Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (13% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

avatar Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 11:22AM
Has anyone recently (in the past two years) hiked this old segment of the Old Coulterville Road (from Crane Flat Campground to Foresta)? If so, how's the old road condition? Portions of it still shows up quite well on Google Earth, so I think it could still be walkable unless some the portions that are not viewable from Google Earth have been totally obliterated by time and the forces of nature.

I'm thinking it's something I could hike this spring while the Big Oak Flat Road is closed south of Crane Flat.





Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 12:07PM
We (JKW, basilbop, OD, and I) hiked this road last year (it's TQ)

It had a lot of deadfall. Not terrible. Not great. It's a nice stroll.
I don't know if basilbop posted a TR. He might not have on account
he got snipped on a boundary marker...

From Crane Flat is it Crane Creek Road. At least that is my understanding.
Though Crane Creek Road goes all the way to El Portal.

Of course with the winter we have had it may have some washouts...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 01:59PM
Thank you for the update.

(I don't recall any TR about it, but that's fine. Basilbop and you post so many of TRs already and I know how much time each of them take to write up and post with photos.)



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 02:04PM
I'll look for some pictures tonight.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 06:38PM
From April of 2016:

Exhibit A: (near Crane Flat)


Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:


Exhibit D:
(actually Old Coulterville at this point)


Ok, now you're on the hook to do it.

I'll refrain from showing how Z Old Birdie found Marker #11... on account
Old Stick N Fedders will prolly just say even a blind chick-on finds a marker
every once in awhile.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 19, 2017 01:54AM
Thanks for the photos.

I definitely going to check it out when I get back to Yosemite this year (though that might be as late as June since I'm pretty much booked up until then, though I really want to go back to Yosemite in May if possible.)



Leave No Trace
Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 07:08PM
Quote
chick-on
We (JKW, basilbop, OD, and I) hiked this road last year (it's TQ)

It had a lot of deadfall. Not terrible. Not great. It's a nice stroll.
I don't know if basilbop posted a TR. He might not have on account
he got snipped on a boundary marker...

From Crane Flat is it Crane Creek Road. At least that is my understanding.
Though Crane Creek Road goes all the way to El Portal.

Of course with the winter we have had it may have some washouts...

Yeah, there were some trees and general deadfall--probably more now...



...and as for that boundary marker, well, we know what they say about blind chickens and nuts or whatever...



...but we still had fun!



Oh, and as already noted, this isn't the Old Coulterville Road--that went to Foresta via the Merced Grove, Buena Vista (Gap), and Little Nellie Falls. However, the original route of the Coulterville Road was to go through Crane Flat--it was realigned as it was being built to pass through the newly-"discovered" Merced Grove, so perhaps parts of this road were once parts of the under-construction Coulterville Road...?
Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 19, 2017 01:14AM
I did some research on that. The Coulterville Road was only constructed as far as Crane Flat when McLean "discovered" the Merced Grove. The 6 miles from Hazel Green to Crane Flat that had been constructed were abandoned and the route was switched to dip southeast from Hazel Green to the Merced Grove and thence on down to Big Meadow. Apparently, the original plan of the Coulterville Road franchise was for their road to join the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat and then share the same route from that point to the Valley via Gin Flat, Tamarack Flat, and Gentry's. A road from Crane Flat south down the Crane Creek drainage to Big Meadow was not contemplated.

In fact, the road in question was not built until 1914, and it was built by A.R. Davis (the road would become known as the Davis Cutoff), who had a ranch in Big Meadow and was keen to take advantage of (1) the railroad terminus in El Portal and (2) the new rules allowing automobiles to enter the park. His cutoff road, coupled with the new steep road built by J.R. Wilson, an auto stage operator, from El Portal up to Foresta, would allow visitors a more direct routing to reach the Tuolumne Grove. Coupled with the rehabilitated, formerly abandoned section of the original Coulterville Road from Crane Flat to Hazel Green, travelers could make a loop from the railroad terminus at El Portal, allowing them to see both the Tuolumne and Merced Groves.

Apparently few people took Davis up on his offers and his toll road cutoff did not turn a profit. It was eventually abandoned and acquired by the park. I don't think it was ever paved, unlike the Coulterville Road. It was kept open for auto travel until sometime in the mid-to-late 1930s, when it was closed (probably in preparation for the imminent opening of the New Big Oak Flat Road from Crane Flat to the Valley in 1940). The old connector from Hazel Green to Crane Flat, however, was kept open to automobile traffic by Mariposa County up until the time when this area was added to the park in the 1950s. The construction of the modern New Big Oak Flat Entrance Road in 1966 was laid over a large portion of this route, except that the new highway turns north to Hodgdon Meadow rather than continuing west to Hazel Green. When this road opened, a new unpaved road was built to connect it to the Old Coulterville Road above Merced Grove (this is the road one now walks along from the Merced Grove trailhead to the point where it meets the Old Coulterville Road at a switchback, which you follow downhill to the grove). At some point, the Old Coulterville Road within the park was closed to auto traffic between the park boundary near Hazel Green, through Merced Grove, and down to the Little Nellie Falls area, but I'm not sure when that was. I would guess in the 1950s, but perhaps later.
avatar Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 19, 2017 02:01AM
Thank you for all of this information about the old roads in this area of Yosemite.



Leave No Trace
Re: Old Coulterville Road condition (from Crane Flat to Foresta) ???
April 18, 2017 05:29PM
That isn't technically a part of the Old Coulterville Road (which runs through Merced Grove and down to Twin Bridges and Little Nellie Falls, and then over to Foresta/Big Meadow), but dates from the same time period. My understanding is that it was a road that was used as a "short cut" from Big Meadow to Crane Flat and, along with another abandoned road from Hazel Green to Crane Flat (this one was actually originally built as part of the Coulterville Road, but then was abandoned after the discovery of Merced Grove and the decision to re-route the CR to take advantage of the big trees as a tourist attraction), was used by people trying to avoid toll collectors on the CR. They would leave the CR at Hazel Green, go to Crane Flat and then south to Big Meadow, rejoining the CR. Also, travelers on the Big Oak Flat Road would use this cut-off as a way to avoid paying tolls at Gentry's.

Not sure what happened to it after the stage era ended. I don't think it was ever improved for usage by autos, as the CR and BOF Roads were. I think this area was actually outside of YNP for some of this period, but I could be wrong on that. No idea what its condition is today, but suspect it would make for a nice hike, except for the areas that have burned.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login