridge from 1927 over Sycamore Creek which may suggest that was when the route was built.  The J37 designation was assigned in 1975 and was one of the later Signed County Routes to be designated.













Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…