Coarsegold, CA is a small town on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, not far from California's exact geographic center. The name was derived from nearby Coarse Gold Creek (AKA Coarse Gold Gulch), along which gold rush prospectors found some big ol' hunks of the glittery stuff.
Coarsegold is rarely mentioned as part of the mother lode—but it is, in fact, the southernmost populated settlement in California's famed mother lode territory. The town was once a stage stop for Yosemite-bound travelers. The Golden Chain Highway (State Route 49) through California's quirky old gold rush towns and wild foothill topography begins about seven miles north, in the town of Oakhurst.
Coarsegold, the region, consists of scattered ranches, homes on big lots, Indian trust land, and "estate-style" subdivisions. The most populated section is strung along a 10-mile stretch of State Highway 41 in non-incorporated Madera County. To the west, scattered parcels and smaller subdivisions are hidden along narrow country roads between Highway 41 and the Fresno River. To the east lie larger ranches, open land and the wild Sierra Nevada mountains.
At Coarsegold's southern end is a large subdivision called Yosemite Lakes Park, which consists of more than 2,000 lots. Heading northeast on Highway 41, about three or four miles before you reach the downtown district, you'll find another reasonably large subdivision (around 500 lots) called Indian Lakes Estates. This tract is reached by heading east on Road 417 (Picayune Road). An "age 55+" modular home community called Oak Creek Mobile Home Park is located near the downtown district, off Raymond Road.
North of the downtown, at higher elevations, lie several smallish subdivisions, including Mudge Ranch and Teaford Meadows, where properties are typically a bit pricier. Several miles beyond is the town of Oakhurst—and 20-some miles beyond Oakhurst is Yosemite National Park.
In elevation, the Coarsegold region ranges from about 1,200 feet to almost 3,000 feet. The downtown district offers a large grocery store (which includes a deli, fresh meat and produce departments, and a liquor section), several galleries and gift shops, three or four sit-down restaurants, a fast food stop or two, a couple of gas stations, a bank, some miscellaneous services, and several popular tourist attractions (including an interesting Historic Village, with arts and craft shops and regularly staged events). Yosemite Lakes Park has two small business districts with all the basics.
Coarsegold's population is probably somewhere around 9,500. Judging from the number of building permits issued, Coarsegold is the fastest growing region in Madera County. The climate here is much better than that of the Central Valley—often warmer in the winter, due to the lack of Valley fog, and five or 10 degrees cooler in the summer, depending on elevation. Rainfall totals are maybe twice as high as the Valley's, and snowflakes fall a time or two each year. The snow doesn't stick around for long. It's not unusual to see brilliant blue sky, even when the Valley below is lost in a shroud of sickly gray.
A few years ago, the huge Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino really put Coarsegold on the map as a destination for entertainment seekers. We have a detailed page about the Chukchansi casino here on Coarsegold.com.
Demographics? Schools? If you are checking the area out with an eye to living here, it's best to contact one of the Coarsegold real estate agents. See the Coarsegold Links section for general information about Eastern Madera County.
Here is a link for more details on Coarsegold History.
What's famous about Coarsegold? Creed Bratton, star of television's The Office and vocalist-songwriter of the Grass Roots, grew up here, for one thing. His group has an album out called Coarsegold.
Another, less famous personality, Nathon Dalton of alt rock group The Dying Californian, stayed here awhile and was inspired to write another album (some will find it a bit on the mournful side) likewise entitled Coarsegold.
Another famous character who brought Coarsegold, California into the public consciousness (and libido?) is Leisure Suit Larry, the well known hero of the Sierra On-Line adult game. Sierra-Online used to be located in Oakhurst, where the private school is today.
Yet another Coarsegold celebrity, actor Richard Kiel (who is best known for playing Jaws in two James Bond movies), once made Coarsegold his home.