California’s Route 395 is one of the most spectacular drives in the United States.
Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur Cali, Horse Country in Virginia, Oregon Coast, Going to the Sun Road in Glacier – all beautiful and rivaled by this great drive.
The trail was first believed to be used by Jedediah Smith in 1826. The trail was in common use by prospectors passing through the area because of the Cali gold rush and Comstock Lode.
Though this area was not directly affected by the gold and silver rushes, the Owens Valley was more fertile than the areas around the strikes in Nevada. Farmers and ranchers raised cattle and other goods to trade with the mining boom towns nearby.
The town of Bishop was established to trade goods with the mining town of Aurora Colorado.
By 1860, the Camino Sierra was an established trail appearing in maps and guides. After these mining rushes died down, the Camino Sierra saw a revival because of the construction of the LA Aqueduct beginning in 1908. The route was promoted for its scenic value by the Southern Pacific Rail as a side trip from its rail lines, as far back as 1912.
By 1918, the Camino Sierra had been included in the “Blue Book”, an early road atlas of the United States.
An added attraction along the route is Devil’s Post Pile National Monument – created as a National Monument in 1911.
The Monument was once part of Yosemite National Park – discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a boundary change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land. Later, a proposal to build a hydroelectric dam called for blasting the Postpile into the river. Influential Californians, including John Muir persuaded the federal government to stop the demolition.
In 1911, President William Taft protected the area as a National Monument. The Top of Devil’s Post Pile is amazing alone – Nature’s Tile Floor…
The route offers many scenic viewpoints, big enough for a 40″ motorhome.
If you are lucky enough to visit in fall, you may see amazing colors with leaf changes and bright blue skies. Enjoy!