For maps and visitor information, visit the Calaveras County Visitors Bureau in Angels Camp or the Alpine County Visitor’s Bureau in Markleeville.

Workers have completed repairs on several winter-battered sections of Highway 4 and Caltrans opened the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway Friday.

This is the latest opening date for Ebbetts Pass, according to Caltrans records going back to the winter of 1940-41. The previous latest opening date before today was June 26, 1942.

In the past 40 years, this is only the third time the road has not been opened by Memorial Day weekend, says Warren Alford with Caltrans District 10 public affairs. The past winter brought nearly double the normal snowpack and precipitation to watersheds that include Ebbetts Pass and Highway 4.

Ebbetts Pass rises to 8,730 feet elevation in Alpine County and it connects Angels Camp, Murphys, Arnold, Calaveras Big Trees State Park and the rest of Calaveras County with Markleeville on Highway 89 and U.S. 395 on the Eastside Sierra.

Historians say Miwok and Washoe Native Americans used Ebbetts Pass to cross the Central Sierra for thousands of years before explorer Jedediah Strong Smith used it to leave California in 1827. In 1850, John Ebbetts, captain of the Knickerbocker Exploring Party of New York, crossed the pass with a train of mules, guiding Gold Rush miners to the Mother Lode.

Ebbetts Pass was designated a California State Scenic Highway in 1971, and it received National Scenic Byway status in September 2005.

Alford says there are minimal services available for travelers and limited mobile phone service at the highest elevations of Ebbetts Pass. Gas is available in Bear Valley on the west side and in Markleeville on the east side. Caltrans advises motorists to carry extra food, water and clothing to be prepared for possible emergencies on Highway 4.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.

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