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California State Route 26

On the way back from taking photos on California State Route 49 I wanted to try something a little different and took CA 26 from CA 88 westward to CA 99.






A large chunk of CA 26 was originally signed as CA 8.  CA 26 is a east/west route that begins in Amador County near Pine Grove at CA 88.  CA 26 is signed as not recommended for 30 foot vehicles as it traverses mountain grades for 25 miles westward to Mokelumne Hill at CA 49.  


The east terminus of CA 26 is weird in that it travels directly east of CA 88 down a canyon towards the North Fork Mokelumne River.  The North Fork Mokelumne River is also the Calaveras County line.







CA 26 climbs westward away from the North Fork Mokelumne River before turning east again towards West Point.







West Point is a Gold Rush era town site which dates back to 1852 when it was called Indian Gulch.  In 1854 the community name was changed to West Point which was the name of a camp at the location of the community Kit Carson established which looking for a pass over the Sierras.  West Point has a couple vintage buildings along Main Street but nothing that really compares to nearby Jackson or Mokelumne Hill.





CA 26 angles around West Point to the northeast where it begins a southward trek towards a crossing at the Middle Fork Mokelumne River.





South of the Middle Fork Mokelumne River CA 26 crosses through another Gold Rush community of Sandy Gulch.  Essentially there is nothing much left in Sandy Gulch aside from a couple stray homes, Mokelumne Hill is signed as 16 miles away.




CA 26 travels generally west from Sandy Gulch but does have another large 180 degree eastward dog at the South Fork Mokelumne River.









CA 26 next crosses through Glencoe which was a mining community in the 1850s.  There isn't really anything left of Glencoe which kind of makes me question why it is still signed as a community.




Mokelumne Hill is 9 miles west of Glencoe on CA 26




Approaching Mokelumne Hill CA 26 emerges from the forest into Foothill ranch lands.







CA 26 meets CA 49 on the outskirts of Mokelumne Hill.  CA 8 originally would have turned northward on a multiplex with CA 49 to Jackson but when CA 88 was created it was cut back to an eastern terminus at Main Street just ahead of the CA 49 BGS in the second photo below.



Both CA 49 and CA 8 would have used Main Street and Center Street in Mokelumne Hill.  The modern CA 49 bypass is somewhat recent and I'm uncertain as to when it was constructed.  Mokelumne Hill is a classic California Gold Rush town which I covered far more extensively in my CA 49 series.  







Valley Springs is signed 12 miles to the west and Stockton is shown 49 miles away on CA 26.




CA 26 emerges out of the Sierra Foothills and meets a junction with CA 12.







CA 26/CA 12 multiplex westward into Valley Springs.  CA 12 cuts directly west towards Lodi whereas CA 26 is routed southwest towards Stockton.  Valley Springs dates back to the California Gold Rush and was a stop on the San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada Railroad.  The San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada was a narrow gauge line that was in operation from 1882 to 1888 which primarily worked mining traffic.  Parts of the San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada were eventually converted into a standard gauge line that operated under the Southern Pacific.









CA 26 emerges into the Central Valley and enters San Joaquin County.





The last traces of the Sierra Foothills quickly disappear approaching Linden. 




CA 26 continues west through Linden and meets Signed County Route J5 at Jack Tone Road.







CA 26 enters the City of Stock as Fremont Street and terminates at the CA 99 freeway. 





As stated above CA 26 was originally signed as CA 8.  The original scope of CA 8 was from US 99 at Wilson Way in Stockton east over Carson Pass to the Nevada State Line. The original scope of CA 8 can be seen on the 1938 State Highway Map.


By 1940 CA 88 replaced CA 8 over Carson Pass.  CA 8 was cut back to an eastern terminus at CA 49 in Mokelumne Hill.


By 1964 CA 8 was renumbered to CA 26.  CA 26 was extended east of CA 49 to West Point.


Sometime between 1970 and 1975 CA 26 was finally extended to CA 88.



CA 8 originally consisted of several Legislative Routes:

-  LRN 5 from Stockton to Mokelumne Hill.  LRN 5 was originally adopted in 1909 but the Stockton to Mokelumne Hill extension was adopted in 1933.


-  LRN 65 from Mokelumne Hill to Jackson.  LRN 65 was defined in 1921 according to CAhighways.org.


- LRN 34 from Jackson to the Nevada State Line.  LRN 34 was originally adopted in 1909 and extended over Carson Pass in 1911 according to CAhighways.org.




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