Skip to main content

North Fork Road/Road 200

Given that I have been on the CA 41 corridor between Fresno and Yosemite probably close to a hundred times I decided trying a new route south out of Oakhurst on North Fork Road.






Typically I have used Bass Lake Road in the past to get between Oakhurst and North Fork.  I ended up taking Road 426, Road 223, Road 221, Road 226, and Road 222 to Oakhurst over the Teaford Saddle.  In retrospect I wish that I had my camera ready since all the roads I took are particularly nice and ascend to well over 3,500 feet above sea level.  On Road 226 I passed Bandit Town.





Bandit Town isn't an actual settlement, it is an events center meant to look like a Gold Rush era town site.  The overwhelming amount of mining activity in the Sierras was from Mariposa northward towards the Sacramento.


Surprisingly it was actually about 70 F in the low Sierras which is kind of warm for this time of year.  As I was pulling away from Bandit Town I had a close call with this guy.


Navigation signage in Madera County is generally really maintained.  It is very difficult to tell on a map where to turn but the signage standards make navigation easy between Oakhurst and North Fork.


Road 222 crosses through the community of North Fork and continues south to the Fresno County line at the San Joaquin River where it becomes Power House Road.  Power House Road is a lot of fun and has a ton of curves and high grades.


East of North Fork Road 225 heads towards the Mammoth Pool Reservoir far to the northeast on the San Joaquin River Canyon.


North Fork has been around since the 1880s and is the geographic center of California.  North Fork is at an elevation of 2,638 feet and apparently was once a major hub for the lumber industry which used to be common in Madera County.  There is a surprisingly large amount of infrastructure in North Fork despite the town being so remote.  I took Road 222 through North Fork to where it splits towards Prather.




Road 222 splits left at this junction whereas North Fork Road/Road 200 continues straight in a southwest direction towards CA 41.  CA 41 is approximately 16 miles to the southeast.


North Fork Road doesn't have a ton of curves that can't be handled at speed which is likely why the road is signed at 55 MPH throughout it's entirety.


What North Fork Road does lack in sharp curves it makes up for in high grades with several sustained runs of 8% downhill slopes.




There are some nice vistas of the ridges above on the downhill grades.





At a sharp bend over a Fine Gold Creek is a bridge with a construction date from 1947.  It appears that the Minerats Railroad was on the opposite of the creek on what is now a dirt road.



There is definitely an older bridge north of the 1947 structure.  I couldn't see the bridge from the road behind the bushes but can be seen on the Google Image of the area.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.1794032,-119.6290122,407m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

On the 1935 California Divisions of Highway Map of Madera County the Minarats and Western Railroad can be seen snaking around North Fork Road and ending in Wishon at Bass Lake.  The Minarets and Western was owned by the Sugar Pine Lumber Company which apparently operated from 1921 to 1933.  The Minarets and Western Line ran from Pinedale (now a neighborhood in north Fresno) to Bass Lake.

1935 Madera County Highway Map 

The cut for the early North Fork Road and the Minarets line is obvious in the rock face south for a couple miles.  The Minarets and Western continued to follow Fine Gold Creek towards Lake Millerton.






North Fork Road passes through a community called O'Neals which is at a junction with Hildreth Road which continues south towards Friant.  Apparently O'Neals dates back the late 1880s but really just seems to be a collection of ranch buildings.


 West of O'Neals North Fork Road terminates at CA 41.








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car