California Roads - Old US 99 - Ridge Rte.

Ridge Route, former US 99

I'll let this historical sign do some of the talking. You can't see the maximum safe speed but it's 15, and that may even be a little generous in some spots. The Ridge Route was the corridor north from Los Angeles when the U.S. Highway system was conceived and thus became part of US 99. It was very quickly apparent that this highway needed to be improved for ever-growing traffic needs, especially commercial traffic, and by 1933 there was already a new road, the Ridge Route Alternate, 4 modern lanes through the "Pyramid Cut" by what is now Pyramid Lake (see the big link at bottom for old US 99 in Los Angeles County). The Ridge Route remained open as US 99 Alt. for many years after US 99 was moved, but it was clear this was no alternative so much as a scenic day trip. By the 1970s, it was more or less abandoned in place, with random patches of asphalt as needed to maintain a driving surface. From then till now, the road has periodically closed as warranted by pavement failures and rockfalls, and with little to no public money going to it, the closures are ever more frequent and longer in duration. The Ridge Route Preservation Organization, led by one Harrison Scott, has been doing its utmost to preserve the route and reopen it for scenic enjoyment. While the road did make it to the National Register of Historic Places through his efforts, it remains generally closed to the public for safety concerns. He has also published a 2002 book on the Ridge Route with many historical photos.
Speaking of Mr. Scott, I want to thank him and provide acknowledgement here that he is the reason I can present this page to you. Through our communication, he agreed to lead me on a tour down the old road in his own vehicle. Without him, I would be missing all of the photos between the north and south gates, as well as so much information and historical context along the drive. I owe him a debt of gratitude and hope that he appreciates this page in return.

South from County Route N2
North of the northern gate
Northern gate to Reservoir Summit
Reservoir Summit to southern gate
South of the southern gate

Ridge Route Non-Roads

The U.S. Forest Service inventories the Ridge Route as 8N04 internally, since it winds through Angeles National Forest. The Forest Service is also responsible for gating the road. Boo them. At least they're working with the RRPO in a dialogue on what is needed to reopen it.

North on the Ridge Route to CR N2
Continue south on old US 99 in Los Angeles County

Ridge Route Preservation Organization
Back to California Roads
Back to Roads