Coulterville - Yosemite National Park - Hiking California

 

Coulterville along Highway 49 served the California Gold Rush in the 1800's.

 

 

The final morning in Mariposa features a hearty breakfast at the Happy Burger Diner prior to the early drive north on historic Highway 49.  The Motherlode Highway which serviced the California Gold Rush in the 1800's is a twisting, turning, roller coaster highway with typical desert vistas.  At one high point, a monument to Fremont's Fort features an early morning view of the highway switchbacks below to the Merced River feeding Lake McClure.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Fremont's Fort, built near 1860 along the Motherlode Highway, defended his mining claims from being 'jumped'

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The early morning view of rolling hills and Lake McClure between Mariposa and Coulterville, California.

 

Rich desert colors saturate the vistas near the shore of Lake McClure.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Lake McClure between Mariposa and Coulterville, California.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA A view of Lake McClure facing south where the bridge crosses the Merced River

 

Twenty-three miles (36¾ KM) north of Mariposa, arrival at the old mining town of Coulterville resembles the into any heritage park, common in many cities, except this one is real. 

The pride of past and present peaks through the weathered façade where many of the buildings could benefit from restoration at the expense of potentially compromising their ageless authenticity.  A quick walk around the core of town provides the opportunity to spend time at the local coffee and pastry shop which also doubles as the Visitor Center where due diligence will determine the best route into Hetch Hetchy.  Guides and maps are good, backup resources.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

At the small town's major intersection, Hotel Jeffery commands the view with the General Store staking claim to an opposite corner.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Old mining structures occupy the area immediately behind 'Whistling Billy' on the opposite side of the intersection.  No doubt, this is mecca for mining museum enthusiasts.  The use of Newfoundland dogs is unexpected and surprising.  

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Whistling Billy - Coulterville, California, USA

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The Mining Museum - Coulterville, California, USA

 

The remainder of the brief walking tour around Coulterville offers up modern conveniences and services disguised in buildings constructed more than a century prior.  Coulterville hosts forty historic sites and is designated as a State Historical Landmark.

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Heading east from Coulterville's main intersection at Hwy 49 and 132

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast - Historic Site # 47 - Coulterville, California, USA

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA A small, compact park on Main Street - Coulterville, California, USA

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Mary's Coffee and Pastry Shop - formerly the Moonshine Cafe, in the Old Bruschi Warehouse - Historic Site #12 - Coulterville, California, USA

 

Coulterville - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The Tom Jenkins VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars USA) Post resides in the Old Yosemite Garage, Historic Site # 28 - Coulterville, California, USA

 

One day, a return to focus attention on historic Gold Rush Highway 49 north from Oakhurst, California could be an easily justified historical quest.  From Oakhurst, the Motherlode Highway continues north, through Mariposa, Coulterville, Sonora and beyond.  Certainly, there are many old, mining ghost towns more than worthy of exploration. 

Today, specific instructions motivate the drive east on Greeley Road (J132) to the next hiking destination at Hetch Hetchy in the northwest quadrant of Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

The entire length of Highway 49 is a historical treasure. Every town is saturated with history. Both Mariposa and Coulterville were quite special but very different. The fascinating stories are endless. Actually, it starts in Montana. There are hundreds of old mines waiting to be explored. It is a lifetime of opportunity. The greatest part is revealing passion for the landscape and history. It gives local people the opportunity to tell their fascinating stories. There was no reluctance. The inner children were alive and well. I never tire of the experience and the portfolio grows every time the opportunity presents itself. Fascinating places. Fascinating, friendly and proud people.

You would be in a photographic paradise. There are a gold mine of opportunities. No pun intended. Everywhere we went, there was at least a week of opportunity to hike and photograph the locale. I gathered together what I could at Coulterville in less than an hour. The early morning photos from Fremont's Fort Monument and near Lake McClure benefited in color from early morning sunrise but were compromised by contrast of light and shadow. The entire Yosemite trip was a photographic mecca. It just never stops. Often, it was very frustrating. There were places so incredibly beautiful, it was difficult to turn away and leave. Just one more angle; just one more picture. Thanks for your comment, Charlie. I thoroughly enjoyed your photographs from the Alberta Badlands, a frequent stomping ground of mine.

Coulterville looks like it's steeped in history. I love your comment about maps being a back up and the locals knowing the best places as it's so true.

I love all the old buildings. Seems like it would be a nice place for pictures :)

Add new comment