California 20

Return to AARoads
 
 
 
 
Site Navigation
Baja California
California
Colorado
Idaho
Hawaii
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washington
Wyoming
 
 

California 20 East - Mendocino County

Highway Guide

California 20 east
After departing southbound U.S. 101/Redwood Highway at Exit 555B, eastbound California 20 resumes its journey toward Clear Lake, the Central Valley, and the Sierra Nevada. This east-west corridor is a busy connection across Northern California by way of Lake County, Williams, Colusa, Yuba City, Marysville, Grass Valley, and Nevada City. The state highway ends at Interstate 80 Exit 161. This picture also shows a 1961 bridge over California 20 after the U.S. 101 interchange for old U.S. 101 (North State Street) near the unincorporated town of Calpella. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 starts as a two-lane freeway. After passing under Old U.S. 101, the highway will cross over the Russian River and East Side Calpella Road/East Road. To connect to East Road north or East Side Calpella Road south, turn left at the Road 144 intersection. This intersection also connects to the Redwood Valley Rancheria. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The highway next crosses the Russian River on this 1958 bridge (widened in 1991). The Russian River begins with tributaries from Redwood Valley and Potter Valley, then leads south into Lake Mendocino. From this reservoir, the river follows the U.S. 101 corridor south into Sonoma County. During very wet winters, flooding can be a concern along the Russian River corridor, especially in Sonoma County. Photos taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Road 144 to East Road north or East Side Calpella Road south to the Redwood Valley Rancheria. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the Redwood Valley Rancheria turnoff, this mileage sign provides the distance to Upper Lake/Junction California 29 (19 miles), Junction California 53/Clearlake Expressway (42 miles), and Williams/Junction Interstate 5 (78 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
A California 20 east reassurance shield is posted shortly after the Redwood Valley Rancheria/Road 144 intersection. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Two lanes carry eastbound California 20 up this grade as the state highway passes to the north of Lake Mendocino. The lake was created in 1958 with the construction of Coyote Dam, and it covers 1,822 acres. While the dam was built primarily for flood control for downriver Ukiah, the lake created a water and power supply as well as provide recreational opportunities (boating, fishing, camping, swimming). The lake comes into view along the south side of California 20. This section of California 20 was realigned once the lake filled with water. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next intersection along eastbound California 20 is with Road A, which provides local access to Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The passing lane ends after the Road A intersection, and another reassurance shield for California 20 east is posted shortly thereafter. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next intersection (right turn) connects to Marina Drive and the north shore recreational areas for Lake Mendocino. Photo taken 05/29/06.
A second sign points the way to Marina Drive; a right turn lane allows for deceleration before turning onto Marina Drive southwest. Photos taken 05/29/06.
Traveling above Lake Mendocino, eastbound California 20 crosses the East Fork of the Russian River on this 1958 bridge that was widened in 2000. This bridge also crosses the access road to the east shore of Lake Mendocino. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next intersection (left turn) along eastbound California 20 provides access to the east shore of Lake Mendocino. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 east continues to climb, briefly paralleling the East Fork of the Russian River. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next intersection (left turn) along eastbound California 20 is with Potter Valley Road north along the East Fork of the Russian River to the unincorporated community of Potter Valley. The east fork has its headwaters in the hills above Potter Valley. This road also travels northeast to Lake Pillsbury, which is part of the Eel River watershed. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Prior to the Potter Valley Road intersection, California 20 briefly widens into a rare four-lane stretch, with passing lanes in both directions of the state highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 meets Potter Valley Road at this intersection. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the Potter Valley Road intersection, a California 20 east reassurance shield is posted. The passing lane ends, and the two-lane expressway configuration shifts to a rural two-lane highway configuration. There will be more intersections (including private access driveways) east of here on California 20. Photo taken 05/29/06.
This is the first of five Cold Creek crossings along California 20 (this bridge was built 1967). The state highway parallels Cold Creek from here east to Blue Lakes, but the creek does not drain Clear Lake; in fact, Clear Lake is not within the Russian River or Eel River watersheds (it is in the Cache Creek watershed, which drains east to the Sacramento River). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Continuing east toward Lake County, California 20 passes by pastoral fields and ranches. Watch for potential flooded areas during winter. The highway passes through the valley formed by the Cold Creek, making for a fairly easy drive into the mountains that separate the Russian River valley from the Central Valley. Cow Mountain is located on the north side of the highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 passes over Cold Creek again; each of these bridges are of a similar vintage. Photo taken 05/29/06.
This east-west power transmission line generally follows California 20, mostly choosing to stay on the mountain tops north of the highway but occasionally crossing California 20. It carries electricity into Lake County and interconnects the Mendocino County power grid with the Central Valley power network. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 continues east along its two-lane alignment. Note the exposed rock formations on the north side of the highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Continuing to gain elevation as California 20 continues east alongside Cold Creek, another passing lane comes into play for eastbound. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Continuing east along California 20, the next major intersection is with Old Lake County Road. This old alignment used to carry California 20 east; it was bypassed. Soon, California 20 will leave Mendocino County and enter Lake County. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 enters Lake County; the postmile markers reset. Photo taken 05/29/06.

Continue east to Clear Lake Back to California 20 Index Return to the California Gateway

Page Updated January 1, 2008.