The best way to get here is to find your own way to State Highway 99 headed north out of Bakersfield, through Fresno. From Orange County and San Diego, Hwy 57 north to Hwy 210 west all the way to I-5 north by San Fernando, then over Tejon Pass, is a good route. (Click the map above to bring up a Google map.)
When you get to Merced (about 1 to 1.5 hours past Fresno), exit R Street/V Street and go straight at the first light, that’s R Street. Go to the next light and turn right on V Street. Go up over the RR tracks and turn left onto 16th Street. Go one long block and follow the signs to the right onto Hwy 59.
Follow the highway severals miles and all ththrough Snelling (don’t blink). When you get past the cemetery and the school, turn left where the signs direct you to La Grange Road (County Road 59). Continue for several miles on this road, going straight at the first stop sign, and continuing for several miles more. (This is a really nice drive – do not be alarmed if you feel like you are in BFE or something.)
The road will “T” into Hwys 108 & 120 at the second stop sign – turn right. Continue on 108 as 120 splits off to Yosemite and Hwy 49 joins it.
When you get to Jamestown, watch for the fork to Main Street on your right (don’t take it) – the first left, just past the gas station and at the signal, is Rawhide Road – turn left there. Note that the opposing traffic on the one lane bridge is supposed to yield to you, but proceed with caution in any case.
After a few scenic winding miles, Rawhide Road rejoins Hwy 49 – turn left. (If you want, you can stay on 49 through Sonora and back around, but Rawhide saves about 20 minutes and you’re probably happy to be driving less at this point!)
Continue on Hwy 49, over the Stevenot bridge across the Stanislaus River at New Melones Reservoir, and on into Angels Camp. Mind the speed limit signs. At the first stop sign, turn right, go for about a mile, and then turn right again onto Highway 4.
To get to the Winery Tasting Room, continue on Hwy 4 for about 3 miles or so – at Red Hill Road, turn right (you will see a sign that says “Transfer Station” – that’s it!) At the very first driveway on the right, turn right again. This is the entrance to the winery during normal tasting hours. If you are arriving outside of normal tasting hours or you are making a delivery or you don’t like gravel roads, continue up Red Hill about 1/2 mile to the second driveway on your right – this entrance is usually open if anyone is there.
To get to the Murphys Tasting Room, continue on Hwy 4 about 5 more miles until you get into Murphys. Mind the speed limit signs. Seriously. You will see the Murphys Suites and Murphys Inn Motel on your left as you come into town. To get to the tasting room, at the signal**, turn left. The tasting room will be on your left (address 363 Main, with a white picket fence), across from the first corner of Church and Main.
NOTE: All of these cool little old towns call their main drag Main Street. On this route, you will pass a Main Street in Angels Camp, Vallecito, Douglas Flat, and finally Murphys. Do not be fooled!
**At this point you have spotted a rare Calaveras County Traffic Light – congratulations!
To get home you pretty much retrace your steps, but it can help to know what landmarks to look for!
First, get onto Hwy 4 headed down (west) towards Angels Camp. (If you are on Main Street in Murphys, head east and you will get there one way or another – turn right to get on Hwy 4.)
About 3 miles past the winery, turn left onto Vallecito Road, then after a mile turn left onto Highway 49. Continue south on 49, back over the bridge, and turn right onto Rawhide Road. When you get to that one-lane bridge, be sure to yield to opposing traffic. Turn right onto 108/49.
Continue on 108 as 49 splits off and 120 joins it. After a straight stretch, you will see a sign for “Don Pedro West Shore – La Grange Road” as the highway curves to right. Make the left turn from the pocket that appears about halfway through the curve. Watch for opposing traffic that is going very fast. (Also note that you might see one or two signs that say “Don Pedro East Shore” before you get to the correct turn – Do not be fooled!)
Continue straight for several miles, straight through the stop sign, and on until you get to the “T” at Snelling – turn right. Continue on Hwy 59 for many miles until you get into Merced. It will finally reach a “T” at 16th Street, follow the signs to the right (yes, right) to get back on Hwy 99.
Piece of cake!