California State Route 49

State Route 49 marker

State Route 49
Golden Chain Highway
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 349
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 295.065 mi[1] (474.861 km)
SR 49 has three route breaks, and the length given above does not include the SR 120, SR 20, and SR 89 overlap mileages.
Existed: 1934 – present
Major junctions
South end: SR 41 at Oakhurst
  SR 140 at Mariposa
SR 120 south end of overlap
SR 120 in Oakdale (north end of overlap)
SR 108 in Sonora
SR 4 in Angels Camp
SR 104 in Sutter Creek
US 50 in Placerville
I-80 in Auburn
SR 20 in Nevada City
SR 89 through Sierra County
North end: SR 70 at Vinton
Highway system

State highways in California(list • pre-1964)
History • Unconstructed • Deleted • Freeway • Scenic

SR 47 US 50
State Route 49 crossing the American River North/Middle Fork, as seen from Foresthill Bridge (the SR-49 bridge is unseen)
The South Fork of the Yuba River as it intersects with Hwy 49

State Route 49 (SR 49) is a north–south state highway in the U.S. state of California that passes through many historic mining communities of the 1849 California gold rush. Highway 49 is numbered after the "49ers", the waves of immigrants who swept into the area looking for gold, and a portion of it is known as the Gold Country Highway. This roadway begins at Oakhurst, Madera County, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where it diverges from State Route 41. It continues in a generally northwest direction, weaving through the communities of Goldside and Ahwahnee, before crossing into Mariposa County. State Route 49 then continues northward through the counties of Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Sierra, and Plumas, where it reaches its northern terminus at State Route 70, in Vinton.


Route description

SR 49 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[2] and is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System.[3] It is known as the Golden Chain Highway for the entire route. SR 49 is known as the Golden Center Freeway from Grass Valley to Nevada City, the John C. Begovich Memorial Highway from Jackson to SR 88, and the Mother Lode Highway from Sonora to Auburn.[4]

SR 49 starts at an intersection with SR 41 near Oakhurst. The road heads west before turning north before the town of Ahwahnee near the Wassama Roundhouse State Historic Park. SR 49 continues north, passing through Nipinnswassee before entering Mariposa County and the Sierra National Forest. Continuing to the west, SR 49 passes through Mormon Bar before running concurrently with SR 140 briefly through the town of Mariposa. Near the town of Mount Bullion, SR 49 passes by Mariposa-Yosemite Airport before turning northwest and going through Bear Valley and the intersection with CR J16. The highway passes by the southern edge of Lake McClure and intersects SR 132 in Coulterville before passing into Tuolumne County.[5]

SR 49 in Tuolumne County

SR 49 continues north through the town of Moccasin, where SR 120 runs concurrently for several miles to the town of Chinese Camp. SR 49 then then turns northeast and runs concurrently with SR 108, intersecting CR E5, into the city of Sonora. SR 49 splits from SR 108 and enters downtown Sonora as Stockton Street, turning north onto Washington Street before leaving the Sonora city limits. SR 49 intersects the north end of CR E5 before passing through Tuttletown and crossing into Calaveras County at the bridge over the Stanislaus River.[5]

SR 49 passes by Robinson's Ferry, a ferry across the Stanislaus River established in 1848. Next is the Birthplace of Archie Stevenot, who helped found the California State Chamber of Commerce and was officially named "Mr. Mother Lode" by the California legislature.[citation needed] SR 49 then enters Carson Hill[5], where the largest gold nugget in California (195 pounds troy) was found.[citation needed] Passing by New Melones Lake, SR 49 briefly runs concurrently with SR 4 in the city of Angels Camp,[5] which lies in one of the richest quartz mining sections of the Mother Lode is and home of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".[citation needed]

SR 49 continues through Altaville, which was an important foundry town. Fourth Crossing was an important stagecoach and freighting depot that served the southern mines until after the turn of the 20th century.[citation needed] The highway continues into San Andreas, where SR 12 terminates.[5] This is where Charles Bolles, also known as "Black Bart", was tried and sentenced. Chili Gulch is the site of the Chilean War.[citation needed] SR 49 continues into Mokelumne Hill, where it intersects with SR 26;[5] Mokelumne Hill was the richest placer mining section of Calaveras County and one of the principal mining towns of California in its heyday.[citation needed]

SR 49 then passes through Big Bar, which is located on the county line between Amador County and Calaveras County. The Mokelumne River was mined at this point in 1848. Established in 1849, the "Whale Boat Ferry" operated until the first bridge was built, about 1852. The Butte Store is the only structure remaining of Butte City, prosperous mining town of the 1850s. Argonaut and Kennedy Mines were two of the highest-yielding gold mines in the state.[citation needed] SR 49 runs concurrently with SR 88 briefly through the town of Martell before intersecting the eastern terminus of SR 104 and passing through first the city of Sutter Creek and then Drytown.[5] Drytown is the oldest town in Amador County and the first in the county in which gold was discovered.[citation needed]

SR 49 then intersects the eastern end of SR 12 before passing through the city of Plymouth. The highway continues through Enterprise before crossing into El Dorado County and passing through the towns of Nashville, El Dorado, and Diamond Springs (the latter two as Pleasant Valley Road) before entering Placerville. SR 49 traverses downtown on Pacific Street and Main Street before continuing onto Spring Street, where it intersects the US 50 expressway at-grade before continuing north as Georgetown Road.[5]

As it leaves the Placerville city limits, SR 49 intersects the southern terminus of SR 193 before continuing northwest as Coloma Road into the town of Coloma,[5] where gold was first discovered in 1848, sparking the gold rush. It is home of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.[citation needed] The highway continues through Lotus before turning north at Pilot Hill and intersecting the northern terminus of SR 193 at Cool. SR 49 continues through the Auburn State Recreation Area before crossing into Placer County and entering the city of Auburn as High Street. SR 49 continues onto Lincoln Way before making a turn north and interchanging with I-80. SR 49 continues almost due north out of the Auburn city limits.[5].

SR 49 continues north, crossing into Nevada County and passing through Higgins Corner and Forest Springs. SR 49 becomes a freeway and enters the city of Grass Valley, where it runs concurrently with SR 20 and interchanges with the northern end of SR 174.[5] Empire Mine in Grass Valley was the richest hard-rock mine in California in its mining history of 106 years (1850–1956).[citation needed] SR 49 and SR 20 continue into Nevada City, where SR 49 exits from the freeway and heads due west out of the Nevada City city limits.[5]

SR 49 continues through the towns of Sweetland and North San Juan, where it crosses into Yuba County and enters Tahoe National Forest. The route goes through Log Cabin and Camptonville.[5] Camptonville is a gold rush town where the Pelton wheel was invented and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.[citation needed] SR 49 then crosses into Sierra County, where it passes through Goodyears Bar, Downieville, and Sierra City on its forest journey. After passing near Kentucky Mine Historic Park, SR 49 goes through Bassets and Haskell Creek before running concurrently with SR 89 briefly through Sattley and Sierraville. SR 49 then leaves the forest as Loyalton Road, passing through the city of Loyalton and intersecting CR A24 before crossing into Plumas County as Vinton Loyalton Road, where SR 49 ends at SR 70 in the town of Vinton.[5]

North end of Highway 49, at intersection with CA Hwy 70 in Vinton


Major intersections

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile
Destinations Notes
MAD 0.00-9.28
Oakhurst 0.00 SR 41 – Yosemite, Fresno
4.49 Road 600, Sunrise Drive – Raymond
MPA 0.33-48.84
Mariposa 18.50
21.22[N 1]
SR 140 west – Merced South end of SR 140 overlap
22.00[N 1]
SR 140 east / Jones Street – Yosemite North end of SR 140 overlap
Old Toll Road – Hornitos, Snelling
Bear Valley 29.45 CR J16 (Bear Valley Road) – Hornitos, Snelling
Coulterville 44.67 SR 132 west – La Grange, Modesto
CR J132 east (Main Street) – Greeley Hill, Yosemite
TUO 0.00-R27.52
R23.90[N 2]
SR 120 east – Yosemite South end of SR 120 overlap
15.52[N 2]
SR 120 west – Oakdale North end of SR 120 overlap
R11.59 SR 108 west – Modesto South end of SR 108 overlap
Jamestown 14.74 CR E5 (Rawhide Road) / Humbug Street
Sonora 16.48 SR 108 east – Pinecrest North end of SR 108 overlap; south end of SR 108 Bus. overlap
17.97 Washington Street (SR 108 Bus. east) – Sonora Pass, Twain Harte Former SR 108 east; north end of SR 108 Bus. overlap
20.40 CR E18 (Parrots Ferry Road) – Columbia
23.71 CR E5 (Rawhide Road) – Jamestown
CAL R0.00-30.87
Angels Camp 7.21 Old Highway 4 – Murphys, Arnold, Bear Valley, Markleeville Former SR 4 east
8.67 SR 4 – Murphys, Copperopolis, Farmington, Stockton
San Andreas 18.79 Mountain Ranch Road – Mountain Ranch, Sheep Ranch
19.41 California 49.svg SR 49 Hist. (Main Street) Former SR 49 north
R20.50 SR 12 west – Valley Springs, Stockton
R22.21 California 49.svg SR 49 Hist. (Gold Strike Road) Former SR 49 south
Mokelumne Hill 27.61 SR 26 – Valley Springs, West Point
AMA 0.00-22.12
Jackson 4.03 SR 88 east – Pine Grove, Woodfords South end of SR 88 overlap
Martell 5.93 SR 88 west – Stockton North end of SR 88 overlap
Sutter Creek 6.98 SR 104 (Ridge Road)
Old Route 49, Valley View Drive – Sutter Creek, Amador City Former SR 49 north
Old Highway 49 – Amador City, Sutter Creek Former SR 49 south
Central House 14.72 SR 16 west – Sacramento
Plymouth 17.22 CR E16 (Shenandoah Road) / Main Street – Fiddletown, River Pines
El Dorado
ED 0.00-38.23
El Dorado 9.64 Pleasant Valley Road – Sacramento Former US 50 west
Forni Road Former US 50 east
Diamond Springs 11.24 US 50 (CA).svg Missouri Flat Road to US 50
11.86 Pleasant Valley Road, Fowler Lane
Placerville 14.90 US 50 (El Dorado Freeway) – Lake Tahoe, Sacramento
15.69 SR 193 – Georgetown
Coloma 22.87 Cold Springs Road (SR 153) – Gold Hill
Lotus (Lotus Road)
Rattlesnake Bar Road – Folsom Lake
Cool 34.47 SR 193 east – Greenwood, Georgetown South end of SR 193 overlap
PLA 0.00-11.37
Auburn 3.21 I-80 (SR 193 west) – Reno, Sacramento Interchange; north end of SR 193 overlap
6.38 I-80 (CA).svg Bell Road to I-80 Serves Auburn Municipal Airport
NEV 0.00-R32.64
2.19 Combie Road, Wolf Road – Lake of the Pines
Grass Valley South end of freeway
R13.66 McKnight Way, South Auburn Street
R12.30[N 3]
SR 20 west / Empire Street – Marysville South end of SR 20 overlap
R12.92[N 3] 182A SR 174 – Colfax, Grass Valley
R13.61[N 3] 182B Idaho Maryland Road, East Main Street – Grass Valley
R14.80[N 3] 183 Brunswick Road
R15.92[N 3] 185A Gold Flat Road, Ridge Road Signed as exit 185 westbound
Nevada City R16.74[N 3] 185B Sacramento Street – Nevada City Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R16.99[N 3]-
R17.24[N 3]
186 Broad Street, Coyote Street – Nevada City
North end of freeway
R17.40[N 3]
SR 20 east / Uren Street – Truckee North end of SR 20 overlap
15.81 West Broad Street, Cement Hill Road – Nevada City
27.52 Pleasant Valley Road – French Corral, Bridgeport
YUB R0.00-9.37
3.59 CR E20 (Marysville Road) – Log Cabin
SIE 0.00-64.05
R34.31 Gold Lake Road – Blairsden, Gold Lake, Graeagle
19.96[N 4]
SR 89 north – Calpine, Graeagle, Blairsden, Quincy South end of SR 89 overlap
Sattley CR A23 (Westside Road)
Sierraville 15.06[N 4]
SR 89 south – Truckee North end of SR 89 overlap
Loyalton CR A24 (4th Street)
PLU 0.00-7.50
Vinton 7.50 SR 70 – Beckwourth, Quincy, Reno
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened
  1. ^ a b Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 140 rather than SR 49.
  2. ^ a b Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 120 rather than SR 49.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 20 rather than SR 49.
  4. ^ a b Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 89 rather than SR 49.


External links

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