Forgotten Towns

The attractions of the old forgotten towns of California are the individual history of these towns and their cemeteries. Many of these quaint towns are located away from the federal and state highways, allowing them to retain some of their historical character. Moreover, these towns founded in the mid-nineteenth century are prime candidates for future ghost investigations.

Amador County

Amador City

Amador City is located 4.7 miles north (if one uses Old Hwy 49 from Sutter Creek) from the intersection of Hwys 49 and 88 in the town of Martell.


Located 6 miles east from CA 49 in Plymouth CA, the town of Fiddletown can be reached by the road bearing its name. The town is still home to a number of residence, but there is little by way of businesses there.


Located on Sutter Creek about 12.5 miles upstream from the town of Sutter Creek, the small town of Volcano is 3.3 miles off CA 88 in Pine Grove.

Butte County


What remains of the town of Cherokee is located about 14 miles north of Oroville CA, about a mile and a half off CA 70 on Cherokee Road.

Calaveras County

Mokelumne Hill

Mountain Ranch

The small town of Mountain Ranch is located on Mountain Ranch Rd 9.5 miles east of San Andreas.

Sheep Ranch

The small town of Sheep Ranch is located on Sheep Ranch Rd just over 16 miles from San Andreas (via Mountain Ranch Road) and 9 miles from Murphy.

Mariposa County

Bear Valley

This small town is located 15.2 miles south of Coulterville on CA49 and 11.6 miles northwest of Mariposa. The Bon Ton Cafe is a good place to get a meal if one is into Cajun cooking.


The small town of Coulterville lies at the junction of CA 49 and 132, 21.3 miles easterly of La Grange and just over 52 miles from Modesto. It is also 18.7 miles from Chinese Camp and 15 miles from Bear Valley (in Mariposa County).


This (nearly) ghost town is located 18.2 miles west of Mariposa by way of the Old Toll Road and 38.2 miles east of Turlock.

Stanislaus County

Knights Ferry

Located 12.5 miles upriver from Oakdale on the Stanislaus River, much of Knights Ferry still stands as an active community. Knights Ferry is about one half a mile from CA 120 on Sonora Road (via Kennedy Road if approached from the west). The nearby 50's Roadhouse has a pretty good menu.

La Grange

The small town of La Grange is located on CA 132 just over 31 miles up the Tuolumne River from Modesto. Coulterville lies easterly of Le Grange about 21.3 miles. Louie's Place Saloon and Grill is a good place for a meal.

Tuolumne County

Much of the information included in the texts about the Tuolumne County settlements have come from the 1955 publication of The Big Oak Flat Road by Irene D. Paden and Margaret E. Schlichtmann. This book is a wealth of information and includes memories of some that were young in the days of the Gold Rush.

Big Oak Flat

Big Oak Flat is located 12.3 miles from Chinese Camp (if one takes the Old Priest Grade) on CA 120 and 1.4 miles from Groveland.

Chinese Camp

Chinese Camp is located about 29 miles from Oakdale in a roughly northeastern direction, just south of where CA 49 and 120 merge for a 20 mile run before the two state highways split from one another. Chinese Camp is also 6.7 miles south on CA 49 from Jamestown.

Groveland (Garrote)

Groveland (formerly known as Garrote) is located 13.7 miles from Chinese Camp (if one takes the Old Priest Grade) on CA 120 and 48 miles from Yosemite Valley