Skip to main content

Caliente-Bodfish Road/Kern County Road 483

Back in 2016 I took Caliente-Bodfish Road south towards California State Route 58 while leaving the Sierra Nevada Range after looking for the town site of Old Kernville.


Caliente-Bodfish Road is also known as Kern County Road 483 which I believe is an internal designation for mountainous roadways within the Sierra Nevada Range.  Caliente-Bodfish Road begins at Kern Canyon Road (Old California State Route 178) at the southern extent of Bodfish and climbs over the southern most extent of the Sierra Nevada Range approximately 35 miles to Bena Road near Caliente.  Caliente-Bodfish Road is a full two-lane road despite traversing some narrow terrain in the Sierras.  The high point on Caliente-Bodfish Road appeared to be near 4,000 feet above sea-level and I would estimate that there grades as high as 10% in places.

South of Bodfish Caliente-Bodfish Road ascends quickly above the community on a series of switchbacks.  There is no official overlook but there is a hell of a view of Bodfish and Lake Isabella to the northeast.



Approximately 7 miles south of Bodfish on Caliente-Bodfish Road is the community of Havilah at 3,136 feet above sea level.  Havilah dates back to 1864 after gold claims were struck near Clear Creek.  Havilah was selected as the first County Seat of Kern County in 1866 but lost the seat to Bakersfield in 1874 when the mining claims sputtered out.  I'm to understand that Havilah had a population as high as 2,000 people and the community had Post Office Service until 1918.  All that remains of Havilah today are a couple rooms and a replica of the 1860s courthouse and schoolhouse.



South of Havilah the alignment of Caliente-Bodfish Road ascends to Windy Point before descending into Dead Horse Canyon.  There are numerous sudden switchbacks descending through Dead Horse Canyon but Caliente-Bodfish Road surprisingly maintains two-lanes.




As Caliente-Bodfish Road descends out of the Sierras it enters the community of Caliente in Telephone Canyon west of Caliente Creek Road.  Caliente is located at approximately 1,300 feet above sea level and appears to have popped up as a staging camp for the mines to the Sierras sometime in the 1870s.  Originally the community was known as "Allens Camp," then "Agua Caliente" before simply known as "Caliente" by 1875 when the Southern Pacific Railroad line through Tehachapi Pass was built.  My understanding is that the staging route used by the miners is the modern Caliente-Bodfish Road.






On a side note there was a small rail siding known as Bealville which was also founded in the 1870s approximately one mile south of Caliente along Bealville Road at the Southern Pacific rails.  There isn't much left in Bealville today.


Caliente-Bodfish Road ends at Bena Road approximately 5 miles west of Caliente.  Bena Road was original alignment of US Route 466/Legislative Route 58.  Caliente-Bodfish Road can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Kern County.

1935 Kern County Highway Map

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

California State Route 159 (former California State Route 11 and US Route 66)

California State Route 159 was a post 1964-Renumbering State Route which was designated over former segments of California State Route 11 and US Route 66.  As originally defined California State Route 159 began at Interstate 5/US Route 99 at the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles.  California State Route 159 followed Figueroa Street, Colorado Boulevard and Linda Vista Avenue to the planned Foothill Freeway.  California State Route 159 was truncated during 1965 to existing solely on Linda Vista Avenue where it remained until being relinquished during 1989.  California State Route 159 was formally deleted from the State Highway System during 1992.   The history of California State Route 159 Prior to 1933 the Division of Highways was not actively involved in maintaining urban highways outside of occasional cooperative projects.  The responsibility for signage of US Routes in cities was thusly given to the Automobile Club of Southern California in the Southern California region.  This bei