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Ice Cream Grade

While in the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains I encountered oddly named mountain road known as the Ice Cream Grade.


The Ice Cream Grade is an approximately 2.7 mile roadway in Santa Cruz County connecting Pine Flat Road eastward to Empire Grade/Felton-Empire Road.  The origin of the name "Ice Cream Grade" may have been due to ice cream socials being used to fund the roadway.  Apparently the Ice Cream Grade appeared as presently named in 1899 in public documents .

Ice Cream Grade Santa Cruz Wiki

The Ice Cream Grade does appears as an unmarked roadway between Pine Flat Road the Empire Grade on the 1935 California Divisions of Highways Map of Santa Cruz County.

1935 Santa Cruz County Highway Map 

Regarding my drive on Ice Cream Grade I started from Pine Flat Road headed east.  The Ice Cream Grade is immediately signed with "Icy" advisory signs.  Considering the elevation on the Ice Cream Grade is somewhat low I can only assume someone had a sense of humor placing a somewhat ironic sign.


Commercial loads over 10,000 pounds are prohibited on Ice Cream Grade.


The alignment of the Ice Cream Grade is very haggard and alternates between two-lane to one-lane.  The Ice Cream Grade crosses Laguna Creek about mid-way between Pine Flat Road and Empire Grade before climbing a large hill.









The Ice Cream Grade ends at Empire Grade.  The road continues eastward as Felton-Empire Road through the Fall Creek unit of Henry Cowell State Park.


I'm honestly surprised that the street blades are so large and displayed so prominently on both ends of the Ice Cream Grade.  The unique name would tend make me think they are the target of signage theft.  The remote terrain probably deters most would be thieves.


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