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Theseason of travel for sight-seers over the roads to Yosemite generally begins about the first of April, and closes about the first of November. On some of the higher parts of the mountains which the roads traverse snow falls to a depth of several feet, making the roads impassable by horses during the winter months. On the stage routes forces of men are usually employed to clear passages along stretches of road where the snow lies latest in the year.
For information concerning the opening and close of the season, and for time-tables and rates of fare, it will be necessary to consult the agents or the advertisements of the several railway and stage companies, as their arrangements in those respects are subject to alteration.
There are three regular stage routes to the Yosemite Valley, and as many additional roads, of which the traveler by private conveyance may take his choice. Each of these roads has attractions of its own, besides those which are to be found on all alike. Visitors sometimes approach the Valley by one road and leave it by another. When this is done, the road by which the departure is made is almost invariably pronounced to be inferior in interest to that by which the traveler arrived. An explanation of this circumstance is found in the fact that to anybody fresh from the incomparable magnificence of the Yosemite all the rest of the world is apt to appear rather unsatisfactory and insignificant. The very scenery which, while en route to Yosemite, has filled the spectator with enthusiastic delight, may, when one is returning, fail to cause even an ordinary sense of pleasure.
The Raymond Route.—(Sometimes called the Berenda route.) Raymond is the terminus of the Yosemite branch of the Southern Pacific railway. It is distant from San Francisco 200 miles by rail, and twenty-two miles from Berenda, where the branch diverges from the main line of railway.
From Raymond to the Yosemite Valley, the distances to and between consecutive points, are as follows:
|Grant’s Sulphur Springs||11||25|
|Wawona (Big Tree Station)||11||36|
|Inspiration Point (first general view of Valley)||8.95||55.71|
|El Capitan Bridge (in Valley)||3.56||59.27|
This road is a regular stage route, stages leaving Raymond daily during the season. At Raymond, Grant’s Springs and Wawona are hotels, where stage passengers take meals.
In going to and returning from Yosemite, passengers generally remain over night at Wawona, visiting the Mariposa Big Trees during the afternoon of the day on which they return from the Valley. (See Wawona, Chap. VI.)
The distance to and around the Big Tree Grove, and back to Wawona, is seventeen miles.
The Milton or Big Oak Flat Route.—This regular stage route begins at Milton, the terminus of the Stockton and Copperopolis railway. Milton is by rail distant from San Francisco 133 miles, and thirty miles from Stockton, where the S. & C. railway branches off from the Central Pacific.
From Milton to the Yosemite Valley, the distances are as follows:
|Bridge over Stanislaus River||7.00||21.83|
|Goodwin’s Table Mountain Pass||3.50||25.33|
|Moffitt’s Bridge, Tuolumne River||4.18||33.01|
|Big Oak Flat||1.07||42.01|
|Upper Bridge, South Fork Tuolumne River||1.37||64.59|
|Tuolumne Big Tree Grove||4.44||74.37|
|Junction with Coulterville Road (in Valley)||7.18||87.62|
This route runs through the Tuolumne Big Tree Grove, numbering about thirty trees.
Priests’ Hotel and Chinese Camp are places where passengers may remain over night. Meals are obtainable at nearly all the other places named.
Calaveras Big Tree Route.—This road, like the preceding, is a regular stage route, and begins at Milton. The distances to the Valley and points by the way are as follows:
|Half Way House||8.11||38.11|
|Calaveras Big Tree Grove Hotel||7.31||52.73|
|Half Way House, returning||7.31||52.73|
|Trail to Natural Bridge||3.32||68.32|
|Ferry over Stanislaus River||2.27||73.76|
|To Yosemite Village, as in preceding table||62.45||152.53|
The Madera Route.—This is not a stage route through to the Valley, stages running only as far as Fresno Flats. The road begins at Madera, a town on the Southern Pacific railway,. 185 miles distant from San Francisco.
From Madera to Yosemite, the distances are as follows:
|Coarse Gold (Krohn’s Hotel)||13.50||38.50|
|Fish Camp Hotel||12.00||62.00|
|Forks of road to Mariposa Big Trees||2.92||64.92|
|Inspiration Point (first general view of Valley)-||8.95||88.10|
|El Capitan Bridge||3.56||91.66|
From the forks of the road to the Big Tree Grove, the distance to and around the grove and back to the main road is about eleven miles. The trip from Fish Camp to the Big Trees and return, or to the Big Trees and thence to Wawona, can be made comfortably in a day, allowing plenty of time for an inspection of the trees.
On this road there is no toll to pay until coming to Wawona. Between Wawona and the Valley the tolls are as follows:
|Passenger teams, each animal||$1.25||65c.|
|Horse and rider||.90||65c.|
Merced and Coulterville Route.— This also is a road for private conveyances.
From Merced, on the Southern Pacific railway, and distant 152 miles from San Francisco, the distances to the Valley are as follows:
|Forks of road to Crane Flat||0.36||71.55|
|Merced Grove Big Trees||2.80||74.35|
|Junction with Merced River trail||4.59||87.39|
|Junction with Big Oak Flat road||2.61||90.00|
This route passes directly by the Merced Grove of Big Trees, about fifty in number.
At Bower Cave the public road ends, and tolls are collected for travel on the continuation of the road, the following being the rates charged:
|Each passenger in vehicle||$1.00||$1.00|
|Horse and rider||1.00||1.00|
Modesto and Coulterville Route.—Modesto, where this route begins, is on the Southern Pacific railway, and 114 miles from San Francisco.
The distances between Modesto and the Valley are nearly as follows:
From Coulterville the same road is followed as in the table preceding.
The Mariposa Route.—This line of travel may also be taken from Merced, whence the distances to the Valley are as follows:
|Junction with Snelling Road||0.87||7.22|
|Lava Bed Station||7.26||14.48|
|Junction Indian Gulch Road||1.52||23.98|
|Summit Chowchilla Mountain||5.24||62.55|
|Yosemite Village, as in preceding tables||26.88||93.93|
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