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Sand Creek Road

I spent some time digging through my old photo albums looking for interesting some roads we haven't featured on Gribblenation before.   I found one that I thought was interesting enough to flesh out to an article; Sand Creek Road in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.



The Story of Sand Creek Road 

Sand Creek Road is an approximately 18.8 mile rural highway which connects California State Route 63 on the outskirts of Orange Cove in Tulare County to Dunlap Road (former CA 180) within Fresno County.  Sand Creek Road might not be a very high elevation of a roadway but it a fun drive that includes numerous hairpins and single-lane segments.  Below is an approximation of Sand Creek Road using Orange Cove and Milk Ranch Canyon as endpoints.  At present moment Sand Creek Road within Tulare County is known as Avenue 460 and Drive 143 


Sand Creek Road usually appears on early Division of Highways Maps as an important local connector road.  Sand Creek Road can be seen as the connecting highway from Legislative Route 132 near Orange Cove east to CA 180/Legislative Route 41 on Dunlap Road on the 1940 Division of Highways State Map.


It appears Sand Creek Road never was intended to be adopted into the State Highway System as the description of Legislative Route 132 (added to the State Inventory during 1933) had a north terminus at Orange Cove.


Sand Creek Road appears as a major County Road on the 1935 Division of Highways Maps of Tulare County and Fresno County.



Whatever importance Sand Creek Road had seems to have been lost when CA 180/LRN 41 was moved off of Dunlap Road onto the Kings Canyon Highway during the early 1940s.  CA 180 can be shifted north of Dunlap Road on the 1942 Division of Highways Map of California.


Sand Creek Road begins from CA 63 in Tulare County just east of Orange Cove as it turns southward from Avenue 460 onto Road 128.  Functionally within Tulare County Sand Creek Road is also known as Avenue 460 as it begins at CA 63.  Traffic is advised on Sand Creek Road (apparently "Drive" according to the sign) that trucks and RVs are not recommended.



Sand Creek Road heads eastward towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains and picks up Sand Creek.  Upon reaching Sand Creek the route of Sand Creek Road swings northeast.




Sand Creek Road begins to wind through the Sierra Nevada Foothills alongside a scenic Sand Creek.  As noted above Sand Creek Road through this segment is signed as Drive 143.  Sand Creek Road crosses two-one lane bridges over Sand Creek before reaching the unsigned Fresno County Line.   Heading east on Sand Creek Road the only real indicator that you have entered Fresno County is the asphalt surface quality changing and the Tulare County Post Mile Paddles disappearing.























Sand Creek Road begins to ascend immediately upon entering Fresno County.  Sand Creek Road passes through large collection of ranches before reaching Squaw Valley Road.
















East of Squaw Valley Road the route of Sand Creek Road narrows to a single lane and climbs up a ridge line.  Sand Creek Road expands back to two lanes at Pepperweed Road.  Sand Creek Road is functionally bypassed by the much more modernized Squaw Valley Road and Pepperweed Road.  From Sand Creek Road there are some nice views to be had of the Sierra Nevada Foothills.

































Modern Sand Creek Road passes by an older alignment of the roadway.




Sand Creek Road takes a sudden northward turn at Chuckwagon Road.




Sand Creek Road takes a northward jog before splitting east at Sans Baker Road.



Sand Creek Road continues east and climbs on a one-lane alignment to a peak elevation of about 2,500 feet above sea level.  The modern CA 180 alignment on Kings Canyon Highway can be seen from Sand Creek Road looking north across Dunlap Valley.



























Sand Creek Road continues east to a terminus at Dunlap Road.  From Orange Cove it isn't too hard to imagine the usefulness of Sand Creek Road in the early 20th Century before the Kings Canyon Highway was built.









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