Best town to live in close to Yosemite

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mts4602

Mountain climber
Louisville, KY
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 18, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
I've often thought of making the move to California to be closer to Yosemite and the Sierras, but I have no idea where I'd live. I was just wondering where some of you live and how far you have to drive to get to the valley. I've been there a few times and it seems like there isn't much civilzation until 2 or 3 hours outside the park. Bascially I'm looking for a decent sized town where a younger person like myself wouldn't go crazy from the lack of people my age. Also I work as an accountant so some place likely to have jobs would be good. I don't know much about it, but Fresno seems like it might fit the bill. I just don't want to drive 4 hours from San Fran everytime I want to go climbing.

So in short, where is a good place to live?

Matt
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 18, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
Fresno....not great (i'm super picky) but probably you're best option.
Much the best choice of Valley towns.
squishy

Mountain climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
I wouldn't move any closer than Sacramento, all other central valley cities suck big butts..
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:11pm PT
Four hours to the Valley isn't bad. I drive six.
michaeld

Sport climber
Sacramento
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
I wouldn't move any closer than Sacramento, all other central valley cities suck big butts..




+1. Smells like sh*t the more south on 99 you go.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:16pm PT
I grew up in Fresno, Spent four years at Berkeley, then nine in the Los Angeles area, and moved back to Fresno 31 years ago specifically because i wanted to be closer to the mountains. I wasn't disappointed. I even met my wife after I moved back here.

There are certainly plenty of opportunities for competent accountants here. It averages about two hours to Yosemite Valley from here, although I've gotten there as quickly as an hour-and-a-half. It's about the same to Courtright, the Balls, and several other excellent areas. While there's not a lot of outdoor bouldering within a short drive, we have a pretty good climbing gym. There's also a decent network of bike paths, and rather convenient cycling in the foothills and mountains east of here.

The downside is that we have about a million people in the greater Fresno area, with the mentality of a town of 50,000. If you're expecting cosmopolitan city attractions, you'll be disappointed. My summary would be this: If you like entertainment, you might want to look elsewhere and drive farther to the mountains. If you like supplying your own entertainment, or don't mind driving three or four hours for a first-rate, sophisticated atmosphere, you'll love it here.

John

Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:22pm PT
If you want to live close to Sierra climbing in a somewhat happening town, it's worth asking whether or not Yosemite is the only part of the Sierra that will do.
adikted

Boulder climber
Tahooooeeeee
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
Reno??
mts4602

Mountain climber
Louisville, KY
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Thanks John. That helps a lot.

No, Yosemite is not the only place that will do, but it is my primary motivation for moving there. I just wanted to see if what I was thinking was even possible.
squishy

Mountain climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
From Sacramento I can be in the Valley in about three hours depending on touron traffic...

I can reach Lovers Leap in about 1.5 hrs...and the beaches in about the same time...
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
I know this will come as a surprise, but no towns fit your description. You'd think in a massive state with 30+ million people that there would be some options, but nope.

Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
My first choice would be the little town of Auburn north of Sacramento .

Second would be Placerville .

Tied for third is Fresno or Sacramento .

You should calculate distance to Tahoe skiing also ...

... beware of Bakersfield

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Oakhurst might be worth considering, Mariposa is similar, but smaller, and Sonora is about the size of Oakhurst, all about 1 1/2 hrs from the Valley Floor. I always liked those towns and their outlying communities, but never lived in any of them. They're all within 1/2 hr commuting distance of big Central Valley towns like Fresno, Merced and Modesto.
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
North Fork.

Duh.


-JR
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
Bishop is too small for gainfull employment for most and too far away from the Valley when Tioga Pass is closed. Does have the wonderful option of the Eastern Sierra!!! If you can find decent work thefe do it! The Pass is open when the weather is best in the Valley.
PS Not a cultural hub.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 18, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
If you live in the foothills (Mariposa Oakhurst) you will find yourself going to Fresno for a good time. Really kind of a sad fate :) j/k. I like the foothills, a good compromise.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
Santa Cruz! Yeah, it's a bit of a drive, but Silicon Valley is booming again (good jobs); interesting university town; rated one of the best ART cities in America; great surf; good climbing gym; lots of nearby hiking. Sure your carbon footprint will enlarge with commuting and all but it's worth it... just don't paddle out at Sacramento Street.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
Reno.
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
you might consider the Tahoe area too.
Jim is right about Bishop. Great place, but geographically isolated from the Valley in the winter.
elAndy

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
You can always put your number-crunching skills to work for some of the fine organizations that employ people year-round here. Even if the Devil Needs Cash, it's still a nice play to be. NPS might be a little tricky what with the sequestration and all.....
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Yeah, NPS jobs are hold right now but even if they weren't, they do not specifically use CPA's for budgeting or accounting purposes. Most budget folk in the NPS came up from the ground floor.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
I look at properties around yosemite on the internet, just daydreaming abotu where I want to live. I see lots of stuff for sale up in Tuolomne County, looks like an hour or so north of El Portal. Otherwise you can wait for something to open up in Mariposa. Ideal if you can find a telecommuting job. I'm glad there's no huge cities next to Yosemite.
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groveland,_California

;-D
this just in

climber
north fork
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
North Fork.

Duh.

-JR

Yuuup. Bottom line, you gotta be a total badass to live here though. Probably why minus jr had to move away.
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
I like Mariposa for its small-town ambiance and it's about an hour to the Valley. It has the best winter access to the Valley with Hwy 140, so except during storms, one could climb all year in the Valley, keeping to the north side of the Valley during the winter.

I KNOW there's need for good and reasonably priced accountants here, tho you might be able to hook into a larger firm elsewhere and do the work by telecommuting if you don't need "city-fixes" too often. There's a lot going on here in this small town in spring and summer, but it gets kinda quiet during the winter.

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 18, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
Lost Sandwiches

Reasons:

Tahquitz
Josh
EastSide & West Side
Weather is great
Barney's Beanery
The Beach
Cheaper world flights out of LAX
Money is fairly abundant
Quality food is highly abundant
No football team to worry about in the NFL standings
Movie Stars
Swimming pools
The Pasadena Scene
The Silverlake Scene
The West Side Scene
The Valley Scene

most of all

Stoney Point, where legends are born.
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:04pm PT

Mar 18, 2013 - 02:44pm PT


North Fork.

Duh.

-JR


Yuuup. Bottom line, you gotta be a total badass to live here though. Probably why minus jr had to move away


Bottom line: some of us set forth and conquer new lands. Some of us rest on our laurels. ;)


-JR
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
No Modesto votes?
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
I had an axle fail near Groveland one time. We had to find a place to stay while the repairs were made. The only place that would accept dogs was the trailer park across from the market. We stayed there for three nights while the mechanic continually tried to rip us off. We had everything stolen that wasn't locked up or bolted down.

The mechanic was trying to tax us heavily on the work. 3x markup on a new axle. My brother, being a mechanic, got on his phone and sourced the part for the 1/3 price. We returned to the mechanic and asked if he would install a part that we supplied. Dude got red in the face, threatened me, and asked me if I'd bring my own steak to a steak dinner, his words. He refused to let us take the vehicle to a different shop. Things ended well when my younger brother, who is much larger than me, said what needed to be said.

Long story short, we vanquished the methheads, threatened the mechanic, went down the road to a reputable mechanic, not the AAA garage, and limped the vehicle back to Truckee.

On our second night in weirdtown, we went to the Iron Door. My brother and I were in the company of beautiful women, and by the end of the night, some old drunk a-hole threatened to kill me if I didn't let him speak privately with my girlfriend.

Keep on driving when you hit Groveland.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
I'm from the Fresno-Visalia area. Class was cancelled Monday so I went to the valley for the afternoon, climbed in solitude, had a snack in el cap meadow and was home in time to get some stuff done. Friday I bouldered all afternoon in perfect weather. Saturday I went to the valley again just to show a friend around. Sunday I climbed in Sequoia in solitude.

It's almost time for world class whitewater. I get to share the road with tractors. Great river fishing. Spent last weekend at the coast for a change of scenery. I play in water all summer and the snow all winter. You get part of your daily calorie intake from the air.

I love the central valley. Think about it...

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:34pm PT
No Modesto votes?

There's always a smartazz in the crowd.
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
Atwater

Stockton

Visalia

Terminous.....

Sacto Valley towns so desparate that you'll maximize your time in YNP.
Garaunteed.



snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:42pm PT
I make it to the valley floor in three hours from Oakland. Tuolumne is about 3:50, 3 hours to Tahoe. I live in a beautiful forested canyon that is a half mile from the freeway, 10 minutes from downtown, 20-30 minutes from San Fran. The weather is soo nice here almost year round, the cuisine is world class, the culture is multifaceted, the economy is great.

I could never live in Fresno, just one big strip mall and suburban sprawl. And yes, many days out of the year it smells like sh#t. Like many have said, if the main attraction to living in Fresno is the valley, why not move closer to the valley?? I'll take one extra hour of driving thanks!

PS- I have love for all my Fresno peeps, I'm just an elitist a-hole :)



rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
Isn't the new University of California In Merced? I always figured a good university makes for a good town - though it may take time for the town to grow up.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:04pm PT
Oh ya, don't believe drive times from anyone in the bay area. Just a heads up, it's a running joke in the rest of the state.

"I can go skiing in two point five hours" Hahahahahhhaaa!

Maybe everyone there just drives a porche in the middle of the night on weekdays with no highway patrol?
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
I like Markleeville and June Lake.
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
Limp,

you're wrong man. roadways are free flowing here for the most part. Unlike the rest of the state.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:16pm PT
Atwater - a definite choice for an impoverished Central Valley crankster mecca. Low rent. Low lifes. Since they closed the B52 base everything is shuttered and falling down. All the off-base military contractors that used to work there got fired, only first they had kids. A whole generation of hookers and pimps. Plenty of bargains strolling around town. Lots of overt anger and repressed rage. A place that will never come back. But 1-hour drive to Yosemite makes it a dirt bagger's destination of choice.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:17pm PT
I don't know KP, I lived in Tahoe for two years and had to go to the Bay area a lot. I'm a fast driver, I never make stops and I still couldn't come close to the numbers everyone was giving me when I was working the lifts or repairing their gear.

When I lived in Stockton it took longer to get to the valley than the SF climbers I'd meet.

I could be wrong, I usually am, but I know lots of people who noticed the glitch in bay area clocks ;-)
lars johansen

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
I'm thinkin' San Francisco.

lars
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:04pm PT
Iv'e logged drive time from Downtown Sonoma to Squaw entrance in under three on a few occasions. Made the Ditch proper in 3 hours 15 minutes as well. You're right though, gotta go at key times and hit it a bit hard. Monday through Thursday 10:00am start time and the asphalt seas part for you.

With SF 40 minutes away and Stinson Beach and the North Coast of Sonoma not much further, Wine Country ain't a bad place to be.
Captain...or Skully

climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
No way, Man.....Ir's Visalia.
Grow somethin', will ya?
Gene

climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
After 30-some years in the Central Valley, I know it sucks. Bad air. High crime. Gang bangers galore. Chronic unemployment. Low wages. No culture. Bad schools. Bubbas in pick-ups. Very low Ipad-to-population ratio. Few hybrids on the potholed roads. Churches on every corner. Rampant Ill literacy. Tweakers who will pull your fillings for the scrap metal. Hell, if you got any metal in anything larger than 2 gauge in your ear, the tweakers will scrap that too. English is the second language - even for thems that got ‘Merican as a native langwage. You’d be hecka batshit crazy to move to the Central Valley.

I like it here.

g
franky

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Sacramento, Davis, and Chico are the best towns in the central valley, all of them are pretty far from Yosemite.

Be aware that the central valley is HOT HOT HOT in the summer. The air quality is also awful (especially if there are a few fires burning). The air is bad enough to negatively impact life. Air quality and temperature are noticeably better in the Sacramento area than they are in Fresno.

Fresno has over a million people and despite that it is tough to find a shop that isn't walmart and food that isn't fast. I agree that there is a lot of climbing within 2 hours or so, but very little within an hour. The hospital in Fresno has one of the best trauma centers in the state, mostly due to the amount violence in the area.

Modesto is worse than Fresno.

Visalia is better than anything else in the southern part of the central valley, but not that much closer to Yosemite than Sacramento, which is a way better place to live.

I don't know many people who live in Bishop who get to Yosemite Valley much, the pass is of course open in the fall which is the best time to climb there, but it is still a haul and the likelihood of getting stuck behind slow traffic on Tioga Pass is high, you're looking at 3.5hrs or so.

No ideal place to live that is near Yosemite.

this just in

climber
north fork
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
Fresno does not have over a million people and it doesn't smell like sh#t until you reach Tulare.
My best advice would be the foothills and commute to the city whichever you choose. Oakhurst is a bigger mountain town and probably the closest thing to what you're looking for. Lots of cheap houses around right now too.
michaeld

Sport climber
Sacramento
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:31pm PT
How old are you?
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
Bishop Ca.

Best place, sport year round, super hot, super cold, just need a place to work and your golden.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
I'd suggest Dalkey, Ireland... perhaps not much of a help and we may not be here much longer. Council housing in some hell hole probably (Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, who knows).

But if you are one of the super rich who live here (Dalkey/Killiney), hop on your jet and Yosemite Valley is not that far.

Super rich need accountants.

We are not super rich, I had to sell the jet last week.


Seriously, having lived outside of California for many years (my native state), I'd say...

Stockton.

Okay, just joking,..

Lodi is...

Too near to Escalon.

San Francisco... beats most cities in the world, just cold summers.

Don't listen to me, as I am out of touch... but I miss California. I stay in ireland for Jennie's sake (she hates it here, and she is Irish, but free medical care and such... which she needs). Go West young man.

Chico, Auburn, Jackson, Napa, Sonora (uh, Dingus can tell you more, I lived in the Sonora area for over three years but that was in the 1970s, but is has grown and changed).

Merced? Fresno? I just don't know. Good luck and best wishes.

Cheers

Patrick
MB of the Central Valley

climber
kingsburg, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
I think JE in the early post nailed Fresno. I would only add: if you want to participate in your community, its important issues, and you are comfortable living and working in the red part of the blue state, you'll be fine in the greater Fresno to Visalia realm. The access is great, but you have to love to drive. Out the door after work requires a vehicle and some added drive time, for sure. You ought to know that religious conservatism is the dominate ruling paradigm. At least that was my world. Thought I would share my perspective.
franky

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
Fresno, Clovis, Madera, and other towns in the area are usually counted toward metropolitan fresno's total, which is over 1 million. It seems to be more relevant of a measure than the arbitrary boundary between fresno and it's suburbs, but whatever.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
woodfords cali. lol
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
the foothill towns are great...














if you like meth.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
You're from louisville. I spend time in louisville.
Go to Sacramento and enjoy a better quality of life.
Look at the surrounding suburbs... Folsom and El Dorado hills get you an hour from lovers Leap, Under 3.5hours from Yos Valley Floor.

I love living in El Dorado Hills.

EDIT: so it makes sense ;)
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
I have just done a bit of research...

...Fresno doesn't seem that bad nowadays (but I could be wrong).

As for me, Jennie and I need to be by the sea AND mountains. Kamchatka. Cold though.

Charlie Porter has it right, in Chile, and Guido (Joe McKeown), too. South Pacific, New Zealand, Santa Cruz (used to surf there). I am so envious

Go West, young man, there are a lot of opportunities.

I am ignorant, but I would start with Fresno, feel your way around and then make a bigger decision.

But don't take my advice, I am broke and could use your accountancy services.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
mts4602,

GhoulweJ speaks the truth, the Highway 50 corridor with it's access to professional and higher paying jobs is a place to consider from Davis/Sacramento to Pollock Pines and the Tahoe Basin. I live at 3,000 ft. in the Apple Hill area near the foothill community of Camino an old lumber town just east of Placerville. I ski all winter and climb all shoulder seasons and summer within a half or an hour of my house. We hit the Valley in the spring and fall and TM in the summer both three hours + a few minutes from our door to granite.

Please srbphoto, show me anywhere in rural America where meth isn't a problem (Hanford has it's own toxic issues, sorry for taking a jab) I for one find the Tea Party here in the foothills as annoying but not as lethal, at least I don't think so.

The Sierra Foothills are changing dramatically as urban climbers and skiers are trying to figure out how to live close to their passions. The communities here are incredible the best thing I ever did was moving from San Diego to Placerville in 1978.

If you find yourself along the corridor send me a PM, as a business owner with offices in Placerville, Sacramento and SLC I can provide you a good perspective. Best of luck!!!

Charlie D.
Captain...or Skully

climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Visalia is near Sequoia. That's a whole 'nuther place. It's like Yosemite Plus some stuff & minus others.
Don't get in a rut, peoples.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
the best thing I ever did was moving from San Diego to Placerville in 1978.

Wow pretty high praise considering SD has the best weather in the world and great beaches.

Lots of solid info above. No really good cities close to Yosemite.

I like the Sacramento area far better than the bay area. The weathers not as good but there's not 40 mile traffic jams going out and in every weekend.

Sac is an ok city.

The foothills east of sac are a good compromise for me. Auburn, I80 is better for skiing. Placerville, 50 is better for climbing.

Any of these options close to the Sierra is so much better than the humid East.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:09pm PT
^^^ Highway 50 has the best backcountry skiing in the the Tahoe Sierra, the Interstate 80 corridor has the best resorts.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
My house has the best wine.... I'm on Hwy 50.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
^^^ once again GhoulweJ speaks the truth, wait is there any left???
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 19, 2013 - 12:10am PT
I grew up in Fresno, lived in Sacto, Davis, Auburn, Placerville, Sonora, and Chico. I also lived many years in the park and spent a summer in Reno/Tahoe/Carson City. Chico is 5 hours from the valley and is the best of all of them, with all the accoutrements. Sacto and Davis are a long ways away from anything, including Yosemite. They're a smog pit, rat race, traffic/crime nightmare. Fresno is a smog pit too but really close to the valley and other Sierra destinations; JE sums it up well. Sonora is as close, or closer to Yosemite, but you might feel isolated there. It does have a lively community college, day bouldering, and is labeled a "mountain" town with great skiing and kayaking nearby. Auburn is like Sonora, but too far away. Modesto is 3.5 hours from the valley on congested farm roads; may as well live in SF and have it all. Besides Chico, I vote Sonora, then Fresno/Oakhurst.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Mar 19, 2013 - 01:27am PT
Modesto is 3.5 hours from the valley on congested farm roads

No, San Jose is 3.5 hours from the Valley. Modesto is considerabley closer.

map it out OP. you'll see what average drive times are.
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 19, 2013 - 02:12am PT
Modesto is 3.5 hours from the valley on congested farm roads

A typo, but not far off; 2.5 at best. If you're traveling in the middle of the night, maybe you can make it from SJ in 3.5. Weekend traffic maroons a lot of people in the city who are'nt willing to travel at oddball hours.

Like Werner said, you can make it to the valley from Fresno in 1:15 if all is clear.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Mar 19, 2013 - 06:44am PT
Foresta, until it burned down.


EDIT

Please srbphoto, show me anywhere in rural America where meth isn't a problem (Hanford has it's own toxic issues, sorry for taking a jab) I for one find the Tea Party here in the foothills as annoying but not as lethal, at least I don't think so.

I know that the Tea Party is toxic, but, and I am serious in asking, is meth a big problem in California? Call me naive, but are there really a lot of meth heads?


EDIT again

My mom was a Mountaineer (Montani semper liberi - Mountaineers Are Always Free). West Virginia.

Dad was from Olympia (it's the water - Tumwater - yeah some of the weakest beer around).

If you come West, and I love California (and miss it), Seattle? Okay, the Valley is not that close (by far), but you have the Cascades, Washington Pass, Rainer, Shuksan, Squamish not that far away, Bugaboos a bit farther, Idaho a bit closer (some great climbing, but just watch for rattlers as you cross eastern Washington, why do you think they call them Rattlesnake Hills around Yakima). Oh yes, Olympic NP, beautiful.

Just a thought. Being a native Californian, and if we leave Ireland, Seattle may be a destination. Heck, the rain wouldn't bother me, I've lived in Ireland for over 17 years. Why do you think they call it the Emerald Isle.

Otherwise, San Francisco, Chico, maybe Sonora (I went to Columbia College, good bouldering down in the arboretum), but I think that the Sonora area has become a sprawl (though I haven't been there for years). Twain Harte is nice. Oakhurst ain't bad.

But then, since 1982, most of my time has been spent in Europe, so...

I was really surprised (in 1993) how the Antelope Valley has become a massive sprawl of development. Lancaster and Palmdale are almost merged.

California here I come, right back where I started from...
mts4602

Mountain climber
Louisville, KY
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 19, 2013 - 08:35am PT
The Sacramento option is appealing, I had not thought of that before. Roughly the same distance to the valley as SF, but much closer to skiing, and the mountains overall. I appreicate all of the feedback. I have family in the bay area so that may be a good place to start out due to the connections.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Mar 19, 2013 - 09:36am PT
I lived in Nevada City for about 12 years, and found it to be fantastic on many fronts: world class mountain biking within minutes, Donner Summit about 50 minutes away, lots of other Tahoe area climbing within 1 to 1.5 hours, Yosemite within 5ish hours, XC skiing within minutes, snow shoeing within minutes, incredible local beauty, lots of cool cultural stuff, and within commuting distance to Sac for work and/or more nightlife options.

I'm not a huge fan of Fresno, but I've heard from many who live there that it's got its positive trade-offs, too.

Good luck!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Actually the closest you could get would be to live IN Yosemite.

Delaware North seems to always be a little short-handed and hiring.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/aboutus_employment.aspx

Now we may get a bunch of rants against this company but it's no worse than any other large company and there seem to be many employees who love their job and stay there working in the Valley for decades.

They seem even more short-handed down in Sequoia. Most likely because the work is seasonal and who wants a half-year job.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:42am PT
I've seen this question asked a million times.

Same 10-20 towns for answers though... they never change.

You know, people in Iowa and Kansas? They don't dream of moving to Fresno. They don't hang up fridge pictures of the bridges of Sacramento. There ain't no Walk of Fame in Chico.

I'm just saying.... be careful what you wish for. You may think you know, but you don't really know till you know.

Start in the bay area with relatives for anchor. Sail forth from there.

DMT

khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:04am PT
Good answer DMT.


And Brandon is right, you definitely don't want to live in Groveland or any of the other quaint small towns less than an hour to the park. Nope, they suck. Best stay away.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Go to Fresno, that will leave the door open for further dreams of your real Xanadu.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:21am PT
You would be best off living in Boulder, getting a flying license, and investing in a Cessna 210.....there is a sweet little airport in Mariposa. You might have to get some money from mom and pop.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Mar 21, 2013 - 07:13am PT
Jim, Cessna 210 (what I trained on), you don't set your sights high enough, Grumann Gulfstream or Dassault Falcon 50, though the Mariposa Airport (runway - 3,306 feet/1,008 meters) may not handle one of those babies, and neither could my checkbook.

but you certainly have set your sights high enough as a climber.


mts4602, I agree with several posters, if you have family in the Bay Area start there and then decide.


EDIT

Actually, I started out with a Cessna 182. well, before that a Cessna 160.

But I am now looking at buying a 747, just like the president on Air Force One, and the scientology kook, John Revolta.

You see, there is more room for the mountain of climbing gear I have on these aircraft.

Gear I will never use, but, I can dream.

Though a Cessna 210 is not a bad idea.


Seriously though, apart from my thread drift, mts4602, northern California has a lot to offer, just stay away from the Southland.

And to iterate, not having spent much time in the Golden State in recent years, I really have no idea where best to settle. Antelope Valley and Bakersfield would definitely be off my radar.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 07:48am PT
Do the 210 Cessna purchase and fly into Mammoth-Yosemite international...Oh wait , that's on the eastside , a 100 miles away with a snowbound Tioga Pass...My bad...
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 21, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Do the 210 Cessna purchase and fly into Mammoth-Yosemite international..

And watch out for ALL the commercial jets flying in there
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 21, 2013 - 10:52am PT
For point of record it was 1 hour and 45 minutes from my Coffee Ave. home in Modesto to the pullout at Middle Cathedral, in early morning with no traffic.

Those were my Yosemite years though I didn't know it at the time. We did grade V's from door to door, so nice :-)

DMT
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 10:55am PT
They just said on the news that west Fresno won for shortest life expectancy in the US or something like that, holla! I still like the valley, not much within 1/2 hour, but everything in under 2.
BuddhaStalin

climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 11:29am PT
Reno or carson city
mike a.

Sport climber
ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 11:34am PT
oakhurst, 20 miles from yosemite, and mins from shuteye, hands down best town close to yosemite, i think even better then bishop, you just can't beat shuteye, one of the best places i have ever climbed at, happy climbing mike a.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 11:34am PT
Didn't get a chance to read through the whole thread so not sure if anyone mentioned Sonora yet? I though that was a cool place when I lived there for a few months.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 21, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
Yeah, whoever was recommending the Boulder-Cessna route, its probably cheaper just to build a house in Oakhurst, since there's so much undeveloped land.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 21, 2013 - 01:46pm PT
Proof positive that there is no benevolent God. A benevolent God would never have positioned such a magnificent piece of natural architecture between the dreadful San Joaquin Valley and the desolate and culturally devoid Owens River Valley.
Central Colorado would have been a far better choice. If HE is looking to rectify his mistake ( and prove His existence) i am sure that we could come up with some tax incentives and moving costs.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
Mar 21, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
Reno or carson city

Really?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
So I was with some Swedes in the Valley and my car got broken into at the
old Apron parking lot. Besides a bunch of gear and cameras they took the
Swedes' passports and AMerican Express travelers checks, remember those?
Anyway, we gathered around the pay phone outside the bank while the Swede
who spoke the best English called Amex. Overhearing this conversation was
priceless. She kept asking him where the theft ocurred and where he was now.

"I'm in Yosemite National Park."
"Where's that?"
"It's in California."
"Where in California?"
"It's a national park in California."
"Yes, but where in California is it?"

This went on for quite a while as the only answer she wanted was that of a
city in California and something could not exist unless it was in a city, right?
Then he got the brilliant idea to mention that he was standing outside the
bank in Yosemite National Park. Suddenly it was if that made it a real place
as it had a bank. Then she was willing to talk to him.
The Swedes thought that was the funniest and most pathetic thing of their
whole trip.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 21, 2013 - 03:01pm PT
Was probaly some meth heads from down in the central valley.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Mar 22, 2013 - 04:50am PT
How close you must live to a city depends upon what kind of slave you are. Chose a place...a place "too far" away, then double the distance, because, eventually, people will follow your path (if procreation keeps up).

Starlite.

In the 'Milks, within bicycle range of The Peabodies, good enough for when Tioga is closed. What you do for a living depends upon what you carve out for yourself.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:13am PT
>I've often thought of making the move to California to be closer to Yosemite and the Sierras<

Don't stop at the TPR, Matt, on your next trip to the SIERRA.

Just fair warnin'.

>There is a sweet little airport in Mariposa.<

That's not all. It's the choice of the booest dogs and the merriest posers alike!
If you lived here, you'd be nearly in Yosemite in the time it takes to...
If you lived here, you'd be nearly in Yosemite in the time it takes to read this thread...
Credit: mouse from merced
Just below Mariposa on 140.

No love for Mercy Gulch?

It's been my privilege to meet such as Roger Brown and Werner Braun who have carved out niches for themselves in the Valley. There are others like Ken Yeager taking business the Curry Co or DelNo hand out. There are countless others doing the same thing in other mountain villages and hamlets. Like cooking or waiting on tables part of the year, trying to make it on UI the rest. I worked seasonally for yearts in this valley town and were it not for having to pay all that child support, I'd have had enough scratch to climb regularly. As it happens, even if you live close, money's still an (at least a small) objective problem, even if you work hard.

(Really, man, stay out of the range of HJ at TPR unless you nomenclate the Sierra Nevada correctly.)
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Mar 22, 2013 - 11:45am PT
I live about 39 1/3 minutes from the west 120 entrance, in a small town of about 900 people. No offence to Brandon, but I wonder if he wasn't confusing Groveland with Manteca or something. These towns have good and bad and each has it's own unique character. Groveland is bigger in area but smaller in population (~600) because most residents don't live there full time. It has the gated community of Pine Mountain Lake. The majority of residents live pretty far from any actual town. We live nowhere near Coulterville, but that's our address.

As DMT describes, these towns have very little in the way of job opportunities. By and large people make a living either working elsewhere or setting up a business, usually related to the tourist trade. If Yosemite closed half the towns around here would be boarded up and shut down in short order. In the winter employment is very hard to find.

But people live here because it's beautiful and (mostly) peaceful and you can generally do your own thing. I live here because I can be in El Cap meadow in a bit over an hour.

I think that for a lot of folks places up here would be a difficult adjustment. It's a different way of live and simple things like getting out of your driveway can sometimes get rather complicated. There are no Starbucks and no Whole Fools. We only moved here last year, but we both knew it's what we wanted and were quite prepared for (and desirous of) the level of independence required.

If you are uncertain about that Sonora is a great option. I really love the feel of that town -- it's a good compromise between a community and a busy, happening town. It even has decent sushi. Their economy isn't nearly so dependent on tourism. There is fantastic climbing up 108, and you are still 'only' about 1:10 to the Yosemite entrance.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 22, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
Yeah Sonora seems to fit the bill the best. Close as you can get to the park and be in a decent sized town (for work, and ladies- which is what we all know you mean by people your own age).

Any of the central valley cities/towns from FresNO to Stockton are pretty depressed.

The central valley can fill with fog in the winter. Sometimes it's warmer at 6000 feet on the ski hills than in the valley. The more you get into the foothills the more you avoid it. I'm at only 400 feet and avoid a lot of it. If you get above around 1000-1500 feet you avoid all of it.

Sacramento is the best you can do in the central valley, which isn't saying much. But it's a decent city. Foothills east of Sacramento are a good compromise between climbing/skiing/jobs.

Kirkwood is the last major resort to the south. So you could live in Lodi and be close to world class skiing and Yosemite, but then you'd be stuck in Lodi. There's other areas further south like dodge ridge and china peak but they have less expert terrain. If you are only into backcountry skiing there's lots of good places.

If you are into boating there's Lathrop (near Stockton) and the Delta. The delta is a pretty amazing resource people forget about for some reason.

Too many people and only 1 freeway out of it to Yosemite which is a parking lot on Friday afternoons. But as you said the Bay Area would be a good place to start if you have family. Maybe stay in a room at a relative's house and then buy a cabin up by the valley.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Mar 22, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Another option is to live wherever and just visit Yos for a couple of weeks a year. I'm telling you, Yosemite sucks as a regular weekend destination. I don't care where you live you will encounter spirit breaking traffic, even in the valley. Two or three hours to the valley floor after work on Friday? Don't count on it. I'd ignore every time estimate posted here- people in California are voluntarily delusional about how long it takes to get around, otherwise we would go crazy.

Also, no town with actual jobs posted on this thread is close enough for routine day trips (unless you are a glutton for punishment and love driving 150+ miles each day behind Germans driving rental RVs) so you have the whole camping thing to deal with. Most of the camping is hard to get and not that great when you do.

It's an amazing place but a tough one to have as your local crag.

khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
It's an amazing place but a tough one to have as your local crag.

Yup, it really sucks.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Yup....Yosemite is a place for superlatives. Best climbing on the planet and right up there for the worst hang.
bergbryce

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 27, 2013 - 01:09am PT
School me on Lodi.

There is a possibility I could be moving to the central valley for school at some point in time which would take place in Stockton. Everyone says Stockton is dangerous and I need to live in Lodi or somewhere else nearby.

Suggestions besides going to school somewhere else?



Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 27, 2013 - 01:45am PT
Funky house in the Delta.

Oakdale

Rent out the top floor of the General Store in Farmington

Escalon

Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Dec 27, 2013 - 03:50am PT
San Jose is 3.5 hours from the Valley.

San Jose must have moved, 'cause I lived in San Jose for many years and it never took less than 5-1/2 hours. And I drove to the Valley almost every weekend for years.

One time I made it in 4 hours hitch-hiking. I hitched a ride in San Jose with a guy who was trying to get to his brother's wedding on time (in 3 hours). I was so terrified of how fast he was driving I closed my eyes and pretended to go to sleep so that I wouldn't have to look.

If you leave San Jose at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night, at 11:00 p.m. you'll still be trying to get out of the Bay Area traffic.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned how bad the crime is in San Jose and the central valley (Frezno, Modesto, etc.). I guess you guys are all just accustomed to living in high crime areas.

Bishop has my vote. Bishop rules.
Harvey Manfrenjensen

Big Wall climber
Dec 27, 2013 - 04:02am PT
After 57 posts by the locals telling you how shitty that area is to live in...

Live somewhere you like and road trip it.

I dunno
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 27, 2013 - 04:39am PT
Hmm, if you leave San Jose at 6pm on Friday, it might well take you 5.5 hours.
Especially if it was in the years before 101 was widened south of San Jose - that used to be quite a bottleneck. Or before 205 at Tracy went to 6 lanes.

I've done the drive many times in 3.5 hours from Palo Alto,
but usually I leave at 7:30, 8pm or later.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 27, 2013 - 08:28am PT
Harry gets it. Crime is the stopper for many settlers in the Central Valley.

Where ya land is where ya land.

If you HAVE a choice,

STAY OUT of the Central Valley plains, where you could get mugged, knifed, rolled, car-jacked, die of lung disease, get run over by a Budweiser truck, die in a drive-by or gang shooting, a police shooting, or a domestic beef with your significant one;

find no job for months on end if you get laid off, fight traffic lights, ignorant drivers, fog, miles and miles of flat, open fields, miles and miles of having no view for the f*#king orchards;

and Taco wagons every third block in some neighborhoods, Armenian colonials, Hmong colonials, Jalisco colonials, Sonora colonials, a world of colonials;

methamphetamine farms, pot farms, low-riders, cowboy wannabes, oil patchers, The CHP, homeless by the score in many places, more Mexican radio stations than in Mexico itself;

Mouse from Merced, the HEAT, the bad air for days and days, and maybe in-laws if you are truly out of favor with the Lord.

On the other hand, there's the whole Sierra Nevada, not just Yosemite, to play in when time permits.

And Oakdale. Can't forget Oakdale. Get to Oakdale for the Climbing Festival and look around. (It's looking better than Merced to me right now.)

I've lived in the Valley and the Valley and I'd not hesitate to choose the Valley over the Valley.

It's a no-brainer.

The City just plain isn't in it.
It all works out.
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
Dec 27, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
In January my son & I visited Louisville for the Cyclocross World Championships and noticed how much the restaurants were like those in the San Francisco Bay Area .Right now I think that is where you would find a great outdoor & people place to move to. Good luck !
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Dec 27, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
everybody knows those SF to Valley drive times start at Altamont and end at the Iron door.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 27, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
I've lived here for 25 years, so I know....

yer gonna die.

DMT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 27, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Crawford, Co.....sweet little town next to the West Elk Wilderness. Okay, it's not near Yosemite but it is right next to the Black Canyon....a Yosemite like experience with a little more spice, few people and no ranger hassles.
John M

climber
Dec 27, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
I think bergbryce is still waiting for someone to tell him about Lodi. I don't know it at all.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 27, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
Montecito.....a little distance but if you can afford to live there you probably have a helicopter option.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 27, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
^^^^OK, Jim. Now the whole office is trying to figure out why I can't stop laughing.

John
Ryan Tetz

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 28, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Over the last 2 decades, I've lived in Sonora, Placerville, Napa Valley, Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows, Flagstaff, and Bishop/Mammoth Lakes. I've pretty much been based in Bishop the last 3 years. I have to say, Bishop has a good thing going for it as far as getting out in general. There is a good vibe here because the people that move here like to get out and do things; that's why a lot of them moved here! This is my second "climbing town". I've skied more here than any of the other places on the list. I've got deep into endurance road biking. I'm invited to go bouldering about every other day year round. I've had to get used to constantly turning down partners most weeks because days off are already doing something else fun! The weather is unbeatable year round (I thought Flag had it good!). The social scene is different, but pretty cool because most of the folks you know end up being 20-40 something climber/mountain folks. There are always a few folks stoked on sport climbing at the gorge (although it only goes up to a handful of 5.13's and the routes tend to be tech/endurofests more than steep sport style. The mainstream sport climbing road tripper scene has mostly moved on so town definitely tends to be a bouldering crew town). Tuolumne Meadows is pretty darn close in the summer. It's probably the best day trip choice in Yosemite in general. There is really good fishing and alpine climbing opportunities in the summer as well. There isn't good airport access here without driving 4-6 hours in any direction. Gas and groceries cost more $$$ because of the distance isolation.

We tend to miss out pretty hard on the spring Yose season waiting for the pass to open up. There are a few short weeks of climbable weather in the Valley immediately after the pass opens, most locals get 1 or 2 trips in, then we wait till fall. The valley cools down sometime between sept/oct with the pass closing around Nov so that's another 6-10 weeks of doable weather in the valley... So 2-3 months of good Yosemite weather access a year if you can hang with that! I try to get on walls during the hot season or occasionally early start really long routes to get some Valley mileage in during July/Aug etc. It does hurt a little bit sometimes thinking about the t shirt climbing weather I've had there in February that is off limits to us. We generally hurt for trad climbing access out here. It can be found, but not tons close for regular cragging days!

So far I really like it here overall! I would say move to a climbing town with decent year round weather if at all possible if that is really what you want to do! As far as this list is concerned, I'd say Sonora is probably the best bet for being real close to the Valley year round if that is #1. There is some steep sport and bouldering there too!
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