Best town to live in close to Yosemite


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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.

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.

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

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


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...

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.

Trad climber
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.

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.


Jon Beck

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

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

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.


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.

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...

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 :-)


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.

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

Sport climber
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.

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.
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