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An early opening for the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway!

Sometimes called “the Secret Yosemite,” the 100-mile Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is now OPEN for the summer season, as the result of less-than average snowfall last winter and a warm spring! The road makes its way through the Sierra National Forest, next to Yosemite National Park and offers spectacular views without all of the crowds of its more popular neighbor. (Speaking of Yosemite, the page above has an alert that the Tioga Road [Highway 120 through the park] is scheduled to open tomorrow, May 11, at noon!)

According to Jarrod Lyman of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau:

The byway begins in North Fork — the exact geographic center of California, Lyman observes — and rises in elevation from 3,000 feet to above 7,000 at different points. Landmarks include scenic stops such as the Mile High Vista and Fresno Dome overlooks, intriguing rock formations such as Globe and Arch rocks, and man-made attractions such as the 19th century Jesse Ross Cabin and the Jones general store at Beasore Meadow.

“The Jones Store is such a popular stop for people along the byway. It’s like stepping back in time, they have no electricity, no phone service, yet still are famous for delicious hamburgers and pie,” Lyman said. “The store has an amazing history, and the owner, Vern Black, who was a bomber pilot in World War II and has run the store for over 50 years, can tell some amazing stories of life in the region many years ago.”

The byway is maintained by the National Forest Service. A video of a trip on the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is here, and a suggested itinerary is here. Travelers should phone (559) 877- 2218 for current road conditions.

-Bill at

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