California 3


At the north end of downtown Montague, California 3 and Siskiyou County Route A-28 separate. California 3 turns east toward the eastern city limits of Montague, while Siskiyou County Route A-28 travels north along Ager Road toward Ager, Henley, and Hornbrook. Photo taken 05/25/08.

Routing

California 3 is generally a north-south route in Northern California, passing through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest between California 36 near Peanut and Interstate 5 in Yreka. However, at Yreka, California 3 turns into an east-west state highway, linking Interstate 5 with the city limits of Montague. The state highway's northern (eastern) terminus is the eastern city limits of Montague in Siskiyou County. Most of the highway is a designated scenic route. A major attraction along California 3 is the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, which features the Trinity River and Clair Engle Lake. California 3 is also a gateway to the Trinity Alps Wilderness to the west of the national recreation area. In Yreka, the seat of Siskiyou County, most of California 3 shares alignment with Business Loop I-5 and Historic U.S. 99.

Highway Guide

California 3/Fort Jones Road north
We begin traveling north along California 3 after the intersection with Westside Road, which connects California 3 with Historic U.S. 99. Due to the disconnected nature of old U.S. 99 due to the meandering path of the Interstate 5 freeway, there are segments of old U.S. 99 on both sides of Interstate 5 just south of Yreka. westside Road in particular links with Easy Street, which in turn connects to an extant segment of Historic U.S. 99 called "Old Highway 99" that leads to Gazelle. Ahead, California 3 approaches a series of stores and restaurants along with a junction with Business Loop I-5/Moonlit Oaks Road. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Northbound California 3/South Main Street (Fort Jones Road) approaches Business Loop I-5/Moonlit Oaks Road at this traffic signal in southern Yreka. Turn right for Business Loop I-5 south (east) along Moonlit Oaks Road to Interstate 5 Exit 773. Turn left for Moonlit Oaks Road west. Continue ahead for California 3 and Business Loop I-5/Main Street north toward downtown Yreka. Oddly, this advance sign does not indicate the continuation of California 3, which shares alignment with Business Loop I-5 while on Main Street through Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 meets Business Loop I-5/Moonlit Oaks Road at this traffic signal. Ahead, California 3 shares pavement with both Business Loop I-5 and Historic U.S. 99; however, only the business route and historic route are signed through Yreka. California 3 is omitted from signage from Moonlit Oaks Road north to Montague Road at the north end of town. Officially, both Business Loop I-5 and California 3 follow Main Street through central Yreka. The city of Yreka is the seat of Siskiyou County. Yreka had a population of 7,765 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on April 21, 1857. Its motto is "Golden City." Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3, Historic U.S. 99, and Business Loop I-5/Main Street north
A Historic U.S. 99 route marker is posted immediately after Moonlit Oaks Drive. After that is a standalone Business Loop I-5 shield. California 3 is not signed for the most part along northbound Main Street in Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
After the intersection with Moonlit Oaks Road, Business Loop I-5 and California 3 proceed north along Main Street. The business route parallels Interstate 5 briefly, then curves away to serve downtown Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3 proceed north along Main Street closely parallel to the west side of Interstate 5 in Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.

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The next signalized intersection along Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3/Main Street is with Oberlin Road, which passes under Interstate 5 just east of this intersection. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Main Street (Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3) starts with two lanes in each direction but will quickly narrow down to one lane in each direction as we approach downtown Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3/Main Street skirt the eastern edge of downtown Yreka. Here, California 3 approaches an intersection with Center Street, which travels one-way eastbound to link up with Miner Street en route to Interstate 5 Exit 775. A shield assembly points the way for Business Loop I-5 (implied to include California 3) north via Main Street and Interstate 5 via Center Street east and Miner Street east. Photo taken 05/25/08.
One block north, Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3 meet Miner Street, which travels one-way westbound between Main Street and Center Street, so no right turns are permitted. Turn left to the quaint old town of Yreka, as well as a tourist information center located at the southeastern corner of Miner Street and Broadway Street. Follow Miner Street west to Yreka's Miner Street Park, with its rustic "Siskiyou" arch at the northeastern corner of the park. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Only Business Loop I-5 north is signed after the Miner Street intersection. Historic U.S. 99, California 3, and Business Loop I-5 continue north along Main Street through Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The Yreka Motel and Trailer Park marquee has a retro feel. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Trees line both sides of Main Street in Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A trailblazer is posted for the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway that follows portions of California 96. Follow California 263 (Historic U.S. 99) ahead to reach the byway. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3 split at the point where North Main Street meets Montague Road. Business Loop I-5 and California 3 turn right onto eastbound Montague Road toward a junction with Interstate 5. California 263 and Historic U.S. 99 proceed ahead toward the Shasta River Canyon. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Turn right onto Montague Road east for Business Loop I-5 north to Interstate 5 north to Portland, Interstate 5 south to Redding, and California 3 east to Montague. Historic U.S. 99 and California 263/Main Street continue north along a scenic corridor that passes by five historic bridges and pass over the Shasta River and Klamath River. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road east and Business Loop I-5 north
Eastbound Montague Road passes underneath the northbound lanes of Interstate 5. This marks the northern terminus of Yreka's Business Loop I-5. Ahead, California 3 proceeds east toward Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road east
Seven miles separate Interstate 5 from downtown Montague. This California 3 reassurance shield and mileage sign are posted just after the Interstate 5 interchange. California 3 essentially becomes an east-west road between Interstate 5 and Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Cresting at Juniper Drive, we see a gorgeous view looking east toward the Shasta Valley and Willow Creek Mountain (elevation 7.830 feet above sea level) along eastbound California 3/Montague Road. As this was a rainy day, the mountains were partially obscured by clouds. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road approaches Yreka Ager Road, which travels northeast from California 3 to meet Siskiyou County Route A-28/Ager Road. A-28/Ager Road travels north-south, linking Montague, Ager, Henley, and Hornbrook. From here, California 3 curves southeast to Phillipe Lane, then turns east again. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road curves east again near Phillipe Lane. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road passes by towering mounds of bark and other wood products offered by Shasta Forest Products Landscape Specialists. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Green ranchland and farming fields line both sides of California 3/Montague Road as we proceed east toward Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road approaches Collier Lane, which might be named for Randolph Collier, the "Father of the California Freeway." Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road crosses over the Shasta River. Originating at the northern/western slope of Mount Shasta need the city of Weed, the Shasta River travels approximately 58 miles northwest through Lake Shastina, Grenada, Montague, and the Shasta River Canyon before merging into the mighty Klamath River. The Klamath River, in turn, carries increasingly large flows through the Siskiyou Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road meets Airport Way. Turn left here for Airport Way north to Montague-Yreka Rohrer Field Airport. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road enters the city of Montague, which had a population of 1,443 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on January 28, 1909. As noted by the official city webpage, Montague "was named [in 1887] in honor of Samuel Skerry Montague, Chief Engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad, who was most noted for his skillful engineering of the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento, California to Promontory, Utah, completed in 1869 when the 'Golden Spike' was driven to connect the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. He later was responsible for engineering the California line of the Oregon and California Railroad connecting San Francisco to Portland." Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road next approaches Junction Siskiyou County Route A-28/Montague Grenada Road (11th Street). This intersection will mark the eastern terminus of Montague Road. California 3 continues and will turn north on 11th Street and briefly share alignment with A-28. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The designated truck route ends at A-28, even though the state highway continues a bit further east. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Montague Road meets Siskiyou County Route A-28/Eleventh Street (Montague Grenada Road). Use A-28 south (right turn) to follow Montague Grenada Road south to Grenada and Siskiyou County Route A-12 (known as the 99-97 Cutoff), which connects with Interstate 5 Exit 766 and Old U.S. 99. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The only route markers visible along eastbound are posted at the intersection of Montague Road and 11th Street on this post. A-28 and California 3 will share alignment along 11th Street briefly through downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 east and Siskiyou County Route A-28/Eleventh Street north
Siskiyou County Route A-28 and California 3 briefly share alignment along 11th Street through downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A line of historic building storefronts follows 11th Street (Siskiyou County Route A-28 and California 3) in downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Siskiyou County Route A-28 and California 3 divide at the intersection of 11th Street and Webb Street in downtown Montague. A-28 continues north along 11th Street, which becomes Ager Road, while California 3 turns east along Webb Street. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Here is a close-up of the Siskiyou County Route A-28 and California 3 route markers found at the intersection of 11th Street and Webb Street in downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Webb Road east
Leaving the intersection of Siskiyou County Route A-28/Eleventh Street, California 3 proceeds east along Webb Road through eastern Montague. The state highway only continues for another mile or two before ending. California 3 passes through a railroad crossing. Photo taken 05/25/08.
After the railroad crossing, California 3 proceeds east along Webb Road through eastern Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Eastbound California 3/Webb Street meets Ninth Street. Turn left here for Siskiyou County Airport (five miles north). Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 passes through a residential area in eastern Montague as it approaches its terminus. Photo taken 05/25/08.
At the Montague eastern city limits, California 3 and state maintenance ends. The sign clearly shows the end of the route, even though the locally maintained pavement continues beyond this point. The auxiliary sign beneath the END California 3 assembly says, "Ball Mountain-Little Shasta Road." This is the name of the county road that continues along the alignment of California 3 from this point eastward. Note the milepost equations in both directions. California 246 ends in a fashion similar to this, as it terminates at the western city limits of Lompoc, but a county route continues on its alignment all the way to the coast. Ball Mountain-Little Shasta Road is improved for a fair distance, but it is not fully paved all the way east to U.S. 97 as it follows the Little Shasta River east past Goosenest Mountain. Photo taken 05/25/08.
At the city limits, the pavement color changes. State maintenance ends and county maintenance begins. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Webb Road west
California 3 starts its southerly journey along Webb Street at the eastern city limits of Montague, which had a population of 1,443 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on January 28, 1909. A pair of postmile markers are located next to the city limits sign. At the time we visited in 2008, there was no initial state highway route marker for California 3. Photo taken 05/25/08.
For the first mile or two, California 3 passes through residential areas in the city of Montague, then proceeds toward downtown. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 continues west past the front of Martin's Store, which is closed and in need of rehabilitation. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Westbound California 3/Webb Street crosses the railroad tracks. Photo taken 05/25/08.
After crossing the railroad tracks, California 3/Webb Street west meets Siskiyou County Route A-28/Eleventh Street. Turn right for A-28 north to Ager, Henley, and Hornbrook. Turn left for California 3 west and A-28 south into downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Here is a close up of the route markers for California 3 and Siskiyou County Route A-28. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 west and Siskiyou County Route A-28/Eleventh Street south
California 3 and Siskiyou County Route A-28 pass by downtown Montague. A-28 will continue south to Grenada, where it connects with A-12 (99-97 Cutoff), Interstate 5, and Historic U.S. 99. Photo taken 05/25/08.
This view shows the storefronts that line 11th Street along California 3 and Siskiyou County Route A-28 in downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 and Siskiyou County Route A-28 proceeds past the Montague Opera House. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A short distance further south, the two routes divide: California 3 turns right along westbound Montague Road toward Yreka, while Siskiyou County Route A-28 proceeds south toward Grenada. To Interstate 5 north, turn right. To Interstate 5 south, continue ahead. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A second California 3 trailblazer route marker is posted at the turnoff from Siskiyou County Route A-28. Continue ahead on A-28/Montague Grenada Road south to Grenada. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road west
Now traveling due west, California 3 proceeds toward Yreka and leaves behind Siskiyou County Route A-28 and downtown Montague. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A California 3 south reassurance shield is posted on westbound Montague Road. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Westbound California 3/Montague Road meets Airport Way. Turn right here for Airport Way north to Montague-Yreka Rohrer Field Airport. The state highway leaves the city of Montague and enters unincorporated Siskiyou County. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3/Montague Road reaches the floor of the Shasta Valley as it approaches the Shasta River crossing. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Westbound California 3/Montague Road crosses over the Shasta River, then proceeds west toward Yreka and the Siskiyou Mountains. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Storm clouds gathered on the horizon as we proceeded west along California 3/Montague Road between Montague and Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
After Collier Lane, westbound California 3/Montague Road proceeds through agricultural land en route to Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 enters the city of Yreka, which is the seat of Siskiyou County. Yreka had a population of 7,765 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on April 21, 1857. Its motto is "Golden City." Photo taken 05/25/08.
Westbound California 3 meets Yreka Ager Road. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 rises to meet Juniper Drive, then descends into northern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Westbound California 3 meets a traffic signal, which governs the flow of traffic into a nearby RV park. Ahead, California 3 approaches its junction with Interstate 5, the principal north-south freeway that passes through the state of California. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Use Interstate 5 north to many Oregon cities, including Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene, Salem, and Portland. From there, Interstate 5 proceeds across the Columbia River into Washington, where it serves Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellingham before ending at the international border with Canada and British Columbia. The next right connects to Interstate 5 north. The next left connects to Interstate 5 south en route to Weed, Lake Shasta, Redding, Red Bluff, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego, with a connector to San Francisco via Interstate 505 and Interstate 80. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The interchange between California 3 and Interstate 5 is a standard diamond. Although not noted here, California 3 picks up the designation of Business Loop I-5 after passing under the freeway. The business loop will accompany California 3 through central Yreka, including the segment that follows Historic U.S. 99. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Business Loop I-5 and California 3 south and Montague Road west
Leaving the interchange with Interstate 5, California 3 and Business Loop I-5 follow Montague Road west into Yreka. Gas, food, and lodging are all available on the business route. California 3 is not well signed through Yreka, but it is the underlying state highway designation for Main Street in central Yreka. Business Loop I-5 follows California 3 from Interstate 5 Exit 776 (Montague Road) to Exit 773 (Moonlit Oaks Drive). Photo taken 05/25/08.
A few "Yreka the Golden City" signs like this one are posted at main entrances to Yreka. Ahead, Business Loop I-5 and California 3 proceed toward the junction with Historic U.S. 99 and California 263. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Southbound Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Montague Road approach their intersection with Historic U.S. 99 and California 263/Main Street. California 3 and Business Loop I-5 turn left here; California 263 ends at this point. Follow Main Street south to the tourist information center, which is located off Miner Street. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Historic U.S. 99 is signed as following the business loop and California 3 south along Main Street. It also travels north from here along California 263 into Shasta River Canyon, where five historic bridges span portions of the Shasta River and Klamath River. Photo taken 05/25/08.
At the Main Street intersection, turn left for Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99, and California 3 south or turn right for California 263 and Historic U.S. 99 north. Oddly, a business loop shield is missing at the approach to Main Street, and one should be posted on at least one advance sign assembly. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3, Historic U.S. 99, and Business Loop I-5/Main Street south
Now traveling south along Main Street, the first reassurance shield we see on this Caltrans-maintained stretch of business route is for Historic U.S. 99. Ideally, U.S. 99 would be cosigned along with Business Loop I-5 and California 3 south. Shields for both routes are found further south along Main Street in Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The rain stopped long enough to offer a nice view looking south on Main Street toward central Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Southbound California 3 and Business Loop I-5/Main Street meets North Street in Yreka and approaches the turnoff to Miner Street, which is a major entry into downtown Yreka. Turn right (west) on Miner Street to the Siskiyou County visitor's center. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Just two blocks further south, Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street meet Center Street. Turn left here to access Interstate 5 at Exit 775. Or continue ahead on Main Street to follow California 3 and Business Loop I-5 into southern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Just two blocks further south, Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street meet Center Street. Turn left here to access Interstate 5 at Exit 775. Or continue ahead on Main Street to follow California 3 and Business Loop I-5 into southern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
After the Center Street intersection, we find a Business Loop I-5 south reassurance route marker ... but California 3 is oddly unsigned here. Photo taken 05/25/08.
A variety of businesses line California 3 and Business Loop I-5/Main Street in southern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Southbound Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street meet Broadway Street north and Dillon Way west. Turn right here for Yreka's city hall and main library. Photo taken 05/25/08.
The next traffic signal along Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street south is with Oberlin Street. At this point, Interstate 5 comes into view on the left. The business route and freeway will closely parallel each other for the next quarter mile. Photo taken 05/25/08.
In fact, a freeway guide sign for the continuation of California 3 south to Trinity Lake and Weaverville is posted on the freeway mainline for Exit 773 via Moonlit Oaks Drive. While California 3 itself does not intersect with Interstate 5 at Exit 773, a short connection via Business Loop I-5 links the two routes together in southern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Amidst shopping areas, Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street approach Greenhorn Road. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Looking at the freeway mainline from Business Loop I-5 and California 3/Main Street, we see an exit sign for Exit 773, Junction California 3 south to Fort Jones and Etna. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Southbound Business Loop I-5 and California 3 prepare to divide at the signalized intersection with Moonlit Oaks Drive. Turn left here for Business Loop I-5 south access Interstate 5 at Exit 773. Or continue ahead on South Main Street (Fort Jones Road) to follow California 3 south to Fort Jones and Etna. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Quite a bit of restaurants including fast food are located at the junction of California 3 and Business Loop I-5 in southern Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
California 3 south
After the intersection, this mileage sign provides the distance to Fort Jones (15 miles), Etna (26 miles), Callahan (38 miles), and Weaverville (101 miles) via California 3 south. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Scenes Pertaining to California 3 - Business Loop I-5/Moonlit Oaks Drive east
After leaving the signalized intersection with Main Street, eastbound Moonlit Oaks Drive approaches its junction with Interstate 5 at Exit 773. The first right turn connects to Interstate 5 south to Weed, Mount Shasta, and Redding. The first left turn connects to Interstate 5 north to Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass, and Portland. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Scenes Pertaining to California 3 - Business Loop I-5/Moonlit Oaks Drive west
After leaving the diamond interchange with Interstate 5, westbound Moonlit Oaks Drive approaches its junction with California 3/Main Street in southern Yreka. Turn left for California 3 south to Fort Jones, Etna, and Weaverville. Turn right for California 3 and Business Loop I-5 north to downtown Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Turn right on Main Street for an extant segment of Historic U.S. 99. Since the original alignment of U.S. 99 cut through the area of the Exit 773 interchange, the next extant segment south of here is reached via Moonlit Oaks Drive east and then south onto Old Highway 99. Further south, a more substantial section of old alignment of U.S. 99 is reached via California 3/Fort Jones Road south to Westside Road east to Easy Street southeast to Old Highway 99 south. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Trailblazer route markers are posted for California 3 south to Fort Jones and north (along with Business Loop I-5) to downtown Yreka. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Scenes Pertaining to California 3
In downtown Yreka, eastbound Center Street approaches its interchange with Interstate 5 (Exit 775). This sign is posted prior to the interchange, just east of the Business Loop I-5, Historic U.S. 99 and California 3/Main Street corridor. Photo taken 05/25/08.
Between Interstate Exit 775 and California 3 and Business Loop I-5/Main Street in Yreka is the one-way couplet of Miner Street (westbound) and Center Street (eastbound). At the point where these two roads unite just west of Interstate 5 and east of California 3, we find an arch welcome sign located in the median formed between the two roadways. The arch was dedicated in 1976 and is illuminated. It was previously located over the intersection of U.S. 99/Main Street and Miner Street; it resided there from around 1917 until the 1930s when U.S. 99/Main Street was widened.1 The sign went into storage until being relocated to the intersection of Miner Street and Center Street just west of Interstate 5. Photos taken 05/25/08.

Footnotes:

  1. Yreka History: Yreka's Welcome Arch, January 26, 2009. Relevant quote: "It has been read that Yrekans first saw our own Welcome Arch in 1917. It was an exciting time with travel by automobile staging a promising future! By automobile, Yreka was the midway point between San Francisco and Portland on the Great Pacific Highway. ... In the 1930's the Pacific Highway was "modernized" and the route officially changed into Highway 99. By 1931 the portion of the new Highway 99 through the Shasta Canyon was complete, but the changes were yet to come in Yreka proper. During the mid 1930's Main Street (Pacific Highway, later Highway 99) was widened through town. ... The Yreka Arch was taken down in the 1930s during this reconstruction of the Pacific Highway into Highway 99. It was in storage and fell into disrepair until 1976 when the local Soroptimists made the move to restore and replace the sign. The citizens of Yreka helped with funding and support and in 1977 the Welcome Arch was rededicated. It now sits at the Central Yreka Interchange but seems somehow smaller at eye level."

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