Coarsegold is a town just bustin’ with Old West history and character. Cradled in the Sierra Foothills, about 7 miles south of Oakhurst, Coarsegold stretches along Highway 41 for several miles. Originally known as Coarse Gold Gulch, its name comes from the large gold nuggets which were discovered in the creeks that wind through the hills surrounding the town.
This unique place has the quaint feel of an old Gold Rush town, and in fact was once a welcome stage stop for weary travelers making their way along the arduous route to Yosemite. That is still true today, as thousands of annual visitors to the area often stop for a cup of coffee, an ice cream cone or a snack before heading on to their destination. Of course Coarsegold offers plenty of great reasons for visitors to stop and spend some time.
Situated at the very southern edge of California’s Gold Rush Country, Coarsegold is probably most famous for its Historic Village, which is host to the Weekly Flea Market, and many other popular events. The Village was once the site of a renowned Restaurant, Saloon, Hotel and Theatre. A stop here today can take you back to those times, and provide a delightful diversion on your trip up into the mountains.
The Coarsegold Historic Village houses a variety of merchants, including local artists and artisans, many of whom produce their wares onsite, year-round. There is also a café, and coffee to go. It is a huge draw on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, when folks from all over come to attend the annual World Famous Peddler’s Fair. These are four-day events where you can have a fantastic treasure hunt searching out the finest antiques and collectibles. The Village also hosts the Tarantula Festival, the annual Car Show, the Chukchansi Pow-Wow, the Christmas Faire, Art In The Park, and the occasional mouthwatering chili cookoff. Picnic in the park, visit the shops, stop in at the Coarsegold Historic Museum, and just enjoy the flavor of the town. There is plenty of parking for busses and RV’s, and the cleanest restrooms around.
Another big event is the Coarsegold Rodeo, held every year, the first Saturday in May, at the Bohna Arena. This good old fashioned Mountain Rodeo is the centerpiece of a weekend filled with fun and excitement. Start with Cowboy Breakfast, attend Cowboy Church, and then spend some time checking out all the vendors, exhibits and good food. And of course, don’t miss out on the exciting rodeo action.
The largest mine in the area was started by two brothers from Texas, after they discovered a single gold nugget worth 15,000 dollars. The Texas Flat Gold Mine drew thousands to the area, seeking their fortunes, and spreading out over the many hills and gullies in the area. By 1850, there were over 10,000 people living and working in and around Texas Flat and the other 18 mines that were recorded in the Coarsegold area. More than one and a half million dollars in gold have been gleaned from the creeks here. Even today, locals and visitors can still have a bit of luck, plucking the occasional nugget from Coarse Gold Creek.
Though Coarsegold was the site of the first deep lode mine in the region, it was the rich ranch land that eventually became the area’s life blood. Cattle, hogs and sheep thrived on the green pastures and fresh water, and a new, more settled way of life began to take hold. All these years later, local ranchers can still be seen driving their herds of cattle to summer pasture in the high country of the Sierra Nevada.