East of Bella Vista Junction LRN 28 can seen following much of the existing highway to Bieber. From Bieber east to Adin a new cutoff highway is shown as a planned replacement for Susanville Road (future Lassen County Route A2) and Adin-Susanville Highway (future CA 139). From Adin LRN 28 is shown following the existing highway east over Adin Pass to Alturas via Canby.
In the August 1934 California Highways & Public Works the Sign State Routes were announced. CA 44 was announced as a new State Highway running from US 101 near Arcata east via LRN 20 to US 99 in Redding and via LRN 28 to CA 7 in Alturas. CA 440 was announced as a new State Highway running from Redding east via the 1933 extension of LRN 20 to Lassen Volcanic National Park.
On August 11th, 1934 the California State Highway Engineer petitioned the AASHO for a new US Route designation between Arcata and Alturas via the corridor of CA 44.
The original CA 44 was swapped to US Route 299 by 1935. The approval of US 299 was concurrent with that of US 395 which replaced most of CA 7. CA 440 appears to have been a placeholder designation pending the approval by the AASHO of US 299. Nonetheless CA 440 appears alongside US 299 on the 1935 Gousha Map of California.
The 1935 Division of Highways Map of Humboldt County provides a detailed look into the original alignment of US 299 on LRN 20. US 299 can be seen originating at US 101/LRN 1 north of Arcata via what is now West End Road. US 299/LRN 20 eastbound is seen crossing the Mad River and intersecting LRN 85 at North Bank Road. US 299/LRN 20 east of LRN 85 is seen entering Blue Lake via Blue Lake Boulevard. East of Blue Lake US 299/LRN 20 is seen crossing the North Fork Mad River towards CA 96/LRN 84 at Willow Creek via Lord Ellis Summit and Redwood Creek. East of Willow Creek US 299/LRN 20 can be seen following the Trinity River into Sayler of Trinity County.
The original alignment of US 299 within Redding followed LRN 20 via Eureka Way to US 99/LRN 3 at Market Street. US 299 multiplexed US 99 south on Market Street towards Parkview Avenue onto LRN 28. From Parkview Avenue US 299 followed Parkview Avenue and Smile Place over the 1908 Redding Free Bridge over the Sacramento River. Upon crossing the Sacramento River US 299/LRN 28 followed Canby Road, Dana Drive and Old Alturas Road east toward Bella Vista. For illustrative purposes highway shields were placed over the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Shasta County below to highlight the highway grid around Redding more clearly.
US 299/LRN 28 eastbound from Bella Vista can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Shasta County passing the communities of; Ignot, Round Mountain and Montgomery Creek before passing through Burney on Main Street. East of Burney US 299/LRN 28 can be seen briefly multiplexing CA 89/LRN 83. CA 89/LRN 83 southbound is seen following modern Black Ranch Road to US 299/LRN 28 westbound and branching away at modern Mountain View Road.
The January 1936 California Highways & Public Works details of the opening of the 1935 Sacramento River Bridge and the new alignment of US 99/US 299/LRN 3. The new Sacramento River Bridge is opening ceremony is cited to be held on December 18th, 1935. US 299 eastbound was realigned over the new Sacramento River Bridge north on Market Street via a multiplex of US 99/LRN 3. US 299 split from US 99/LRN 3 eastward onto LRN 28 at Lake Boulevard.
At some point between 1935-1937 CA 440 was reassigned as CA 44. The current CA 44 first appears on the 1937 Gousha Highway Map of California.
The March 1938 California Highways & Public Works details the three phase project to improve US 99/US 299/LRN 3 north of downtown Redding and the Sacramento River. Phase 1 included the completion of the 795 foot long plate girder 1935 Sacramento River Bridge. The 1935 Sacramento River Bridge likely played a huge factor in why the original CA 44 was reassigned as US Route 299 during 1935. Phase 2 included a new direct alignment of US 99/US 299/LRN 3 on Market Street from the north bank of the Sacramento River to Sulpur Creek which was completed in December 1935. Phase 3 was completed during July 1937 between Sulpur Creek and Boulder Hill. The Phase 3 project included a new interchange where US 299/LRN 28 split towards Alturas.
The August 1939 California Highways & Public Works features a recently completed hydraulic cut through Oregon Mountain which was to serve as a realignment of US 299/LRN 20 between Junction City-Weaverville. The hydraulic excavation is stated to have been planned in 1933 and would culminate with the new alignment of US 299/LRN 28 being paved by early 1940.
Part 2; the corridor of US Route 299/California State Route 299 prior to the State Highway System
Numerous trails and stage roads which existed in the corridor of US 299/CA 299 are referenced in the California Highways & Public Works during Part 1 above. The great majority of these trails and stage routes can be observed on the 1882 Bancroft's Map of California.
The May/June 1947 California Highways & Public Works references the path of US 299/CA 299 west of Helena to Arcata was largely built over the corridor of the Lord Ellis Trail. The 1882 Bancroft's Map of California depicts the Lord Ellis Trail as a stage road originating at Eureka in Humboldt County. The Lord Ellis Trail can be seen traveling eastward as a stage road to Arcata where it crossed the Mad River towards Blue Lake. From Blue Lake the Lord Ellis Trail is shown as a stage road traveling east to China Flat (Willow Creek) where it ended at a crossing of the Trinity River. No stage road east of China Flat to Helena in Trinity County can be observed implying the Lord Ellis Trail was nothing more than a foot path. From Helena a stage road can be seen traveling east to Weaverville via Junction City.
Part 3; a drive on California State Route 299/former US Route 299
The first European settlement in modern day Redding was in 1844 when Pierson B. Redding received a Mexican land grant of Rancho Buena Ventura. During the American California Gold Rush mining claims were made near Shasta. These mining claims near Shasta led to the formation of a community known as Poverty Flats. In 1868 the Central Pacific Railroad purchased land in Poverty Flats which it intended to be the northern terminus of it's line to the gold claims of Northern California. By 1872 the Central Pacific Railroad reached Redding and the community began surpass nearby Shasta in importance. Redding was incorporated in 1887 and won the Shasta County Seat from Shasta in 1888. Redding can be seen along the Central Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Oregon, California, & Nevada Railroad Map.
CA 299 westbound departing Shasta is signed as 5 miles from Whiskeytown, 39 miles from Weaverville and 140 miles from Eureka.
CA 299 west of the Whiskeytown Reservoir climbs to the 3,213 foot Buckhorn Summit and enters Trinity County.
Weaverville is the Trinity County seat and by far it's largest community with a population approaching 3,600. Weaverville and the Klamath Mountains were part of the epicenter of the Gold Rush era in northern California. Weaverville was founded in 1850 and incredibly remote for the time and was only accessible by foot trail. The first stage to arrive in Weaverville came in 1853 which was followed by the Grass Valley Toll Road opening in 1858.
CA 299 westbound departing Weaverville is signed as 5 miles from Junction City, 57 miles from Willow Creek and 101 miles from Eureka.
CA 299 west from Helena to Willow Creek follows the Trinity River through a series of canyons. The Trinity River can be observed from the Pigeon Point Campground near Helena in the photos below taken during 2016.
Blue Lake was located along the Arcata & Mad River Railroad which ran from Arcata to Korbel. The Arcata & Mad River Railroad was a narrow gauge line which was first constructed in 1853 to transport lumber from the Klamath Mountains to shipping yards on the Pacific Ocean. The Arcata & Mad River Railroad was converted to standard gauge in 1925 and was in continuous service until 1983 making it one of the longest lived railroads in U.S. history. Service on the Arcata & Mad River Railroad permanently shuttered in 1992 which led to the tracks being removed in 1997. When the Arcata & Mad River Railroad was shuttered it was the longest active railroad in California.
The photos below were taken in 2016 in Blue Lake along the corridor of the Arcata & Mad River Railroad along Railroad Avenue.