From San Francisco and other points west of the Sierra Nevada, go to Interstate 580 East. Do not go south on 580, bear to the left and take Interstate 205. Be sure to follow the signs to reach Highway 99 north towards Sonora. You will exit onto Interstate 5 north for a very short distance as you will take the exit that says Highway 120 – Sonora. This takes you to Highway 99 and once you are on Highway 99 north, you will take the next exit which puts you back on Highway 120 east towards Sonora.
Follow Highway 120 until you reach the center of Oakdale. At this light, you will turn left onto Highway 120/108 east. Continue until Highway 120 splits to the right (Yosemite Junction). Continue straight on Highway 108 until you reach Jamestown (6 miles from Yosemite Junction). At the eastern end of Jamestown, you will take a left onto Jamestown-Shaw’s Flat Road (this is a shortcut). You will reach a stop sign in about 5 miles. Bear to the left and you will shortly reach Highway 49. Turn right and in less than a mile you will take your first left onto Parrotts Ferry Road. In about 3 miles you will see the Columbia State Historic Park sign on the right. You can park at the lot there or a few smaller ones around the park.
If you missed the Jamestown-Shaw’s Flat left turn off Highway 108, don’t panic. The next two lefts (Wigwam Road and Golf Links Road) both deadend on Jamestown-Shaw’s Flat Road where you will turn right and follow the directions above. If you miss these, take the business district exit onto Highway 49 into Sonora. This is Stockton Road. It deadends on Washington Street where you will turn left. Follow Highway 49 (Washington Street) and you will see signs directing you to Columbia. You will turn right onto Parrotts Ferry Road and follow the directions above.
From Southern California, you will drive north on Interstate 5 over what is referred to as the Grapevine. After you cross the mountains, you will continue straight on Highway 99 (do not continue on Highway 5). You will drive north through Bakersfield and Fresno. Continue on until you reach Merced. Watch for the Highway 59 exit which is after the G Street exit. Turn right when you exit, cross the railroad tracks and take a left at this light. Take your next right onto Highway 59 (there’s a sign there). This will save you at least ½ hour from continuing north to the Highway 120 exit. If you prefer this, follow the directions contained in the directions from the Bay Area. Follow Highway 59 until you reach Snelling. On the other side of Snelling, you will take a left on J-59 (there’s a sign which says Sonora). Follow J-59 past Lake Don Pedro until you reach Highway 108/120. Take a right and continue until you reach Jamestown. Refer to the last of the Directions from the Bay Area and Points West to Columbia State Historic Park.
From Sacramento, go south on Highway 99 to Stockton. In Stockton you will take Highway 4 east for about 55 miles until you come to Highway 49 just north of Angels Camp. You will go south (right) on Highway 49 through Angels Camp. Continue for about 16 miles (25 minutes) towards Columbia. Turn left onto Parrotts Ferry Road. In about 3 miles, you will be at Columbia State Historic Park.
If you are further south or arriving through Lodi, or other points in this area, you can travel to Stockton for Highway 4 or you can travel south on Highway 99 to Manteca and pick up Highway 120. Follow the Directions From the Bay Area and Points West once you reach Highway 120 which will take you through Oakdale.
The trip from the east is the most spectacular and scenic of all the routes to Tuolumne County. You have two choices. . .Sonora Pass or Tioga Pass. You might want to take one coming and the other going for the maximum Sierra Nevada and Yosemite experience. However, remember that both Sonora and Tioga passes are closed during the winter months…usually from October to the end of May. In this case, you can take I-80 and exit Highway 49 South.
U.S. Highway 395 follows the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in two states, California and Nevada. If you are coming from below Mono Lake, you will travel north on Highway 395 and if you are north of Mono Lake, you will travel south.
From the north, go south to Sonora Junction. Turn right onto Highway 108 and follow this over Sonora Pass, the second highest pass through the Sierra Nevada. You will pass through Strawberry, Pinecrest, Long Barn, Mi Wuk Village, Twain Harte, Standard, and into Sonora. Continue west on Highway 108 until you reach Lime Kiln Road. Take a right (this is actually South Washington Street) and continue into downtown Sonora. This becomes Highway 49 in the center of town. Just continue on for about 5 miles to Parrotts Ferry Road. You will see signs directing you to Columbia. You will turn right onto Parrotts Ferry Road and in about 3 miles you will reach Columbia State Historic Park.
If you’re traveling north on Highway 395, you will pass through Lone Pine, Independence, and Bishop. In Lee Vining, Highway 120, a left turn, takes you up to 10,000 feet through Tioga Pass, the highest pass through the Sierra Nevada. Again, remember this pass is closed during winter. There is a National Park fee for traveling this highway as it is the northern part of Yosemite National Park and some say the most beautiful. . .especially Tuolumne Meadows. You will follow this highway until you reach the end and then turn right (a left turn will take you into Yosemite Valley). Follow Highway 120 out of the National Park. You will pass through Buck Meadows, Big Oak Flat, and Groveland. When you reach the bottom of the steep grade outside Groveland (Moccasin), you will follow this past Don Pedro Lake to Jacksonville Road (your first right). You can continue on Highway 120/49 to Chinese Camp and turn right onto Highway 49 and then onto Highway 108. Follow the Bay Area Directions from this point on.
It is shorter to take Jacksonville Road. Follow this road into Jamestown. In the center of town on Main Street, turn right and at Highway 108, you will go straight across to Jamestown-Shaw’s Flat Road. Use the directions from the Bay Area and Points West directions once you are on Jamestown Shaw’s Flat Road.
You can also turn right on Highway 108 and take the Highway 49 and Business District exit (right) into Sonora and turn left on Washington Street (Stockton ends at Washington). Go through Sonora and follow the signs to Columbia (about 5 miles). You will turn right onto Parrotts Ferry Road and in about 3 miles you will reach Columbia State Historic Park.
For those with GPS: Latitude/Longitude: 38.0364 / -120.4003 – Elevation: 2118ft