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By Dave Boyer

(Please click on smaller images to enlarge)

On July 24th, I decided to meet up with Sportsmobile Forum member Steve (SteveInLA) and his wife Carmen at Yosemite Creek campground. He said they would be up there around mid day and hoped I could camp with them for a night.

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Work had their claws in me so the best I could do was a quick visit to the park.

I’m not really into cram packed campgrounds but for a quick visit they’re fine. I figured a nice easy off road drive on the way up would add to the day. I got a hold of my buddy Don from Merced to tag along and headed toward Merced to pick him up. The weather was reasonably warm but not scorching hot like it usually is in July. After a local breakfast, we headed up the hill. The plan was to do a 4×4 run on the way up and we had a couple of choices that would fit into our day. Bull Creek and The Old Coulterville Trail are both excellent runs, but Bull Creek is a longer haul, so the Coulterville route got the vote. Besides, we had planned to hit Tuolumne Meadows before the meet and greet and it would take an extra hour or so to reach the upper high country. For more details about either of these runs, you’ll find them on this site under Bull Creek Road and The Old Coulterville Trail.


After pulling into Coulterville, we peeled off highway 132 and started up Dogtown Rd.

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This part of the trail is built for any passenger car.


Further up the road it turns to dirt. I got stuck behind a Jeep and had to pull over until his dust cleared.






It does get dusty on this route and this is mild compared to what’s further up the trail.




The road climbs a steep grade for a few miles and offers a few nice vista point to look over the area.




After passing the residential area, the trail degrades and there are a couple of water crossings, neither of which were over 6” deep.


A couple months back it was a different story when the creeks were swollen and a good 3 feet deep.


After Dogtown we turned on The Old Coulterville Trail.


I usually take this route home when visiting Yosemite because it doesn’t add that much time to get back to the barn.

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The views were really nice and the road was a pleasant drive.


After a few miles in we noticed the trail was starting to narrow. You can see ruts made during wet weather which indicates this might not be a great drive after a storm passes through.


Some of the areas were dense and thickly forested.

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After a while we started seeing a lot of trees down and whoever cleared the road didn’t figure a vehicle as large as my van would be using the trail.





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This easy route was kickin my paint jobs ass! Talk about pin stripping, stuff was poking and sticking out from all angles and these were the good spots. All I hoped was it would clear further up the road.

Then we found this!


I made a couple of runs at it but the road was not gonna yield.

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OK, make my day… just turn around and go back past all of the paint scraping vegetation. Actually it’s all part of the adventure and I’m not complaining, but I sure was glad I wasn’t pulling my 4×4 trailer. Like I said in my original post on the Coulterville Trail, it’s best to call ahead and ask the condition of the route you’re planning to take.

Now we had to take the lousy highway. Moore Creek Road (also called Buck Meadows Road) was a short cut that was loaded with washboard but still better than asphalt. Even with taking the shortcut the washout on the Coulterville Road put us a few hours behind.


After the traffic jam, we headed up Tioga Pass. I figured Steve had probably reached Yosemite Creek CG by now so we didn’t make too many stops, but my plans to reach Tuolumne Meadows would have to take the back seat. The turn off to the campground isn’t too far up the pass and is just past White Wolf HSC. If you’ve never driven into Yosemite Creek CG you should take the time to cruise this single lane 5+ mile paved road. The trip down the road offers a few nice vista points.


After arriving at the campground, nothing big and red stood out. How can you hide a Sportsmobile, especially a red one? It was obvious Steve and Carmen were not there yet. Had they come and gone? The lower half of the campground was closed off for repair and the rest of it was packed. We found a couple spots but wondered if Steve had bugged out looking for greener pastures. I asked a couple from the park staff “you seen anything like this only red”…nope. On the way out we saw something big blocking the path…they had made it. Well at least something we had planned to do worked out. I told them we would follow them down to the camp to find a spot as sites were few and far between.


Well actually not far between, hell, they’re jam packed next to one another! We exchanged greeting and began the search. Don and I had found one camp that was better than others and took Steve to see if he wanted it…yep. We spent an hour or so talking about Sportsmobiles, tires, and winches among a host of other things. I had a good time and as always, meeting other SMB owners is a memorable event.DSC05808

I sure wish we could have stayed longer but we had a good 2 hour drive ahead of us.


Well, it had been a good day and although I didn’t make it up to Yosemite’s high country, the meeting of new friends is what really made the trip. I hope to meet up with Steve and Carmen again soon. Maybe a trip down south when the weather cool in early winter.

I was surprised what this years weather did to the Coulterville route. I plan to find out if the forest service is even going to do a repair to the trail but I’ll bet they’ll throw out the old excuse that they’re out of funding.

After I made it home, the next day I took a look at the van.

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You might have to zoom up on the pictures to see the Sierra pin striping. As for me, I’ll just keep them minimized 🙂

Maybe see ya out on the trail.