AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

New rules to ensure post quality. See this thread for details.

Author Topic: Sierra Vista Scenic Byway; Sierra National Forest Routes 10, 7 and 81  (Read 1696 times)

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

This past month I made a visit up to a campground in Sierra National Forest which was just off the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway.  The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway was created in 1989 and is comprised of about 83 miles of roadway made up from Forest Route 10, 7 and 81.  The big attraction to the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is the overlooks along the San Joaquin River watershed on the western side of the Sierra Nevada Range.  A large portion of Forest Route 10 and Forest Route 7 are unpaved but appear to be well within the capabilities of the average car.

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/07/sierra-national-forest-route-10-sierra.html
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

I went back and revisited the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway and drove the entire 82.7.  This was a hell of a good time, my photos can be found below:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/151828809@N08/676682

Here are some route observations:

I started out on Sky Ranch Road (Madera County Road 632) the same way I did earlier in the month.  Sky Ranch Road becomes Forest Route 10 (FR 6S10) upon entering Sierra National Forest.  Up to FR 6S40 the route of Forest Route 10 is fairly normal but drops in quality greatly north of it.  The real problem was that there was a ton of active logging operations out and about.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway turns east on FR 6S10X (Beasore Loop) on a very high quality gravel road.  This is really where the Byway was at it's most fun with a well grade soft surface allowing for 35-40 MPH speeds on open straights.  There wasn't much to see on this section but it was a fun ride.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway turns north on Forest Route 7 (FR 5S07) on Beasore Road.  There is a small store site known as Jones Store that is worth a stop.  North of Grizzly Road the alignment of Forest Route 7 is heavily washed out but top layered with dirt.  Forest Route 7 turns eastward and crosses over the 1952 Chiquito Creek Bridge before reaching the overlook at Portuguese Creek.  The paved/dirt portion is very good eastward to Forest Route 81.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway turns south on Forest Route 81 (FS 4S81) on Minarets Road.  Forest Route 81 is a normal two-lane road (which shows what CA 203 could have been) and has the majority of the vistas along the San Joaquin River Canyon.  In particular I found Jackass Rock and the Mile High Vista of the Mammoth Pool to be noteworthy.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway ends near North Fork at Road 225/Italian Bar Road.  I made a small side trip about a mile southward to the geographic center of California.

All and all I'd say if you're up for a series of challenging but manageable roadways this is a perfect byway to do it on.  For reference I was driving a low clearance Subaru Impreza, the whole Byway can easily be accomplished in the advertised five hours with careful driving.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

Back in July I camped in Sierra National Forest just off of the Forest Route 10/6S10 portion of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway along North Fork Willow Creek.  This past week I returned to the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway to complete the entire 82.7 mile circuit on Forest Routes 10, 7 and 81.  Given that each Forest Route is wildly different I figured that I would convert the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway blogs into a three part series.  Part 1 of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway traverses the approximately 17 miles of roadway that is covered by Forest Route 10 on Forest Roads 6S10 and 6S10X from Road 632/Sky Ranch Road to Forest Route 7/5S07 on Beasore Road.  Much of Forest Route 10 north of Forest Road 6S40 is dirt or broken asphalt covered in dirt.  Of note there is access to notable locales on Forest Route 10 like the Nelder Redwood Grove and Fresno Dome Vista.  The dirt segment of Forest Route 10 on Forest Road 10 is especially notable for being an extremely well graded and fun dirt road to drive upon. 

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/07/sierra-national-forest-route-10-sierra.html
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

One of the questions that came up originally when I started this series on Facebook was regarding Forest Road numbering convention.  Sierra, Inyo, Stanislaus and Sequoia National Forests all share the same Township/Range grid for which the numbers are based.  Below is the explanation I gave for Forest Road numbers on Part 1 of the blog series:

Of note; Forest Route numbers generally follow a convention based off the Township they originate in.  All National Forests are charted in a Township and Range grid, in the case of the former they span 6 mile sectors.  For roads like Forest Route 10 they also carry a Forest Road Number which denotes it's Township point of origin.  Much of Forest Route 10 is internally numbered as Forest Road 6S10 denoting it's point of origin is in Township 6S of Sierra National Forest.  Forest Service Roads are given numbers based off where what Township the north terminus is located in.  Spur routes of a mainline Forest Route carry a letter designation at the end hence why Beasore Loop is signed is numbered Forest Road 6S10X.  Most National Forests tend to place two digit route shields on Forest Routes which are suited to travel by conventional vehicles which includes run of the mill cars.  In the case of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway while there are rough roads in it's alignment all of them can be traversed by a normal low clearance car. 
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

Part 2 of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway series covers Sierra National Forest Route 7 on Beasore Road from Forest Route 10 east to Forest Route 81.  The initial part of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway on Forest Route 7 is a normal two lane road that passes by the 1954 cash-only Jones Store.  Beyond Globe Rock the alignment of Forest Route 7 drops to a heavily washed out asphalt road covered in dirt. Interestingly the 1952 Upper Chiquito Creek Bridge was slated for replacement this year but is still in service with no signs of construction.  Forest Route 7 passes by the Portuguese Creek overlook of Shuteye Ridge and Jackass Meadow as it skirts along the boundary of the Ansel Adams Wilderness towards Forest Route 81. 

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/08/sierra-vista-scenic-byway-part-2-bumpy.html
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

Part 3 of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway covers Forest Route 81 south from Forest Route 7 into North Fork.  Forest Route 81 is by far the most scenic part of the Byway with almost constant vistas of the San Joaquin River Canyon.  Sites of interest on Forest Route 81 include; Jackass Road, Arch Rock, the Mammoth Pool from Mile High Vista and Ross Cabin just to name a few.  The Mammoth Pool and Forest Route 81 are of particular interest in a historic context due to both driving a push to build the Minaret Summit Highway starting in the late 1950s.  The Minaret Summit Highway if built likely would have utilized all of CA 203 from Minaret Summit and Forest Route 81 south towards North Fork.  The history of the Minaret Summit Highway plans are actually pretty old and have origins in the scaling back of Yosemite National Park in the early 20th Century.  I went into substantially more detail on the history of the Minaret Summit Highway proposal in the blog below:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/08/sierra-vista-scenic-byway-part-3-sierra.html
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 17175
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 12:24:35 PM
    • Gribblenation

I made an update to Part 1 of the Gribblenation series on the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, specifically pertaining to Sierra National Forest Route 10.  The Part 1 article new includes detours to the Nelder Grove of Redwood Sequoias and the Bass Lake Vista.  Forest Roads; 6S47Y, 6S90, 5S19, 6S11X, 6S11, and 6S88 are now described in detail with accompanying photographs:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/07/sierra-national-forest-route-10-sierra.html
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.