Skip to main content

Bitterwater Road and Bitterwater Valley Road to Blackwell's Corner

This month I drove Bitterwater Road and Bitterwater Valley Road over the Temblor Range to Blackwell's Corner.



Bitterwater Road and Bitterwater Valley Road to Blackwell's Corner

My route from CA 58 was northeast on Bitterwater Road and Bitterwater Valley Road over the Temblor Range to California State Route 46 (former US Route 466).  From CA 46 in Bitterwater Valley I took a short eastern jog to Blackwell's Corner at intersection of CA 46/CA 33.  My path from CA 58 to Blackwell's Corner in total was 29.6 miles in length.


Note; the full length of Bitterwater Road from CA 46/CA 41 near Cholame south to CA 58 within Carrizo Plain was featured previously on Gribblenation.  The previous feature contains the notable greenery of the very wet winter of 2017 and can be found here:

Bitterwater Road

Bitterwater Road is a rural highway which begins at CA 58 in Carrizo Plain of San Luis Obispo County.  Bitterwater Road climbs into the Temblor Range where it briefly enters Kern County and enters the watershed of Bitterwater Creek.  Bitterwater Road continues northwest following the San Luis Obispo County and Kern County Line to CA 46/CA 41 near Cholame.  Bitterwater Road is a very old rural highway which can be observed on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map of California.  Notably Bitterwater Road during 1917 appears as a continuation of Soda Lake Road


Bitterwater Valley Road is an approximately 15 mile roadway which originates at Bitterwater Road atop the San Andreas Fault of San Luis Obispo County.  Bitterwater Valley Road follows the course of Bitterwater Creek through the Temblor Range into Kern County where it emerges into Bitterwater Valley and reaches CA 46.  The first map I could find to clear display Bitterwater Valley Road was the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Kern.


I began my journey towards Blackwell's Corner by way of making a northbound turn onto Bitterwater Road from CA 58 westbound.  CA 46 and Cholame are signed being 32 miles to the north on Bitterwater Road.



Bitterwater Road initially begins in the northern reaches of Carrizo Plain.  Bitterwater Road northward is initally flat and passes through a series of ranches before reaching the Temblor Range.  Oddly along Bitterwater the route ahead to CA 46 is signed as 36 miles away as opposed to the 32 seen from CA 58. 











Bitterwater Road swings northeast within the Temblor Range.  Just northeast of Las Yeguas Ranch the route of Bitterwater Road intersects the abandoned segment of Soda Lake Road (the last photo below).









Bitterwater Road takes a northwest turn and enters the San Andreas Fault along the course of Bitterwater Creek.












Bitterwater Road intersects Bitterwater Valley Road within the San Andreas Fault via a right-hand turn eastbound.  Interestingly CA 46 is shown to be 17 miles away which more likely is a reference to the distance to Blackwell's Corner.













Bitterwater Valley Road initially jogs east through the Temblor Range following the course of Bitterwater Creek.













Bitterwater Valley Road emerges into Bitterwater Valley where it takes a northeastern turn to CA 46.












Upon reaching CA 46 I turned eastward towards CA 33 and Blackwell's Corner.  Blackwell's Corner was the last place James Dean was seen alive before his infamous cross to the west in Cholame.  There is a couple James Dean billboards (one containing a brief historic summary) located at Blackwell's Corner.  The photos below were taken during March of 2020 during the end of the wet season.  





Blackwell's Corner is heavily intertwined into the backstory of US Route 466.  More on US 466 as it relates to current CA 46 can be found below:

Legacy of US Route 466 Part 1; California State Route 46

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mineral King Road, the White Chief Mine, and the unbuilt California State Route 276

Back in July of 2016 I took Mineral King Road east from California State Route 198 to Mineral King Valley within the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Sequoia National Park.  This June I revisited Mineral King Valley and made my way up to the White Chief Mine.


Mineral King Road is a 24.8 mile rural highway maintained by the National Park Service and as Tulare County Mountain Road 375.  Mineral King Road originates at California State Route 198 in Three Rivers near the confluence of the Middle Fork Kaweah River and the East Fork Kaweah River.  Mineral King Road climbs from a starting elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level to 7,830 feet above sea level at the White Chief Mine Trailhead in Mineral King Valley.  Notably Mineral King Road is stated to have 697 curves.


Mineral King Road has an average grade of 5.1% but has several stretches between 15-20% in places.  Pjammycycling has a detailed breakdown on the grade levels over the entirety of Mineral King Road.

Pjammycycling on Mineral King R…

Hetch Hetchy Valley; Hetch Hetchy Railroad, abandoned Lake Eleanor Road, and the Wapama Fall Bridge

This June I took a trip out to Yosemite National Park upon receiving my COVID-19 Day Use Reservation.  My destination in Yosemite National Park was out in Hetch Hetchy Valley.  I sought to hike to the Wapama Fall Bridge which took me through some of the path of the former Hetch Hetchy Valley Railroad and abandoned Lake Eleanor Road.



Part 1; Hetch Hetchy Valley, the Hetch Hetchy Railroad, and reservoir roads

Hetch Hetchy is glacially carved valley similar to Yosemite Valley which is located on the Tuolumne River of Tuolumne County.  Hetch Hetchy Valley presently is impounded by the O'Shaughnessy Dam which was completed during 1923 as part of a project to deliver water and hydroelectric power to the City of San Francisco.  Before being impounded Hetch Hetchy Valley had an average depth of approximately 1,800 feet with a maximum depth of approximately 3,000 feet.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is approximately three miles long and as much as a half mile wide.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is located dow…

California's Rogue Sign State Route Shields

While recently revisiting Yosemite National Park I took a couple minutes to capture some of the California Sign State Route shields posted by the National Park Service ("NPS").  None of the NPS shields were actually posted on roadways maintained by Caltrans but were clearly intended to create route continuity with the Sign State Highways.  This phenomenon is not exclusive to Yosemite National Park and can be found on numerous roads not maintained by Caltrans throughout California.



Part 1; Route continuity over who maintains the route

In the very early era of State Highways in California the Division of Highways didn't actually field sign the Auto Trails or even US Routes.  The responsibility of Highway signage fell to the California State Automobile Association ("CSAA") and Automobile Club of Southern California ("ACSC").  The Auto Clubs simply signed Highways on roadways that best served navigational purposes.  These navigational purposes often didn&#…