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History of Transportation in Cuesta Pass; El Camino Real, Southern Pacific Railroad and US Route 101

This past month I explored much of Cuesta Pass located in San Luis Obispo County.  Cuesta Pass is one of the oldest through routes for travel in California which is mostly associated with El Camino Real and US Route 101.


Cuesta Pass and the associated Cuesta Grade along US Route 101 roughly consists of a 8 mile segment of expressway from California State Route 58 near Santa Margarita south to CA 1 in San Luis Obipso.  Cuesta Pass is a low mountain pass of the Santa Lucia Range which lies at 1,522 feet above sea level.  Cuesta Pass can be found at Post Mile SLO 35.132 on US 101.


Chapter 1; the History of Cuesta Pass

Cuesta Pass was a long known way through Santa Lucia Range between the coastal areas near San Luis Obispo north into the Salinas River Valley by the local Chumash Tribes of Southern California.  During September of 1769 Portola Expedition of Las Californias the Spanish actually missed Cuesta Pass and opted to attempt to travel up the coast through the Big Sur Region.  The Po…
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