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Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?

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Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
July 19, 2012 10:51AM
Hey guys,

Just wondering if anyone knows if there is a trail or way to hike to/from Hodgdon Meadow campground and the Carlon Day Use Area in Stanislaus NF. I came across this and was very curious: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26765127@N05/3035616799/in/photostream/

Looking on Google and Bing maps also seems to show a 'road' but it's not discernible from the aerial/satellite view (maybe it's shrouded with tree cover)

What's really confusing is that on Google maps, it's labelled "Hodgdon Meadow Access Rd" - https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Yosemite,+CA&hl=en&ll=37.800163,-119.858469&spn=0.004764,0.010697&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.047881,87.626953&t=h&hq=Yosemite,+CA&z=17

While on Bing, it's labelled as "Old Big Oak Flat Rd" though, which I think is correct (per the flickr photo description above). I was confused at first because the 120 is called "Big Oak Flat Rd" lol.

Anyway, I'm looking for a nice and relaxing local hike - it seems the Carlon area is only a few miles away at most. And the biggest thing, for me at least, is the fishing that I plan on doing there smiling smiley
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
July 19, 2012 08:40PM
While on Bing, it's labelled as "Old Big Oak Flat Rd" though, which I think is correct (per the flickr photo description above). I was confused at first because the 120 is called "Big Oak Flat Rd" lol.

The Old Big Oak Flat Rd dates back to 1874 and was originally a stage coach road. The current Big Oak Flat Road dates to 1940 and, shortly before it enters the Park, it begins veering south of where the old road went (for much of the stretch into the Valley, the old road is as much as 1000 feet higher in altitude than the current road). By the time the new road was built, stage coaches were a thing of the past but the old road had been upgraded (as much as it could) to support automobile traffic and it remained open to auto traffic until a massive rock slide closed the lower portion of it permanently in May of 1945. The stretch from Hogdon Meadow up through Tuolumne Grove remained open to cars for several years more (I forget the date of closure but I believe it was in the 1970's). There's a brief stretch from Gin Flat on the current Tioga Road down to the Tamarack Flat CG which can still be driven when the campground is open.

Almost the entire stretch of the old road (at least within the Park...the road officially went as far as Chinese Camp out near Yosemite Junction...I know some stretches of that still exist (and at least one stretch is still open to cars) but I've not tried to trace that end of the road in it's entirety yet) is still a wonderful (and mostly fairly easy) hike. There IS a very brief section after the old road hits the Tuolumne Grove parking area where I've not been able to find the line of the road (it's possible that the current Tioga Road was built over the old alignment for a short stretch here) but a mile or so east on the Tioga Road, and the old road goes up a steep switchback on the left, makes a big semi-circle, crosses back over the Tioga Road at Gin Flat and then heads down to Tamarack Flat as mentioned above. Once you get east of Rainbow View, there are several rockslides that must be scrambled over but you can follow the road all the way down to the Valley.

So don't get confused. Old Big Oak Flat Road refers to this old stagecoach route and Big Oak Flat Road is the section of 120 up to Crane Flat and down in to the Valley from there on (at Crane Flat, Highway 120 turns east and becomes the Tioga Road...again the Old Tioga Road follows a significantly different alignment on it's way out to Tioga Pass but that's for a different post!). For the record, there's also an Old Wawona Road distinct from the current Wawona Road and an old Glacier Point Road distinct from the current (except for the last few miles out to GP...that part still follows the original alignment). There's also an Old Coulterville Road but there's not really a current equivalent of that one (Highway 140 is sort of the "new Coulterville Road" but I've never seen or heard it called that).

Oh, and BTW, most of these old roads went through a lot of areas that, even in the day, were heavily forested. With debris left to accumulate on much of the abandoned sections these days and impinging growth left alone, it can be very hard to see much of them on satellite photos (hell, sometimes it's hard to see them when you're walking on them!).
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
July 19, 2012 09:18PM
I moved to CA in 1987 and I remember the road to Tuolumne Grove being open to cars, one way (from Crane Flat). I think it was sometime in the early or mid (probably mid) 1990s that it closed to cars.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
July 19, 2012 09:34PM
Yes, back in 1990 that segment of the road was still open as a one-way road.
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
July 20, 2012 06:32AM
I know I have the exact date somewhere in all the printed materials I have about the old roads but haven't been able to find it yet. I just did a google search on it and, according to the first 3 sites I saw that actually addressed the question, one says the road was closed in 1992, one says 1993 and one says 1994! In any case, clearly later than I recalled when writing last night's response off the top of my head right before going to bed! winking smiley
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 13, 2012 03:31AM
It sounds like the stretch of road that the original poster is inquiring about is the segment of the Old Big Oak Flat Road that used to connect Hodgson Meadow with the original Big Oak Flat park entrance, located adjacent to the former Carl Inn site at the old park boundary (south of the current Carlon Day Use Area on Evergreen Road).

Yes, I've hiked this stretch of the old road. You wouldn't see it on Google Earth very well as it runs through a very thick old growth forest. As some background, this segment of the Old BOF Road served as the primary entrance to the park for visitors coming up State Route 120 from Manteca until around 1966 or so. The old alignment of Highway 120 outside the park ran past Crocker's Station (south of the current 120) and crossed over the current highway roughly right where the modern-day intersection of Evergreen Road/120 is located (the old road scar is easy to see if you know where to look). The old highway then roughly followed today's Evergreen Road, although the current road was modernized and realigned slightly in conjunction with the construction of the new Highway 120/Big Oak Flat park entrance in the mid 1960s. The old 120 followed what is now Evergreen Road to the Carlon Day Use Area, which it went right through (the current access road into the day use area was part of old 120). It then junctioned with the western end of the Old Tioga Road just south of the modern Evergreen Road bridge over the S. Fork Tuolumne River (there was an old bridge used by the Old Tioga Road that is no longer extant) at the site of the Carl Inn (which burned to the ground in 1969, I think). From there, 120 curved to the right and entered the park (the old concrete monument to which the park boundary sign was once affixed still stands next to the road), continuing south to Hodgson Meadow and then on up the hill toward Tuolumne Grove.

This entire section of 120 and the Old BOF Road was bypassed by the new 120/New BOF Road and new Park Entrance station in the late 1960s. A connector road from the old BOF Road over to the new one was built through Hodgson Meadow, allowing people to continue to drive the segment of the Old BOF Road through Tuolumne Grove and up to Crane Flat until 1990 or so, but the section of the old BOF Road between Hodgson Meadow and Carlon was permanently closed to vehicular traffic once the new park entrance was opened.

Hope that helps provide some background.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2012 03:33AM by Rob65.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 13, 2012 02:25PM
Thanks for all this info on the old Big Oak Flat Road (and also on the old Coulterville Road in another thread). I find it fascinating to travel on this old abandoned roads of Yosemite.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 16, 2012 08:10AM
I've checked out this area a couple of times now.. but haven't taken the
road entirely to Hodgdon... I've looked all around both north and south
around the current park boundary and have found nothing with respect
to any sort of boundary markers. If you would be so kind to pinpoint
exactly on a map where the "monument" is I would greatly appreciate it.
Around where the Hotel used to be the park service was recently
doing some refurbishing type work... maybe they removed the marker too???

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 20, 2012 07:06PM
I'll have to describe it to you. It has been a number of years (possibly close to 10) since I hiked the segment of the OBOF Road between Hodgson and Carlon. My memory is that the concrete post (that I assume once held the NPS sign denoting the park boundary) is/was located on the east side of the road (on the right if you are heading toward Carlon; on the left if you are heading toward Hodgson) and is rather buried in overgrown foliage and tree branches. Any signage was removed long ago; all that remained when I visited was a square concrete post probably 6-8 feet high or so, somewhat moss-covered. The post was, I assume, similar to the one that is located on the right side (heading northbound) of SR 41 at the South Entrance to the park.

I suppose it is possible that the post was removed, but I doubt they would bother. It's not a road that is open to public vehicle travel any longer and I don't see why they would bother with the expense to remove it. It is a bit hard to see, especially if you are walking toward Hodgson, as it is sort of buried in the foliage on the left side of the road. It's approximately in the location shown below (or used to be). I'm not sure where the old ranger entrance station was located, as the road is a bit narrow in the spot where the actual park boundary is located -- it was probably farther up toward Hodgson. Remember, this was the main park entrance for people coming from the Bay Area until around 1963 or so (don't have the exact year at my fingertips), so it would have had to have been located in a fairly large area where the traffic volumes (and large vehicles common to that era) could be reasonably accommodated.


To correct my previous post, the Carl Inn was long gone by 1969 -- it had a rather cursed history with respect to fires, having been destroyed and rebuilt a few times. I believe it finally either burned down or was razed by the Park Service in the 1940s as it sat, at least partially, inside the new YNP park boundary. There is a large clearing where it rather obviously once sat, right where the old Highway 120/Old BOF Road curves sharply to the right (west) as you enter from Evergreen Road.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2012 07:11PM by Rob65.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 21, 2012 09:27AM
I looked all around that area. And found nothing. I guess I will have to go back and look again.
I like to search around and find the numbered boundary markers.... so I poked around quite a bit...
and found nothing.

The park service, as I mentioned above, has done some restoration work in the Carlon area.
Rather than type what was on the sign...

This block o concrete was also there:

Wondered what it could possibly be...

They removed the block along with a bunch of asphalt and the pipes that were present since then...
It's a fairly clean area now. Probably the Aspens in that area are a nice color right now...

Curious as to why you keep writing Hodgson... not Hodgdon.

Thanks for the reponse

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 21, 2012 04:44PM
Given the restoration work they've done at the Carl Inn site, it certainly is possible that they went ahead and removed the old park entrance post. I wish my memory was better as to its exact location (or that I had taken a photo of it), but it was definitely right adjacent to the old highway, so it you can't find it now, it was certainly removed. I just went up Evergreen Road last weekend, but, alas, dark had fallen and I was on a mission for dinner at Evergreen Lodge after a day spent trying to find parts of the old Wawona Road and old Glacier Point Road around Chinquapin.

Sorry for the typo re Hodgdon. It's a strange name and I've seen it spelled both ways by different people. Some old books have it as "Hodgkin's", so I guess I'm part of a long tradition of misspellers!

As an aside (and not to hijack this thread), I've been enjoying your photos/maps of the old 4 Mile Trail. I've been interested in finding that for a long time but have not yet devoted any time to it. Great work! Someday soon I'll have to take a day and hike up the new trail and down the old one (or vice-versa), using your info as a guide. Perhaps this coming spring. Awesome stuff!

By the way, I leafed through some of my park history books and files earlier today and it seems that there was never any formal park entrance station on the old Highway 120 entrance, either at Carl Inn or Hodgdon -- drivers were allowed to continue up through Tuolumne Grove to Crane Flat, where the entrance station was located where the Old BOF Road (pre-1964 Highway 120) met the new Tioga Road and new BOF Road, roughly where the Tuolumne Grove parking area is located today. When the new BOF Entrance was opened in 1964 along the new Highway 120 alignment, the old Crane Flat entrance station was removed.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 21, 2012 07:53PM
Hijack away. I do know the original poster did indeed hike / bike the old road from
Hodgden down to Carlon area though.

Certainly can't take all credit for 4 Mile. Basilbop def. gets a shout-out from dis bird
along with a few others.

Had the same idea w/r to climbing up original and down the old. Still there are two
sections which need exploring. Have done the very top portion from near Sentinel Dome
(where the old sign still exists) down to the new trail a couple of times now... but
either didn't have map with me... or it was snow covered.
Additionally there is another section basil pointed out that is near the creek
crossing on the traverse under Sentinel Rock that needs looking at.
It's getting the time of year where I start visiting the valley more. Hopefully can
work 4 Mile in sometime soon-ish.

w/r to your comments regarding Old Tioga. I did read that the section from
Cath Creek to Tioga Pass was realigned at one time. And was near there
yesterday and the trail in that area certainly looks like an old road.
Previous time hiked that trail it was covered in snow.
Interesting idea w/r to hiking the entire thing from Aspen Valley. As long as
do it before or after the campgrounds are closed it would be mostly pleasant.
Might have to do a mile on the new road before May Lake road though.


Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 21, 2012 09:38PM
Well, since we're hijacking.....is the top of the old 4-Mile in a different location from the top of the current 4-Mile? If so, how/where did the Ledge Trail connect with 4-Mile (or did it just run along the current 4-Mile to Glacier Point and didn't ever connect with the old 4-Mile)? I just did Sentinel Dome last weekend (taking the old parking loop road that was closed in 1970 rather than the longer "official" trail) and climbed it from the valley side to avoid the hordes of college kids from Cal that were in a large group going up the official trail. Wasn't there an old trail connecting Sentinel Dome to the old 4-Mile Trail (downslope from the current trail between SD and Glacier Point parking lot)?

As for Old Tioga, yes, the original 1883 road was largely in a different location from the current alignment from Cathedral Creek to Tioga Pass. The current road was (as I'm sure you know) realigned in 1934 as the first of the three segments of Tioga Road reconstruction. I've hiked several individual portions of it, but not the entire segment in one go. The first portion (west to east) criss-crosses the current Tioga Road a few times between Cathedral Creek and the western end of Tuolumne Meadows, but enters the meadows just southwest of the current roadway (a piece of the old roadway is buried in a thick forest on the right side of the current road as you curve down the hill to enter the meadows). West of Cathedral Creek, I've never been able to really ascertain exactly where the old roadway was located between there and Tenaya Lake. I think much of it was destroyed in 1960-61 when the current road was built, but generally think it was to the south of the current road. There's a large quarry area that dates from the 1960-61 construction work, on the south side of the current road about 2/3 mile west of Cathedral Creek, and that's about as far west from Tuolumne Meadows as I've been able to trace the original alignment.

Anyway, going eastward, the current road was placed on top of the original road along the southern edge of Tuolumne Meadows going east to where the Soda Springs trail curves off to the northeast -- this trail is the old Tioga Road, which bridged the river where the current trail bridge is located (I think the abutments date from the old Tioga Road). The road then curved to the east (it did not go through Soda Springs, at least in its final incarnation) and continued along the current closed road into the access road for the Soda Springs/Glen Aulin trailhead, which is the old Tioga Road east to the junction with the current road. From there, the old alignment continued straight across the current road to its south side and followed the current bridle trail east (the old road through here was torn up in 1970, leaving just the trail now). The old road follows the trail to the current JMT parking lot and then continues into the modern access road for Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. The old road follows this to the point where the current access road curves to the right. Straight ahead is a service road that is the Old Tioga Road. This road starts climbing the grade out of the Meadows area -- where the service road curves to the right, the old Tioga Road continues straight up the hill. This section is in bad shape and not drivable. The old road continues up this grade, intersecting the current road at the big road cut where it meets the Dana Fork. From here east, the current road buries the old alignment for a short distance. Eventually, the old alignment veers off to the north of the current road and this segment is easily hikeable as they did not try to obliterate it when the new road was built. Pieces of old pavement show up along here, which surprised me somewhat as I had thought that the Tioga Road wasn't paved until the new segments were opened in the 1930s -- and that the central 21-mile segment wasn't paved until the late 1940s or so. But asphalt pavement definitely exists through here. The old road passes by some sort of concrete platform (just to its south) that I'm not sure what was for. After that, you have to cross Gaylor Creek (I saw no signs of the old bridge/culvert where the road crossed it), and a long straight section of the old road continues northeast, striking the current road near the Mono Pass trailhead. Where the current road curves to the north, the old road continues straight (to the NE), emerging into the open meadow and climbing to Tioga Pass to the east of the current road, meeting the current road just before the pass summit. From the pass, the original Tioga Road curved to the left from the current road and continued climbing to the site of Bennetville and the Great Sierra Mine; however, when the NPS bought the road, they abandoned this portion (which is now a hiking trail) and simply connected the Tioga Road to the new state road up Lee Vining Canyon that was built in 1918 (no road down the canyon had previously existed). That 1918 road survived largely intact until 1965 when the state completely rebuilt it down to U.S. 395. Several abandoned cut off fragments of the 1918 route down the canyon remain, and a couple are still in use as spur roads.

This is probably far more than you'll be interested in, but once I get going....it's hard to stop!
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 22, 2012 08:10AM
Don't stop. It's a pleasure when someone comes along and shares their passion.

I will print this out and try to follow it someday. Maybe much sooner than later.

4 Mile. Check out this map:

The top section I was speak of is not 4 Mile at all. It's the connector from Sentinel Dome to 4 Mile.
You can see that on this map:

From Linda Green, 1987, Historic Resource Study - Yosemite: The Park and it's Resources:
"The old abandoned trail parallels the present one up
the talus slope below Sentinel Rock. It begins on the valley floor about
fifty yards east of the present trail and proceeds via five switchbacks to
the base of Sentinel Rock, which it avoids by swinging 1,300 yards to the
east. After another 200-yard swing to the west, the old trail enters
another series of switchbacks to avoid a short rock-filled chimney at an
elevation of 1,200 feet above the floor. From there to Union Point is
another irregular series of zigzags, turning to the east and southwest, a
prime example of Conway's engineering competence. Union Point is 2,314
feet above the valley floor, and from there one can see Yosemite Fall,
Half Dome, North Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rock and Spires, and the
Big Oak Flat and Wawona roads.
The trail continues in several long, gentle
switchbacks to an elevation of 7,000 feet. There it squeezes east under
and over precipitous granite cliffs, emerging within sight of Glacier
Point's overhanging rock. Then the early-day hiker followed a level
stretch of trail and made the last climb of a 100-yard rise to Glacier
The impressive engineering and construction skills of
the builder are apparent everywhere. Abandonment of the trail and
construction of the present one in 1923 have hastened obliteration of the
old t r a i l , but only in the narrow, rock-filled chimney below Union Point is
one unable to follow its course. The modern t r a i l , paralleling the old,
traverses an additional 0.6 mile to eliminate a one-step grade. The
present Four-Mile Trail, therefore, is actually 4.6 miles long."

w/r to Tioga Road. Probably this map needs some tweaking:

w/r to Old GP Road. It's in excellent condition imo all the way to Bridalveil

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
October 22, 2012 11:09AM
Thanks for the maps -- that clarifies matters.

Yes, the Tioga Road map is off in a few places -- at the White Wolf/New Tioga junction, the old road didn't follow the current White Wolf access road but instead veered east off of it a little ways north of the current junction, curving diagonally to cross the road cut of the new Tioga Road just east of the White Wolf junction and then cutting straight SE to meet the Yosemite Creek CG access road about 100 yards south of where it junctions with New Tioga.

Also, I believe that the old road is mostly south of the current road between Porcupine Flat and the May Lake turnoff, but can't vouch for this 100 percent. Same goes for the stretch between the east end of Tenaya Lake and Cathedral Creek, per my last post. East from Tuolumne, the old road is mostly on a different alignment than the new road as I discussed before.

Re Old GP Road, I found its lower end at Chinquapin (the bottom portion was destroyed by the road cut for the 1938 New GP Road) and hiked up it some distance -- agree that it is in good shape. Am looking forward to a complete hike on it someday.

Old Wawona Road, however, is a different matter. What a mess to try and track that one, at least in the Chinquapin area. Hopefully it's in better shape south from there -- someday I'd like to follow it through the Eight Mile and 11-Mile areas down to Alder Creek, the former entrance station. But around Chinquapin, I couldn't find it easily and think I was mistaking the old Yosemite Timber RR grade for the WW road near Henness Ridge. I tried to follow it south from Grouse Creek, where it crosses the current road, but it had been intentionally obliterated and was very hard to hike on. I made it about 100 yards south from the site of the former Grouse Creek crossing (abutments remain) and gave up. Plus it was very wet in there (it had rained the day before), making it very slippery going over downed trees/branches.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
November 02, 2012 06:27AM
Also, I believe that the old road is mostly south of the current road between Porcupine Flat and the May Lake turnoff, but can't vouch for this 100 percent. Same goes for the stretch between the east end of Tenaya Lake and Cathedral Creek, per my last post.
Was in "Limo" last Saturday so could look at things other than the road along the way.
Heading south from May Lake road I spied the continuation of the old road. It looked in good shape.
At least the small portion I coud see. Had zero time to explore though. Def. on list o things to check out.

EDIT: Just looked at closedcontour map. And it shows the section. Purty kewl.

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2012 06:38AM by chick-on.
avatar Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
November 07, 2012 07:59AM
The stars aligned and was able to hike this section on Monday.
It's about 1 mile from May Lake road to the big turnout to the west.
The road is fairly simple to follow. Only 1 section is pretty messy with
lots of downfall. Poking around there were 3 sections that definitely
looked like old road but didn't align with what was going on.

Here's the edited GPS track

The culverts over Tioga are interesting. In two places there seem to be the older culverts which
they took a lot of pride in... and the newer ones which look like were just thrown in.

Shoot me a line if interested in any picts..

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hodgdon Meadow accessible trail/hike to Carlon Day Use Area?
August 13, 2015 06:35PM
Just re-reading this and loving it every bit as much as when I read the original posts! I've done most of the OBOFR, OCR, OWR and OGPR (well, at least the parts inside the park) and several short stretches of the OTR but lots of that one left to do. Thanks, guys, for all the detail and for sharing the love of these old roads!
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