Ahwahnee is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountains in Eastern Madera County near the southern end of “California’s Golden Chain” on State Highway 49 – the Mother Lode Highway! The name Ahwahnee is taken from the Native American Ahwahneeche tribe’s word for mouth. This name also described Yosemite Valley and is currently used by the Landmark Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. During the Gold Rush in the mid 1800s Ahwahnee provided meat, vegetables and fruit to the area Gold Mining Camps. It became a stop on the Raymond Railroad that ran from 1883 to 1891 transporting visitors to Yosemite National Park. The railroad obtained notoriety when President Theodore Roosevelt rode on it for his famous Yosemite National Park visit.
Ahwahnee is home to the Wassama Roundhouse situated in the Wassama Roundhouse State Historic Park. The roundhouse, or hangngi, was the center of village religious activities and the focal point of large, affluent villages. The Roundhouse hosted Miwok religious ceremonies, dancing and gambling. The village included a cemetery, cremation site and mourning area. It is in use today by Native Americans for religious ceremonies, some of which are open to the public.
Ahwahnee Area Schools
Wasuma Elementary School (WES) is a K-8th school serving the community of Ahwahnee, CA and the surrounding area. The school is located at 43109 Hwy 49 in Ahwahnee. Wasuma Elementary is part of the Bass Lake Joint Union School District.
The State Center Community College District operates the Oakhurst Center which offers a wide variety of courses including traditional degree and vocational programs.
The central valley city of Fresno is the home to California State University, Fresno. Fresno State, as the locals call it, is known for its strong academic programs and for its ardent sports fans. Fresno state is the home of the Bulldogs.
Ahwahnee Area Map