2007 Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau Visitors Guide

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Visitors Guide for Madera County

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  • Passageway into the Range of LightAhwahnee Bass Lake Chowchilla Coarsegold Fish Camp Madera Madera Ranchos

    North Fork Oakhurst ONeals Raymond Wawona

    V I S I T O R S G U I D E 2 0 0 7

  • Sure, other mountains exist, other waterfalls and other places that may seem ideal to take in a sunrise or a sunset. Birds soar in other parts of the country; deer frolic in other meadows.

    But around here, in Yosemite National Park and its outlying communities, there is uniqueness and a beauty that is second to none.

    No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite, famed naturalist John Muir wrote in his book The Yosemite. Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life.

    Theres a reason for that.

    Take a look at the stunning cliff formations, hike among the towering giant sequoias and picnic in

    settings filled with picturesque views.

    Then venture outside the park and visit places such as Oakhurst and Coarsegold, towns perhaps as rich in history as the gold mined throughout the region.

    Relax in the surroundings of scenic Bass Lake or stroll through the specialty shops sprinkled in the area like the snow that falls in the wintertime.

    Come to play. Come to stay. Come to shop.

    For more information, contact the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, located at 41969 Highway 41 in Oakhurst, CA 93644. Visit the Web site at www.YosemiteThisYear.com, e-mail at ysvb@yosemitethisyear.com or call 559/683-4636; fax: 559/683-5697.

    Theres nothing quite like it

    Michael Ambrose ~ Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP

    559/683-4636 - YosemiteThisYear.com 3

  • Travels of a lifetime start hereIts been said that getting there is half the fun. This sage comment most eloquently describes the experience of traveling Californias Southern Yosemite Highway 41 through Madera County into Yosemite National Park and the magnificent Sierra Nevada.

    Abundant attractions, affordable lodging and convenient travel services await you year-round in Yosemites most popular gateway region.

    The Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau has been providing travel planning information and assistance to visitors from around the world for nearly two decades. If you find something lacking in this guide as you plan your visit, we welcome a call to the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Center where our helpful staff and volunteers will cheerfully assist you.

    Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

    Theres Nothing Quite Like It .......................... 3

    Travels of a Lifetime Start Here .............................. 5

    Valley Cities and Towns............................. 6

    Madera Wine Trail ................ 9

    Coarsegold ...........................11

    Ahwahnee ........................... 15

    Arts in Madera County ....... 17

    Oakhurst ............................. 19

    Bass Lake ............................. 24

    Bass Lake Recreation Area .. 25

    Regarding Wildlife .............. 27

    Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway....................... 28

    North Fork .......................... 30

    Fish Camp............................31

    Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway Map .............. 33

    Madera County/Southern Yosemite Area Map ............. 34

    The Road to Heaven ........... 36

    Wawona .............................. 37

    Campgrounds ..................... 40

    Camping Information .........41

    Museums and Historic Sites ....................... 43

    Pow Wows ........................... 45

    Summer/Spring .................. 46

    Fall/Winter .......................... 47

    Wedding Dreams Come True .......................... 49

    Cars ..................................... 50

    Calendar of Events ............. 50

    The Yosemite/ Madera County Film Commission .............. 52

    Photo: Paul Mullins - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP

    Table of ConTenTs

    559/683-4636 - YosemiteThisYear.com 5

  • ValleY CiTies and Towns

    Chowchilla CityChowchilla is located 16 miles north of Madera along Californias historic Highway 99. Portions of this town resemble Southern California, like Robertson Boulevard, where rows of palm trees greet motorists as they pass through. Dont be confused, as Chowchilla is far more accented with the feel of a small town once you start exploring. The Western Stampede rides into town (literally) every April, and in 2007 celebrates its 50th year. The Chowchilla Madera County Fair celebrates spring in May, complete with festival rides, barbecues and a parade. Power Boat Races at the Berenda Reservoir the weekend before Fathers Day draw people from all over the west. Water plumes, supercharged boats and food, food, food make this one of Madera Countys most exciting events.

    Agriculture and real estate have long been staples of this Central Valley community at the crossroads of Highways 152 and 99. Stops at local fruit stands and the new RV & Golf Resort should be on your itinerary.

    www.ci.chowchilla.ca.us

    Madera CityThe Spanish word for lumber, Madera denotes this citys origins as a lumber company. Trades of agriculture followed and in 1893 Madera became the seat of local government for the region that is now the southern gateway to Yosemite National Park. Growth is a given in Madera County. It has one of the fastest growing populations in California. Fairs, festivals and celebrations are the predominant industry of agriculture are held year-round. Tourism is also on the rise with new opportunities to experience Madera County coming on-line soon. Madera County officials expect completion of a new picturesque government center by January of 2007 and it will be worthy of a few snapshots for your travel scrapbook.

    www.maderachamber.com

    Madera RanchosWhat began as a simple rural planned community of ranch houses for equestrian owners just off Highway 41 and north of Fresno has blossomed into a vibrant community of retail stores, commercial businesses, grocery stores and restaurants. It also boasts professional community services, including doctors and dentists.

  • Pacific Ethanol has built a processing plant that some hope will pay dividends with cleaner, cheaper fuels for the consumers of Madera County.

    Childrens Hospital of the Central Valley is located within Madera Ranchos. This regional facility serves children and parents from around the world. Its multicolored castle-like appearance makes it another photo opportunity not to be missed.

    onealsLongtime residents claim ONeals was the center of populous before Madera was a county and even after it was formed. It was a main hub of activity during the gold days in the Sierra foothills along with Hildreth and Finegold. The Abby Mine located here was reportedly one of the richest gold mines in the states history. Just east of Southern Yosemite Highway 41 along County Road 200, businesses that exist there today are the Ponderosa Telephone Company, Westbrook Wine Farm and several local cattle ranches.

    RaymondOnce a major stage coach stop en route to Yosemite, this small town later became the terminus for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The town center is located about 15 miles west of Coarsegold. Raymond and the nearby town of Knowles, have long been the sites of major granite quarries providing stone used throughout the west. Much of the granite used to rebuild San Franciscos civic buildings after the 1906 earthquake came from Raymond. The Raymond Granite Company is still operating today.

    Visitors can grab lunch at the Raymond General Store and drive down the main road often times only passing a car or two. While gone are the days of the railroad and stage coach, cattle ranching continues to be an important way of life here.

    During the third weekend in April, hundreds of residents and visitors line both sides of Main Street for the annual Raymond Parade.

    Paul Mullins - Sierra Foothills

  • Madera wine Trail Not all California wines are made in Napa. In fact, a growing cluster of family owned wineries in Madera County are becoming favorite spots for wine connoisseurs from around the world. For the past four years, members of the Madera Vintners Association have joined efforts to present the Madera Wine Trail. Wine enthusiasts can choose where they want to go and sample wines through Madera and its surrounding communities year-round. Just pick up a map and follow the signs of good taste.

    Special wine tasting events are offered three times a

    year. For a modest fee you purchase a souvenir glass and then travel to participating locations on the trail, where you indulge in a wide variety of wines, scrumptious food and outstanding entertainment. Sound like fun? The best!

    Around Valentines Day, try coming out for the wine and chocolate weekend, or take part in the spring wine trail every May and return for the holiday wine trail in November. Mark your calendars now!

    www.maderavintners.com

    Paul Mullins - Valley Vineyards

  • 10 Yosemite sierra Visitors Bureau

  • CoarsegoldOnce a heavily populated town of the California Gold Rush, Coarsegold is located roughly seven miles south of Oakhurst on Southern Yosemite Highway 41. Though seemingly small in size, with the majority of businesses lined up and down the highway, Coarsegold actually rivals Oakhurst in population and continues to grow, with housing sprinkled through the foothills and including the community known as Yosemite Lakes Park.

    For those who want to be where the action is, visit the Coarsegold Historic Village with its specialty shops and special events, including among other things, gold panning.

    Coarsegold is well known for its Peddlers Fairs held the weekends of Memorial Day and Labor Day, where residents and v