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

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following