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Road 222/Powerhouse Road

Last Memorial Day I took a trip up to Glacier Point in Yosemite.  Given the large crowds heading to/from Yosemite National Park I decided to do something a little unconventional and take Road 222/Powerhouse Road over the San Joaquin River to reach Fresno.






Road 222/Powerhouse Road is an approximately 14 mile route between North Fork in Madera County and Auberry in Fresno County.  Road 222 begins at North Fork Road/Road 222 immediately south of North Fork.





Road 222 southbound to the San Joaquin River at Kerckhoff Lake has a heavy grade that is as high as 9% in places.  The road is generally pretty good but drops from about 3,300 feet above sea level to about 1,300 feet above sea level at the San Joaquin River.











Road 222 approaches Kerckhoff Lake and the Wishon Powerhouse.  Kerckhoff Lake is impounded from the waters of the San Joaquin River and is part of Pacific Gas & Electricity's Big Creek project. Apparently Kerckhoff Dam was completed in 1920.







I'm not sure where this stairwell goes but it was across Road 222 from the Wishon Powerhouse, I thought it looked cool.





Road 222 becomes Powerhouse Road on this bridge as it enters Fresno County.







The climb south on Powerhouse Road to Auberry Road and Auberry isn't as steep as Road 222 but far more curvy.  Powerhouse Road ends at Auberry Road in the community of Auberry.









Given that Kerckhoff Lake was part of the Big Creek Project both Road 222 and Powerhouse Road are quiet old.  Both roads are observable as being county maintained on the 1935 California Division of Highways maps of Madera and Fresno Counties.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

1935 Fresno County Highway Map

The Temperance Flat Dam Project has been floated around for about a decade from what I can recall.  If the Temperance Flat Dam Project was ever approved it encompass Kerckhoff Lake within it's catchment area.  The Temperance Flat Dam is heavily supported by Fresno County farmers due to the Big Creek Project being primarily used for Hydroelectric Power rather than water storage.  The Temperance Flat Dam project really seems to not have gained much traction other than being San Joaquin ranch community argument point against the High Speed Rail project.  I found a FAQ on the Temperance Flat Dam Project from the Department of Water Resources but it is over a decade old.

Water.ca.gov on Temperance Flat Dam Project



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