Navigating Italian Bar Road – California's historic gravel track

Italian Bar Road is a mostly unpaved road located in Tuolumne County, California, in United States.

Italian Bar Road

How long is Italian Bar Road?

Located within the Stanislaus National Forest, a United States national forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California, the track is 27.19km (16.9 miles) long. The road is rugged and the speed limit is 15 miles per hour. Sometimes you can get up to 20 or 21mph, but you can’t go faster than that without tearing your vehicle up. It’s a 4x4 road. This area has seen very heavy dredging over the years.

Where does Italian Bar Road start and end?

The road, signed as Forest Rte 4N26, runs west-northeast from the town of Columbia via Jupiter towards the intersection of Forest Rte 4N18 and Forest Rte 2N63.

Is Italian Bar Road paved?

The first 2-3 miles or so are paved. Then, the track becomes unpaved. Long portions of road can be washed away during storms. Pay attention to turkeys, deer, bears or bobcats.

Why is it called the Italian Bar Road?

A team of Italian explorers journeyed along this path, passing the Ranch and Brewery. Further ahead, past Five Mile Creek on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River, they stumbled upon a gravel bar abundant with placer gold. This type of gold results from millennia of erosion, where it's washed down from higher gold veins.
Pic: Jaime Cormier