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California State Route 9

After finishing the Goat Trail section of California State Route 35 I took CA 17 back to the north terminus of CA 9 in Los Gatos.  My next route was on the entirety of CA 9 southwest to Santa Cruz.


CA 9 is an approximately 39 mile in the Santa Cruz range which has a north terminus is Los Gatos in Santa Clara County with a southern terminus CA 17 at CA 1 in Santa Cruz in the county bearing it's name.  CA 9 is generally considered to be one of the more scenic state highways given the terrain it covers in the Redwood strewn Santa Cruz Range.  The alignment of CA 9 has shifted numerous times over the years but largely has been the same since 1964.

CA 9 begins heading southbound begins at Los Gatos-Saratoga Road in the town of Los Gatos.


CA 9 southbound actually backtracks northwest on Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.  Los Gatos-Saratoga Road from CA 17 is four-lanes but quickly dips down to a two-lane highway in Monte Sereno.  CA 9 at the City Limit of Monte Sereno is signed as a Scenic Route.



CA 9/Los Gatos-Saratoga Road alternates between a two-lane to four-lane highway between Monte Sereno and Saratoga.  Heading southbound on CA 9 there was little to no traffic until Boulder Creek and CA 236.





In downtown Saratoga CA 9 swings westward on Big Basin Highway.  The original alignment CA 9 used to continue north from Saratoga on Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road straight through the intersection in the below photos.



CA 9 southbound traverses through downtown Saratoga.  Saratoga dates back to 1851 and was heavily influenced by the logging industry in the Santa Cruz Range.  Saratoga was initially named McCarthysville but received it's modern name in 1865 due to a near by spring a resembling one Saratoga Springs in New York.



CA 9/Big Basin Way begins to ascend the Santa Cruz Range to Saratoga Gap roughly following the course of Saratoga Creek.  The speed limits are slow with several hairpin turns near high point at the Saratoga Gap but generally has shallow grades.







The Saratoga Gap is the high point on CA 9 and marks the line for Santa Cruz County.  CA 9 has a junction with CA 35/Skyline Boulevard at the Saratoga Gap.  Boulder Creek is signed as 15 miles ahead with Santa Cruz signed as 28 miles away.




West of the Saratoga Gap CA 9/Big Basin Way a vista at Sempervirens Point.  There is an access point to the Summit Meadow Trail from Sempervirens Point.



CA 9/Big Basin Way takes a southwest turn towards the Waterman Gap.




CA 9/Big Basin Way meets the north terminus of CA 236 at the Waterman Gap.  Big Basin Way continues on CA 236 as a one-lane state highway to Big Basin State Park before reemerging as a two-lane highway backtracking to CA 9 in Boulder Creek.  CA 236 and is the original alignment of CA 9.




CA 236 was featured on this blog last year.  In my opinion Big Basin State Park is one of the best in the California State Park system.  The entry on CA 236 and Big Basin State Park can be found here.

CA 236 and Big Basin State Park

From the Waterman Gap CA 9 begins to follow the San Lorenzo River southward to Santa Cruz.


Boulder Creek is 8 miles away to the south on CA 9 from Waterman Gap while Santa Cruz is 21 miles away.



The Waterman Gap cut of CA 9 is fairly gentle but there is one large dead man's curve as the highway drops to the San Lorenzo River.


CA 9 crosses the San Lorenzo River and follows the east bank to almost all the way to Boulder Creek where it crosses back to the west bank.  CA 9 has a major junction with Bear Creek Road near the outskirts of Boulder Creek which continues east to CA 17.



CA 9 intersects the southern terminus of CA 236/Big Basin Way in Boulder Creek.  Santa Cruz is signed 14 miles to the south on CA 9.


Boulder Creek was settled in the mid-1870s when it was built to service the terminus of the San Lorenzo Logging Flume.  The San Lorenzo Logging Flume was supplemented by the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad which used to terminate in Boulder Creek.  Boulder Creek still largely resembles a 1870s Californian logging town and generally services as a suburb of Santa Cruz.


Immediately south of Boulder Creek the community of Brookdale is located 1 mile to the south on CA 9 with Ben Lomond being 3 miles away.


There is an active bridge repair project ongoing between Brookdale and Ben Lomond.



Ben Lomond is actually named after a nearby mountain of the same name which apparently means "Beacon Peak" in Gaelic.  Apparently the community became officially known as "Ben Lomond" at some point in 1887.  I'm fairly certain that CA 9 originally ran on Mill Street when it was originally signed as it is very clearly central point of the community.




From Ben Lomond the community of Felton is signed 3 miles to the south on CA 9 and Santa Cruz is shown as 10 miles away.


CA 9 crosses the San Lorenzo River a couple times entering the community of Felton.



The Felton Covered Bridge is located just off of CA 9 on Graham Hill Road.  The Felton Covered Bridge was completed in 1892 and has a 80 foot long span over the San Lorenzo River.  Graham Hill Road along with Mount Hermon Road serves a shortcut to northbound CA 17.


Felton was the southern terminus of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume and much like Boulder Creek still resembles a Californian logging town.


CA 9 south of Felton to Santa Cruz is lightly used and is fairly curvy.  Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located on CA 9 south of Felton.






The weather on CA 9 started to change towards gloomy and foggy approaching Santa Cruz.


CA 9 crosses part of the old rail alignment of the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad.


CA 9 emerges out of the Santa Cruz Range into the City of Santa Cruz where it terminates at CA 1.




CA 9 was substantially longer when first signed in 1934.  From CA 17 (originally CA 13) the routing of CA 9 would have used the following Legislative Routes:

-  CA 9 traveled west from Milpatas on CA 17 along LRN 113 via; Alviso-Milpatas Road and 1st Street to Alviso.  From Alviso LRN 113 continued south on Gold Street and west to Mathilda Avenue.  The original alignment of LRN 113 is largely buried under the CA 237 freeway but it can be seen here on this 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Santa Clara County. 

1935 Santa Clara County Highway Map 

LRN 113 was realigned out of Alviso by 1958 as can be seen on the State Highway map from the same year.

1958 State Highway Map

LRN 113 was created in 1933 according to CAhighways.org and became CA 237 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.

CAhighways.org on LRN 113

-  CA 9 traveled south on LRN 114 via Mathilda Avenue to the El Camino Real/US 101 in Sunnyvale.  CA 9 on LRN 114 took an eastern jog on El Camino Real/US 101 before turning south on Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road.  CA 9 continued south LRN 114 via Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road to Big Basin Way in downtown Saratoga.   LRN 114 became the original alignment of CA 85 during the 1964 California Highway Renumbering.  LRN 114 was adopted in 1933 according to CAhighways.org. 

CAhighways.org on LRN 114

-  CA 9 traveled west from Saratoga on LRN 42 to Big Basin State Park.  Most California Highway Maps don't show CA 9 in enough detail to determine when the alignment shifted to LRN 116 which followed the San Lorenzo River to Boulder Creek.  I was able to find a map from 1944 showing CA 9 on LRN 42 all the way to Big Basin and another map from 1956 showing it on LRN 116. 

1944 State Highway Map
 
1956 State Highway Map 

Update:  I received a Topographical Map from DTcomposer on AAroads showing CA 9 on LRN 116 in 1942.  It would seem that the timeline for the shift in CA 9 from LRN 42/44 to LRN 116 is even more of a mystery.

1942 Topographical Map of the Santa Cruz Range

According to CAhighways.org LRN 42 was defined in 1913.  Ironically LRN 42 was extended east from Saratoga to Los Gatos along Los Gatos-Saratoga Road 1933.  Los Gatos-Saratoga Road has been part of CA 9 since the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.

CAhighways.org on LRN 42

-  CA 9 used LRN 44 to reach Boulder Creek and the junction for LRN 116.  As stated above this alignment appears to have been shifted to LRN 116 some time between 1944 and 1956.  LRN 44 was adopted into the State Highway system in 1917 according to CAhighways.org.

CAhighways.org on LRN 44

-  CA 9 used LRN 116 to reach CA 1 in southward in Santa Cruz.  LRN 116 was adopted in 1933 according to CAhighways.org.

CAhighways.org on LRN 116

The changes described above from 1963 through the 1964 California State Highway Renumbering can be seen by comparing the maps from the two years.

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map

As an additional reference the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Santa Cruz County can be observed here.

1935 Santa Cruz County Highway Map  


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