Jamestown is located in the Gold Country region of Northern California, in Tuolumne County. The town is in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada mountains, about 120 miles east of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Directions from the San Francisco Bay Area
Get on Hwy 580 heading east, which runs from the East Bay in Oakland to the Central Valley. From San Francisco, take Hwy 80 over the Bay Bridge and get on 580. From the East Bay you may want to take 880 to get to 580. From San Jose, take 680 north to 580.
Head east on 580, and when you get over the Altamont Pass (you\'ll see the windmills), stay in one of the three left lanes. (DO NOT follow 580 when it turns south.) The highway will turn into Highway 205 going east. which will turn onto Hwy 5 going north briefly. Look for an exit labeled "Exit 120 Manteca Sonora". (Exit 461) Follow this east, and continue when it turns north and merges very briefly with Hwy 99. Look for the next exit, which is again Hwy 120 toward Sonora. Follow 120 east through Escalon until you reach a stoplight in downtown Oakdale that meets Highway 108. You have to turn left to follow Hwy 120, which will then be a combined Hwy 108/120. Continue east on Hwy 108/120 past Knights Ferry and into Tuolumne County. You will see signs to turn right on 120 to Yosemite. Do not turn right to follow 120, but continue on Hwy 108 for about 10 more miles. You will see a sign for Jamestown. Turn by veering right onto Main Street. Driving from Oakland to Jamestown takes about 2 hours 20 minutes with light traffic. Note that traffic can be very heavy during commuting hours driving on Hwy 580, and also heavy on 205. (The heavy traffic is going west in the morning and east in the afternoon.)
Directions from Sacramento and Points North
From Sacramento, get on Hwy 99 heading south. Go past Stockton. Get off on the offramp for Highway 120 (Manteca/Sonora). Follow 120 east through Escalon until you reach a stoplight in downtown Oakdale that meets Highway 108. You have to turn left to follow Hwy 120, which will then be a combined Hwy 108/120. Continue east on Hwy 108/120 past Knights Ferry and into Tuolumne County. You will see signs to turn right on 120 to Yosemite. Do not turn right to follow 120, but continue on Hwy 108 for about 10 more miles. You will see signs for Jamestown. Turn right by veering right onto Main Street in Jamestown. Driving from Sacramento to Jamestown takes about two hours if traffic is light. (An alternative route is to go east from Sacramento and get on Hwy 49 going south, and follow it through the various Gold Country towns to Angels Camp, then Sonora, and finally Jamestown. Turn left onto Main Street from Highway 49 going south.)
Directions from Los Angeles and Points South.
From Los Angeles and points south, get on Highway 5. Follow it north over the Tejon Pass and the Grapevine, and when you get into the valley take the exit to Hwy 99 north and pass through Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced. Continue on 99 to Modesto. In downtown Modesto you will see an exit for Sixth Street/Highway 108. Take it, follow Sixth Street North for a few blocks and turn right onto Highway 108 (also K Street). Head east on Highway 108 as it passes out of downtown Modesto, through Riverbank, and Oakdale. In downtown Oakdale it will merge and become a combined Highway 108/120. Continue east on Hwy 108/120 past Knights Ferry and into Tuolumne County. You will see signs to turn right on 120 to Yosemite. Do not turn right to follow 120, but continue on Hwy 108 for about 10 more miles. You will see signs for Jamestown. Turn right by veering right onto Main Street in Jamestown. Driving from downtown Los Angeles to Jamestown takes about 6 hours.
Directions from Nevada and Points East of the Mountains
From Hwy 395 south of Reno, turn onto Hwy 108. This will take you over Sonora Pass and into Tuolumne County. Continue on Hwy 108 past Kennedy Meadows, Strawberry, Pinecrest, Cold Springs, Mi Wuk Village, Twain Harte, Sonora, and then Jamestown. You will see a sign for Jamestown and can turn left onto Main Street. (Sonora Pass is closed in the winter, from approximately November until May. In the winter, take Hwy 88 to Jackson and turn left onto Hwy 49, following it south to Sonora, and continuing, by turning onto 49/108, another 3 miles to Jamestown.)
Jamestown is a good place to stay overnight particularly if you visiting Yosemite because it is the closest town off of Hwy 120 to Yosemite. It’s also near many Gold Country towns you may want to visit and the high country area along Highway 108 to Sonora Pass.
Yosemite is a beautiful 75 mile drive from downtown Jamestown. From downtown, get on Hwy 108 going west, and about 5 miles past Jamestown you will see a sign that says, "Yosemite 70 miles". Turn left to follow 49. After a few miles it will merge onto Hwy 120. Follow 120 (combined with 49) for about 25 miles to Moccasin. You then want to follow 120 to the left, as 49 will go off to the right. You will be going up New Priest Grade and will pass Big Oak Flat and Groveland, and continue past Rim of the World (where the Rim fire started) and Buck Meadows. About 40 miles past Groveland you will reach the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite. ($20 entrance fee.) You should get gas in Jamestown or Big Oak Flat. There is no gas in Yosemite Valley, although there is a gas station in Crane Flat, just before Yosemite Valley.
Visiting the Gold Country Towns
Each of the nearby Gold Country towns has something unique. Sonora, about 3 miles from Jamestown, is the largest town with a historic downtown area and has many restaurants and shops. Columbia, about 6 miles from Jamestown, is now a California State Historic Park and much of it has been preserved as it was, circa 1858. Murphys, in Calaveras County, has wine tasting and a downtown with many stone historic buildings.
Visiting the Highway 108/Sonora Pass High Country
About 15 miles northwest of Jamestown on Highway 108 the forest begins, with towns such as Twain Harte and Mi-Wuk Village. Pinecrest Lake is a beautiful lake about 35 miles from Jamestown that has a marina, a sandy beach, hiking trails, and fishing. The drive beyond Pinecrest will take you through the high country and you will see the Stanislaus River. In winter there are winter sports, including the Dodge Ridge ski area, near Pinecrest, and snowplay at Leland Meadows. (From about November to March Highway 108 is closed, with the closure point in deepest winter about 8 miles east of Pinecrest.)