California 20

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California 20 East - Lake County

Highway Guide

California 20 east
California 20 enters Lake County; the postmile markers reset. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the county line, eastbound California 20 approaches Old State Highway, which is the eastern end of Old Lake County Road. The passing lane also ends, as California 20 has reached its summit at this point. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next major intersection along eastbound California 20 is with Blue Lakes Road. The Blue Lakes are located on the south side of California 20 and provide recreational opportunities such as boating and swimming. At one time, the Blue Lakes were linked to Clear Lake, but various geological forces have separated Blue Lakes from Clear Lake. The highway will pass along the north shore of the Blue Lakes. The town of Blue Lakes along California 20 is not to be confused with the town of Blue Lake along California 299. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Blue Lakes offer several recreational opportunities. Blue Lakes Road follows the south shore of the lakes, reconnecting with California 20 at the eastern end. Photo taken 05/29/06.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the intersection with California 29 (7 miles), the town of Upper Lake (8 miles), and the town of Williams along Interstate 5/U.S. 99W (66 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 enters the small town of Blue Lakes. Shortly after this area is Mid Lake Road, which separates the two Blue Lakes. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Leaving the Blue Lakes area, the next major intersection is with Scotts Valley Road southeast. This road connects California 20 and California 29 Exit 97 near Lakeport while passing ranches and rural homes. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next major intersection along eastbound California 20 is with Saratoga Springs Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Soon thereafter, eastbound California 20 approaches Witter Springs Road north. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next major intersection along eastbound California 20 is with Bachelor Valley Road north. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Soon thereafter, eastbound California 20 approaches its junction with California 29. Since hazardous materials trucks are prohibited from using California 20 (due to the state highway's proximity to the north shore of Clear Lake), these trucks are directed to use California 29 south past Lakeport and Kelseyville to Lower Lake, then use California 53/Clearlake Expressway north past the city of Clearlake back to California 20. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Van Sleeper Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The intersection between California 20 and California 29 serves as the northern terminus of California 29. This major north-south highway travels south as a freeway past Lakeport, then becomes an expressway for the bypass of the town of Kelseyville. At Lower Lake, California 29 meets California 53 and then turns south toward Middletown, Mt. St. Helena, and Calistoga. Once in Calistoga, the state highway provides the main north-south route through Napa Valley, serving the city of Napa before ending at Interstate 80 in the city of Vallejo. Photo taken 05/29/06.
A second sign advises that large trucks (in addition to hazardous materials trucks) use California 29 and California 53 rather than California 20. Photo taken 05/29/06.
A dedicated right lane provides for the connection from California 20 east to California 29 south. Use California 29 south to Lakeport, Kelseyville, all south and east shore resorts, the Cobb Mountain area (via California 175 south), Lower Lake, and Clearlake. Additionally, California 29 converts to a four-lane full freeway a few miles south of this intersection, bypassing the city of Lakeport. A business route alignment of California 29 provides access into downtown Lakeport. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 meets California 29 south at this intersection. Continue straight ahead on California 20 east to Upper Lake, Nice, Lucerne, and Clearlake Oaks. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the junction with California 29, eastbound California 20 enters a pedestrian safety corridor through Upper Lake, Nice, and Lucerne. Watch for pedestrians crossing California 20, since the highway closely hugs the north shore of Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Truckers who proceed east on California 20 are advised to go easy on the engine brakes since the highway passes through several resort communities on the north shore of the lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 enters the community of Upper Lake (population 989 at the 2000 Census). Photo taken 05/29/06.
An old alignment of California 20 enters the downtown section of Upper Lake. Turn left here to Elk Mountain Road north to Upper Lake Rancheria and Lake Pillsbury. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Leaving Upper Lake, this mileage sign on eastbound California 20 provides the distance to the town of Nice (5 miles), Junction California 53 (23 miles), and Williams (59 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Upper Lake Lucerne Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The Mendocino-Central Valley power line again crosses California 20 near the Pomo Way intersection. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 enters the Robinson Rancheria. A casino is located on the north side of California 20 within this reservation. The Reclamation Cutoff is the next major intersection after Robinson Rancheria, and it connects to the Bloody Island area at the northwest corner of Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the Reclamation Cutoff, this mileage sign on eastbound California 20 provides the distance to the town of Nice (2 miles), Lucerne (6 miles), and Williams (56 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
At Pyle Road, eastbound California 20 reaches the Lakeport Cutoff west to the city of Lakeport (seat of Lake County). After this intersection, California 20 enters the town of Nice (population 2,509 at the 2000 Census). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Now in Nice, the first signed intersection is with Hammond Avenue. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Lakeview Drive and Collier Avenue. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Next up is Floyd Street and Carson Street in the town of Nice. Most of this town features a few shops, restaurants, and lakeside homes. Photo taken 05/29/06.
In downtown Nice, the state highway was realigned to provide a smoother route rather than an abrupt turn as shown here. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After much anticipation, Clear Lake comes into view as California 20 leaves the town of Nice and now closely follows the north shore. Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake wholly within the state of California (Lake Tahoe is larger, but it is shared with Nevada; the Salton Sea in Riverside and Imperial Counties is also larger but consists of saltwater). Clear Lake consists of 43,785 acres and has an average depth of 27 feet (60 feet at its deepest point). The lake is about 17 miles long and can be as small as a mile wide (at Buckingham) or as wide as eight miles (between Kelseyville and Nice). While numerous small streams drain into Clear Lake, only Cache Creek drains the lake and brings water into Yolo County and eventually to the Sacramento River. The use of water flowing through Cache Creek is an ongoing debate between downstream farming interests (such as the Yolo County Water District) and developers and farmers in Lake County. Studies suggest that Clear Lake is one of the oldest lakes in the United States based on prior studies (480,000 years old). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Another mileage sign is posted shortly thereafter, providing the distance to Lucerne (three miles), Junction California 53/Clearlake Expressway (17 miles), and Williams (53 miles). Note the lakeside homes built on the south side of California 20. Photo taken 05/29/06.
On the south side of the state highway are more lakeside homes, while no development is found on the north side of the highway due to the steep terrain north of the highway. Development on the north side of the highway comes into play when the terrain is more forgiving, as shown in the next photo. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Bartlett Springs Road. Turn left here to Bartlett Springs (15 miles) and Hough Springs (23 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
A California 20 east reassurance shield is posted after Bartlett Springs Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 enters the town of Lucerne (population 2,870 at the 2000 Census). Photo taken 05/29/06.
After crossing a 1933 bridge at Morrison Creek, a visitor information center is located on the north side of the state highway in downtown Lucerne. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Leaving Lucerne, this mileage sign provides the distance to Glenhaven (six miles), Junction California 53/Clearlake Expressway (13 miles), and Williams (49 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Between Lucerne and Glenhaven, California 20 stays close to Clear Lake. Pedestrians frequently cross the highway here, since there are places to park on either side of the road. Sight distances are somewhat limited due to the curves in the road and the rugged landscape. Clear Lake itself is most popular between Memorial Day and Labor Day, since summer use for boating, swimming, and fishing brings frequent tourism. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Along this stretch, eastbound California 20 is actually traveling south. This view shows the lake looking southwest from the highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The two-lane highway continues alongside Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Another reassurance shield is posted along eastbound California 20 as the highway continues south along the north shore of Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Bending away from the lake briefly, California 20 is confronted with the tall peaks and cliffs associated with the mountainous terrain north of Clear Lake. This area is traversed by few roads, most of which are not paved (not even Mendocino Pass Road, which is intended to someday become part of California 162). Most of the area is protected as part of the Mendocino National Forest, and development is sparse. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Clear Lake comes back into view. Watch for vehicles pulling boats and recreation vehicles along California 20. Camping and overnight parking is generally not allowed alongside California 20 (see sign in prior photobox). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Mount Konocti, an extinct volcano, can be seen on the south side of Clear Lake. The mountain rises to a height of 4,299 feet above sea level (three peaks- Wright Peak, Howard Peak, and South Peak), and it is the most visible landmark around Clear Lake. Most of Mount Konocti is privately owned, so access to the peaks is limited. On the north face of the mountain is a vast forest, while chaparral dominates the south side of the mountain. The mountain has caves, but the extent of the caves has never been confirmed or explored. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Verna Way and Cora Drive. Photo taken 05/29/06.
More of Clear Lake comes into view. Across the lake on the south shore is Buckingham, a small residential community that includes a golf course, along with Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, which is found along Soda Bay Road (which is the proposed future route of California 281 if it is ever built). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Turning away from the lake, eastbound California 20 enters the town of Glenhaven (. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The speed limit on California 20 across the north shore of Clear Lake is generally between 40 and 55 miles per hour. Watch for changes in speed as well as caution signs in advance of curves. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The lake again comes into view after California 20 passes through tiny Glenhaven. Some homes are on the lakeside, but the state highway offers splendid views of the lake as well. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 passes through more of Glenhaven and here meets Harvey Boulevard. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Leaving Glenhaven, eastbound California 20 again hugs the shore of Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The next major intersection on eastbound California 20 is with Lakeview Drive, which parallels California 20 as we continue east toward Clearlake Oaks. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 enters the unincorporated community of Clearlake Oaks (population 2,402 at the 2000 Census, elevation 1,335 feet above sea level). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Now that California 20 is again traveling generally east instead of southeast, the views of the lake are even more compelling. Docks and piers line the north shore of the lake near Clearlake Oaks. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Clearlake Oaks is home to 1,349 people as of the 2000 Census. It is not to be confused with the city of Clearlake, which is located southeast of here along California 53. Note the old style concrete railing that separates the highway from the waters of Clear Lake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Island Drive in Clearlake Oaks. After passing through Clearlake Oaks, California 20 leaves the lake views behind. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Soon thereafter in Clearlake Oaks, eastbound California 20 approaches High Valley Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
This mileage sign on eastbound California 20 provides the distance to Junction California 53/Clearlake Expressway (two miles), Junction California 16 east to Esparto (21 miles), and Junction Interstate 5 at Williams (39 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Orchard Shores Drive east of Clearlake Oaks. True to its name, a vineyard and orchards can be seen on both sides of the state highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Shortly thereafter, eastbound California 20 approaches Sulphur Bank Road. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 53 is the next major intersection on eastbound California 20. The route follows the Clearlake Expressway south through the city of Clearlake, then ends at California 29 in Lower Lake. The four-lane highway follows the east shore of Clear Lake and provides connections to most motorist services. Photo taken 05/29/06.
To Interstate 5, continue east on California 20 to Williams. All eastbound traffic must stop at the California 20-53 intersection. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Use California 53 south to Clearlake, Lower Lake, and Middletown (via California 29). The first right is Y Road; the second right is the ramp connecting to California 53 south. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 reaches Y Road and Junction California 53 south to Clearlake. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After the California 53 offramp, all traffic on eastbound California 20 must stop. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Left turning traffic from westbound California 20 to southbound California 53 does not have to stop at this intersection. The highway widens to two lanes for the upcoming climb out of the Clear Lake basin. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 has two lanes as it climbs away from California 53. Photo taken 05/29/06.
From here, the traffic counts on California 20 increase, since this is the best route from Lake County to the Central Valley. Three-lane sections are common, especially for climbing lanes. On this stretch, the westbound direction has two lanes and the eastbound direction has one lane. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Slower traffic should use turnouts and passing lanes (when available) to allow faster traffic to pass. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches New Long Valley Road north to Spring Valley. Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 briefly follows the North Fork of Cache Creek, which carves out the valley ahead. Photo taken 05/29/06.
As California 20 prepares to cross over the North Fork of Cache Creek on a 1989 bridge, a water access point is provided at this intersection. According to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, this access point leads to a beach that is clothing-optional (nude beach). It is not clear if this is a permitted activity or not, but people practice nudity on the beach here. Photo taken 05/29/06.
After crossing the North Fork of Cache Creek, California 20 continues east independent of any major water channel. A large rock outcropping is seen here near a few sharp curves in the highway. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Passing by the badlands, this mileage sign provides the distance to Williams (29 miles), Colusa (38 miles), and Marysville (64 miles). Photo taken 05/29/06.
California 20 again widens out to three lanes, with an eastbound passing lane. This configuration continues for several miles. Photos taken 05/29/06.
California 20 passes by the Oasis, which features a bar and grill (but no gas or other motorist services). Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 approaches Long Valley Road north to Indian Valley Reservoir. The three-lane section of California 20 comes to an end after this intersection. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Again two lanes, California 20 continues east toward Colusa County. Photo taken 05/29/06.
The highway again widens to three lanes, with a passing lane on eastbound. Photo taken 05/29/06.
Eastbound California 20 leaves Lake County and enters Colusa County at the top of this rise. The passing lane ends almost immediately after crossing the county line. Photo taken 05/29/06.

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Page Updated January 1, 2008.