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Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  There were advisory speed limits for 20 MPH but no true posted speed limit.





I would speculate the grade on Road 425B is well within excess of 10% during the drop northbound towards Oakhurst.  There is a couple large switchbacks which widen out into a vista of Oakhurst and the valley carved out by the Fresno River.






















At Stillmeadow Drive Road 425B widens out to a two-lane road and becomes heavily populated.





Road 425B descends down into Oakhurst and ends at a crossing of China Creek at Road 426.





CA 41 would have turned left and headed north back to the modern alignment up ahead in this photo.





North of Oakhurst Road 425A is also signed as Old Yosemite Road and is fenced off about a mile north of town.  I don't believe Road 425A was part of CA 41 due to the 1935 Map of Madera County shows the state maintained road following Neeler Creek to Bass Lake Road/Road 222 much as it does with the present alignment.  Road 425C appears to have been in use as CA 41 south of Oakhurst at the same time Road 425B.  I have no idea when Road 425B was replaced with the modern grade to the west but it must have been a hell of a ride trying to get to Yosemite when Legislative Route Number 125 was adopted in 1933.

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