Skip to main content

California State Route 136

After leaving Mammoth I headed south on US Route 395.  Out in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I took a turn on California State Route 136.


CA 136 is 16 mile generally east/west highway which traverses the eastern shore of Owens Lake.  In my opinion the north terminus of CA 136 might be the best looking in the entire state with a clear wide view of the High Sierras to the northwest.  My approach to CA 136 was on US 395 southbound.


Interestingly CA 190 is co-signed with CA 136 on the southbound guide sign.  From Lone Pine CA 136 is the most direct route to Death Valley National Park.  CA 136 is a former alignment of CA 190 which has long been a gapped route with many historic proposed routings through Sierras.


CA 136 initially takes a eastward turn towards the mountains before turning south.  The route of CA 136 is located above the Owens Lake Basin and is one of the few state highways in California signed at 65 MPH.



There is a hell of a view of the Sierras looking back eastward. 



There is a ghost town called Swansea on CA 136 but I didn't see any ruins that were really eye catching when I passed by.


Approaching Keeler sand from Owens Lake becomes much more prevalent.


Keeler is located 12 miles into CA 136.


Keeler was founded originally as "Hawley" in 1872 when the pier for the Cerro Gordo Mines at Swansea a couple miles north was lifted out of Owens Lake by the Lone Pine Earthquake.  I'm not sure when the name of the town was changed to Keeler but the Carson and Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroad did reach it by 1883.  Keeler remained the southern terminus of the Carson and Colorado until it was shuttered in 1960.  Apparently the tracks were removed later but the former rail depot has remained standing in Keeler as a derelict ever since.






Next to the railroad is the original alignment of CA 190 which ran through downtown Keeler.



Leaving Keeler there is one more reassurance CA 136 shield but nothing at the junction with CA 190.



The junction of CA 136/CA 190 is a great place to stop and get a panoramic of the Owens Lake bed with the Sierras as a backdrop.  Owens Lake is fed by the Owens River and was thought to be as large as 200 square miles about 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.  The water level of Owens Lake was typically anywhere from 25 to 50 feet in depth and was last full before the Los Angeles Aqueduct project started to divert water in 1913.


The routing of CA 136 was part of Legislative Route Number 127.  LRN 127 was adopted in 1933 and generally was signed as CA 190 through all segments of the highway.  The original routing of LRN 127 can be seen on the California Division Highways Map of Inyo County.  Interestingly LRN 127 is shown running on Horseshow Meadow Road to Lonepine and has a gap from the yet obtained Eichbaum Toll Road in Panamint Valley.

1935 California Division of Highways Map of Inyo County

By 1938 the state had obtained the right-of-way for the Eichbaum Toll Road.  CA 190 is shown running from US 99 east to Quaking Aspen in the Sierras.  A proposed route through the Sierras via Kern Canyon to Horseshoe Meadow is shown.  CA 190 is shown on the current routing of CA 136.

1938 State Highway Map

By 1960 a new proposed alignment of CA 190 from Quaking Aspen to Olancha was adopted.  This new alignment included the modern segment of CA 190 east of US 395 to CA 136.

1960 State Highway Map

By 1964 the California Highway Renumbering had occurred and a new LRN number of 136 was assigned to the highway between Lone Pine to the modern CA 190 junction at Owens Lake.  The modern routing of CA 190 east of Olancha was still not a state highway at this point.

1964 State Highway Map

By 1966 a modified proposed alignment of CA 190 in the Sierras appears on the state highway map.

1966 State Highway Map

By 1967 the modern routing of CA 190 east of US 395 became a state highway.

1967 State Highway Map

As far I am aware the 1966 proposed alignment of CA 190 in the Sierras is still on the books and hasn't been abandoned.  The most recent state highway map showing the proposed routing of CA 190 is from 1990.

1990 State Highway Map


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del

Siuslaw River Bridge - US 101 in Florence, Oregon

  As the Oregon Coast Highway (US 101) was being completed across the State of Oregon during the 1930s, a number of bridges needed to be built to cross some of the state's finest rivers. In Florence, Oregon , the Siuslaw River Bridge was designed and constructed to help fill in the gaps between different coastal communities. Built in 1936, the Siuslaw River Bridge is a bascule bridge flanked by two reinforced concrete arches that spans across the Siuslaw River. The bridge and the river get their names from the Siuslaw tribal people who make their home along the river valleys of this part of the Oregon Coast. Today, the bridge provides a vital link connecting US 101 and the Central Oregon Coast to points north and south. The total length of the Siuslaw River Bridge is 1,568 feet, stretching across the river. But more specifically, the bridge is made up of a north approach with eight spans of reinforced concrete deck girder totaling 478 feet in length. There is a main span in three