Skip to main content

Los Gatos Creek Road/Coalinga Road

In late December of 2016 I was traveling through the Diablo Range and wanted to try Los Gatos Creek Road/Coalinga Road as an alternate to CA 198.


I started the day out with taking CA 198 to the 33 junction north of Coalinga.  From there I took Shell Road, Oil City Road, Palmer Avenue, and Derrick Avenue to reach Los Gatos Creek Road.




As a singular route Los Gatos Creek Road and Coalinga Road are a roughly 46 miles in crossing the Diablo Range to CA 25 just north of Bitterwater in San Benito County. 

 
The Fresno side of the route is signed as Los Gatos Creek Road and the San Benito side is Coalinga Road.


The entire route through the Diablos is paved.  The Fresno County side is pretty high quality with a center stripe the entire way along with a very gradual grade up to the the Condon Peak recreation area and San Benito County.




After crossing into San Benito County the route becomes Coalinga Road and is a single wide lane with no center stripe.  I should note that it was about 20F outside when I made this trip and the shaded areas of the roadway in San Benito County were largely frost covered.


Interestingly between Coalinga and the Clear Creek Management Area there are plenty of ranch homes or at least just as many if not more than CA 198 to the south.  The Clear Creek Management Area has naturally occurring asbestos fibers which are actually hazardous to travel in during the dry summer months.  .Areas north of the Clear Creek Management Area have additional hazards from the New Idria Mercury Mine which is a ghost town and Super Fund site. 



Despite Coalinga Road being narrow I didn't really have much issues with surface quality aside from the couple miles between the Clear Creek Management Area and Hernandez Reservoir.  Essentially the issue wasn't so much the asphalt quality but rather surface ice/frost on the road and a large quantity of rock fall.  Coalinga Road has a very steep uphill grade westbound past the Hernandez Reservoir up to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.



The Hernandez Dam is a pretty interesting topic to me.  NE2 from AAroads shared a 1939 State Highway Map showing that there was a populated place called "Hernandez" where the reservoir is now.  Apparently the reservoir was built in the 1960s to impound the San Benito River and Hernandez disappeared off the State Highway Maps by 1967.  Hernandez wasn't shown in the 1896 San Benito County Map but is present on the State Highway Map in 1918.  Its strange that I can't find any mention of Hernandez anywhere on the web but that seems to be the case with almost every previously populated place in San Benito County aside from New Idria.  Regardless here is links to the previously mentioned maps:

1939 State Highway Map

1966 State Highway Map

1967 State Highway Map

1935 San Benito Topographical Map

1918 State Highway Map

1896 San Benito County Map

I was able to find this transformer box with "Hernandez Dam" near the Laguna Mountain Campground.


Coalinga Road gets keeps getting more windy and even fords a creek up to about 3,000 feet above sea level at Laguna Mountain.




Laguna Mountain has some fantastic views of the Diablo Range.  I'm to understand the peak is 4,462 feet above sea level.



Coalinga Road sharply descends from Laguna Mountain through Miller Canyon where there is some sharp hair pin curves.


Coalinga Road levels out onto a placid valley filled with ranch lands.


The 1939 Map showed that the previous alignment of Coalinga Road used what is now Old Hernandez Road.  Old Hernandez is closed off now but popped out to the northwest at San Benito at CA 25.



West of Old Hernandez Road, Coalinga Road becomes a two-lane road again all the way to CA 25.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

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