California 33

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California 33

This California 33 reassurance route marker is posted along northbound Santa Nella Boulevard just after Interstate 5 Exit 407 in the unincorporated community of Santa Nella. Photo taken 04/06/12.

Routing

California 33 connects U.S. 101 at Ventura with Interstate 5 near Vernalis and Tracy. The highway begins in Ventura as a freeway, but it quickly changes to a rural character as it ascends the San Rafael Mountains near Ojai. California 33 descends into the great Central Valley, and it quickly becomes a parallel route to Interstate 5, serving such communities as Maricopa, Taft, Avenal, Coalinga, Mendota, Los Banos, and Patterson. California 33 ends its lengthy journey at its junction with Interstate 5 just south and east of Tracy.

History

This is very historic state route, following most of what was U.S. 399 prior to 1964 between Ventura and Taft. (U.S. 399 peeled off California 33 and shifted onto California 119 en route to Bakersfield, while California 33 proceeds north on its original alignment toward Tracy.) When U.S. 399 was decommissioned, the portion of its route from Taft southward was added as an extension to California 33.

Highway Guide

California 33 north
This mileage sign is found on California 33 north after the U.S. 101 interchange. Ojai (Junction California 150) is south of the coastal mountains, while Maricopa and Taft are in the Central Valley. Photo taken 06/02/02.
A bit further north, California 33 approaches Exit 2, Stanley Avenue. Photo taken 06/02/02.
The next exit along northbound California 33 is Exit 3, Canada Larga Road. Photo taken 06/02/02.
Continuing north, the next exit along California 33 is Exit 4, Casitas Vista Road. Photo taken 06/02/02.
Northbound California 33 approaches the end of its brief freeway segment near Exit 4. After passing through Ojai, the traffic counts will reduce to a point where a continuation of this freeway north through the Los Padres National Forest is impractical (not to mention very costly!). Photo taken 06/02/02.
Northbound California 33 at Pine Mountain Pass in the Los Padres National Forest, elevation 5,080 feet. Photo taken 01/21/04.
View of the descent from Pine Mountain Pass to Ventucopa. Photo taken 01/21/04.

The Cuyama River follows a very wide path alongside California 33, indicating previous floods and largest rain events have widened out this channel to nearly its fullest capacity. At the time this picture was taken, there was not much water in the river. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Northbound California 33 exits the Los Padres National Forest. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 north and California 166 east
Northbound California 33 and eastbound California 166 meet Cerro Noroeste, which leads southeast into the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge and then east toward Pine Mountain and Frazier Park. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Shields for northbound California 33 and eastbound California 166 as they approach Soda Lake Road and the turn off for Carrizo Plains National Monument. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Northbound California 33 and eastbound California 166 at Soda Lake Road, which leads west into Carrizo Plains National Monument. This monument, which was created by President Clinton's executive order, is an isolated valley formed by the San Andreas Fault. Indeed, California 33-166 pass over the fault near here. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Northbound California 33 meets California 166 in Maricopa. This rugged yet isolated area is a good distance from any major city. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
California 33 north meets California 119 east in Taft. At this point, California 33 departs from U.S. 399. California 119 follows Old U.S. 399 northeast toward Pumpkin Center and Maricopa. Photos taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
California 33 north
California 33 north and California 166 east
California 33 north
California 33 north and California 58 east
California 33 north
California 33 north and California 198 east
In downtown Coalinga, we find this California 33 north and California 198 east reassurance shield assembly on northbound Elm Avenue at Fifth Street. Photos taken 01/02/05.
California 33 north
Interstate 5 and California 33 north
California 33 north
Northbound California 33 approaches the junction with California 180 east in Mendota. These signs are behind the Burger King in relation to the END California 180 shield shown on the California 180 page. This marks the current western terminus of California 180. Photo taken by Trevor Carrier, 04/20/02.
California 33 north and California 152 west
California 33 north
California 33 travels through a series of gas stations, restaurants, and hotels in the vicinity of the Interstate 5 interchange in Santa Nella (Interchange 407). Photo taken 04/06/12.
This reassurance shield for California 33 is posted along California 33 north in Santa Nella, just north of the Interstate 5 interchange (Exit 407). An END truck route sign is posted below the green reassurance route marker. Photos taken 04/06/12.
California 33 north and California 140 east
California 33 north
Much further north, this END California 33 shield assembly is found on northbound California 33 at Junction Interstate 5 near Vernalis, just south of Tracy. The interchange marks the northern terminus of one of the longest state routes in California. Photo taken by Trevor Carrier, 10/20/01.
California 33 south
California 33 south and California 140 west
California 33 south
California 33 south and California 152 east
Southbound California 33 and eastbound California 152 meet Interstate 5 south six miles west of Los Banos. Photo taken 12/01/02.
California 33 and California 152 cross the California Aqueduct just east of Interstate 5. Photo taken 12/01/02.
These shields for California 33 south and California 152 east are posted after the California Aqueduct. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Southbound California 33 and eastbound California 152 cross the Delta-Mendota Canal between Interstate 5 and Los Banos. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Southbound California 33 and eastbound California 152 enter Los Banos. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Expressway entrance signage for California 33 and California 152 near Santa Nella village. First photo taken by Trevor Carrier, 10/20/01; second photo taken by Trevor Carrier, 10/19/02.
Southbound California 33 and eastbound California 152 approach the intersection with California 165 near downtown Los Banos. Photo taken 12/01/02.
The routes divide: California 33 south and California 152 east approaches the split at the Dos Palos Y interchange. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Southbound California 33 and Eastbound California 152 at the split at the Dos Palos Y interchange. California 152 continues east from here to connect to California 99 at Chowchilla, while California 33 turns south to serve the Central Valley farming communities of Dos Palos and Mendota (the cantaloupe capital of the world). Photo taken 12/01/02.
This shield assembly for the expressway entrance to California 33 and California 152 is located near Dos Palos. Photo taken by Trevor Carrier, 2004.
California 33 south
Southbound California 33 approaches Hudson Avenue between Dos Palos and Firebaugh in Fresno County. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Southbound California 33 enters Firebaugh. Photo taken 12/01/02.
View along southbound California 33 between Firebaugh and Mendota. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Mendota, the next city along California 33 south, is known as the cantaloupe capital of the world. Photo taken 12/01/02.
Interstate 5 and California 33 south
California 33 south
Leaving Interstate 5 north of Coalinga, California 33 again follows its own alignment, traveling south through rural farmland and ranchland en route to the city of Coalinga. A 500kV power line crosses over California 33 between the Interstate 5 interchange and California 198 east intersection. Part of the electric transmission infrastructure across the state of California from north to south, this line is owned by the Western Area Power Administration and is part of Path 66, bypassing the Pacific Gas & Electric 500kV power line corridor (Path 15). It was brought into service in 2004. Photos taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 approaches Coalinga-Mendota Road, which is the original alignment of California 33 before it was transferred onto Interstate 5 between Exits 337 and 349. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A California 33 south reassurance shield is posted shortly thereafter. This stretch of California 33 was briefly part of a business route from Interstate 5, but no signs remained when we visited (as it is likely to be decommissioned). Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 approaches its junction with California 198 east to Lemoore, Hanford, and Visalia (left turn). Ahead, California 33 south and California 198 west will proceed into Coalinga. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 198 is major east-west arterial that stretches across the Central Valley. The highway includes freeway sections as it bypasses Lemoore and Hanford. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 south and California 198 west share alignment from here south into Coalinga. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 south and California 198 west
This mileage sign provides the distance to Coalinga (nine miles) via California 33 south and California 198 west as well as King City (68 miles via California 198 west and U.S. 101 north) and Taft (99 miles south via California 33). Photo taken 01/02/05.
Now in downtown Coalinga, California 33/Elm Avenue south and California 198 west prepare to split. Continue straight ahead for California 198 west to San Lucas and King City. Turn left here for California 33/Fifth Street south to Taft as well as a connection to Interstate 5 south to Los Angeles. California 33 will follow Fifth Street for several blocks, then turn east along Polk Street to leave the city. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 south
California 33 only follows Fifth Street for a short distance in downtown Coalinga. At the southern end of Fifth Street, this trailblazer shield advises that California 33 will turn left to follow Polk Street east to leave the city. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Another California 33 route marker is posted on Polk Street right after the shift from Fifth Street. A companion trailblazer for Interstate 5 is also posted. At one time, this stretch of Polk Street was considered part of a very long business loop connection from Interstate 5, but the business loop signs have since disappeared, and all that remain are trailblazers to the Interstate. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Pacific Gas & Electric power lines flank either side of California 33 as we proceed east along Jayne Avenue, which took over from Polk Street after leaving the city limits of Coalinga. Farmland once again rolls on either side of the state highway. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 splits from Jayne Avenue at this intersection. Turn right to follow California 33/Alpine Avenue south to Avenal, McKittrick, Taft, Ojai, and Ventura. Continue straight ahead for former Business Loop I-5 and Jayne Avenue east to Interstate 5 and Stratford (with a connection via California 41 north). Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 resumes its southbound trek, now following Alpine Avenue south of Coalinga. The highway initially passes through some farmland but eventually will enter less fertile foothills before reaching Avenal. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A 500kV Pacific Gas & Electric power line passes over California 33, along with a 230kV power line. The 500kV power line brings nuclear power generated at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station onto the statewide power grid, connecting with Path 15 at a major substation located east of Coalinga visible from Interstate 5. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Now in Kings County, California 33 enters the city of Avenal ("Oasis in the Sun"). Sitting at an elevation of 807 feet above sea level, Avenal had a population of 15,505 as of the 2010 Census. Like its neighbor Taft to the south, Avenal owes its existence to the oil discoveries of the late 1920s and 1930s. While the oil boom diminished in years to come, Avenal saw agriculture remain a primary economic driver, along with the state prison that opened in 1987. The city did not incorporate until September 11, 1979. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 approaches the turnoff to eastbound Kings Street (left turn), which connects California 33 to the central business district of Avenal. California 33 avoids most of Avenal by staying to the west of most of the developed area. The Avenal Airport is located on the west side of California 33. Photo taken 01/02/05.
The next major intersection along California 33 south is California 269, which travels north through Avenal along Skyline Boulevard to meet Interstate 5 at Exit 319. From there, California 269 follows Lassen Avenue north through Huron to end at California 145 at Five Points. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A California 33 south reassurance shield is posted after the intersection with California 269 in Avenal. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Passing again through rural lands, southbound California 33 may see possible seasonal flooding. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 approaches Utica Avenue, which travels east to connect with California 41 north en route to Kettleman City and Fresno. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A California 33 shield is posted along southbound after the Utica Avenue intersection. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Several miles south, southbound California 33 approaches its junction with California 41, which travels northeast to Kettleman City and Fresno and southwest to Cholame, Shandon, Atascadero, and Paso Robles. California 33 proceeds south along the Westside Highway toward McKittrick and Taft. Photos taken 01/02/05.
South of the California 41 intersection, southbound California 33 leaves Kings County and enters Kern County. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 proceeds south through sparsely populated rural terrain between the county line and the California 46 intersection. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33/Westside Highway approaches its junction with California 46, which travels east to Lost Hills, Wasco, and Famoso and west to Paso Robles and Cambria. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A two-way stop sign governs the flow of traffic between California 33/Westside Highway and California 46/Paso Robles Highway. Photo taken 01/02/05.
This mileage sign along California 33/Westside Highway south provides the distance to McKittrick (Junction California 58, 25 miles), Taft (Junction California 119, 42 miles), and Maricopa (Junction California 166, 48 miles). Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33/Westside Highway proceeds flat and straight through rural ranchland in western Kern County. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33/Westside Highway approaches Lerdo Highway, which travels east to Shafter (26 miles). Photo taken 01/02/05.
Continuing south, California 33/Westside Highway passes through a large oil field (Missouri Triangle) that comes to dominate the scenery on both sides of the state highway. Pipelines, oil derricks, tanks, and industrial facilities come into view on both sides of California 33. Much of the southern Central Valley is known for its oil reserves. Another large oil field is located just north of Bakersfield in Oildale. Photos taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33/Westside Highway approaches Lokern Road, which travels east to Buttonwillow (11 miles) and connects to California 58 east to Bakersfield. For California 58 west to Santa Margarita, continue south on California 33. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Another set of Pacific Gas & Electric power lines passes over California 33/Westside Highway. The 500kV power line travels between the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station and the Midway Substation near Buttonwillow. Photo taken 01/02/05.
A bit further south, another 500kV power line passes overhead. This line also connects the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station and the Midway Substation near Buttonwillow, but it takes a slightly different path. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 south and California 58 west
Southbound California 33 briefly merges with westbound California 58, and they pass through the small community of McKittrick during their brief cosigned stretch. California 33 spends a good amount of time merged with other routes, including California 150, California 166, California 152, and Interstate 5. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 and California 58 split here, with California 33 continuing south toward Taft and Ventura, while California 58 turns west toward California Valley, Carrizo Plain, and Santa Margarita. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 south
Between McKittrick and Taft, California 33 passes through more oil fields at Derby Acres and sees several power transmission lines. Nearby are several power generating facilities that feed into the power grid. Photos taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 enters the city of Taft, which is located at the intersection of California 33 and California 119 in the southwest corner of the Central Valley between Elk Hills and the Temblor Range. This sign has been replaced since this picture was taken. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33, which is known as Kern Street through Taft, widens to four lanes shortly after crossing the city limits, and motorist services (gas, food, lodging) appear on both sides of the street. The next traffic signal ahead is with Tenth Street. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Taft ("Energized for the Future") had a population of 9,327 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on November 7, 1910. The city has its history steeped in nearby oil fields, but the economy has benefitted from the construction of other power generating facilities that can connect to the nearby power grid at Buttonwillow's Midway substation. Photo taken 01/02/05.
California 33 south approaches Sixth Street. At this stop sign, turn left for a short cut to California 119 northeast to Bakersfield. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 passes through downtown Taft. Photo taken 01/21/04.
After the First Street intersection, California 33 leaves the central business district of Taft and splits from Kern Street. (Another short cut to California 119 east would be via east Kern Street.) Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 meets California 119 in Taft. Oddly, California 119 is not signed from California 33 south. Traffic from California 119 west will merge onto California 33 at the yield sign visible ahead. This intersection is the historic point where California 33 used to end, and U.S. 399 took over the rest of the route south to Ventura. U.S. 399 was eliminated in 1964 and is now part of California 33 south of Taft. Photos taken 01/02/05 and by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
Now south of Taft, California 33 sees rolling hills and more rugged terrain than seen north of Taft. The snow-capped Tranverse Ranges come into view. Photo taken 01/02/05.
Southbound California 33 enters the city of Maricopa, which was incorporated on July 25, 1911, and is located near the Midway-Sunset Oil Field. Maricopa had a population of 1,154 as of the 2010 census. Photos taken 01/02/05 and by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
In downtown Maricopa, southbound California 33 next approaches and meets California 166 at this stop sign. Turn left for California 166 east to Interstate 5 south to Los Angeles, or turn right for California 33 south to Ojai and Ventura and California 166 west to Santa Maria and Guadalupe. Photos taken 01/21/04 and by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
California 33 and California 166 meet at this intersection in Maricopa. The first photo is the mileage sign (note how Los Angeles traffic is directed to take California 166 east to Interstate 5) and the second photo shows the shields. Photos taken 01/02/05 and 01/21/04.
California 33 south and California 166 west
This road closure warning sign is located along southbound California 33 and westbound California 166 south of Maricopa and is used for seasonal closures required by extreme weather. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
This mileage sign is posted along southbound California 33 and westbound California 166 just outside of Maricopa. California 33 splits from California 166 and heads south to Ventura, while California 166 leads west to Santa Maria. From here, California 33 will enter the Los Padres National Forest, passing through some rugged yet scenic California territory before emerging in Ojai. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01 and 01/21/04.
These are the first confirming route markers along southbound California 33 and westbound California 166 south of Maricopa. Then run tandem for several miles before splitting east of New Cuyama and north of Ventucopa. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.
Southbound California 33 and westbound California 166 approach Cerro Noroeste Road. Photo taken 01/21/04.
After entering San Luis Obispo County, California 33-166 enter a headlights-required stretch. For California 33, headlights are required south over the summit until reaching Ojai. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 and California 166 split: California 33 turns south toward Ventucopa, Los Padres National Forest, Ojai, and Ventura. California 166 continues west toward Santa Maria and Guadalupe. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 south
California 33 briefly enters Santa Barbara County, passing through Ventucopa before reaching Ventura County. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Ventucopa, a community perhaps named for its distance from both Maricopa and Ventura, is the last gas along southbound until reaching Ojai. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Southbound California 33 enters Ventura County. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 has a very low average daily traffic count as it approaches Los Padres National Forest, but the traffic count is affected seasonally as there are ample recreational opportunities in the national forest. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 enters Los Padres National Forest. Once and for all, California 33 is finished with the flat and treeless expanses of the Central Valley and will ascend into the Transverse Ranges then descend toward the coast. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 hugs the east bank of the massive Cuyama River flood plain. With a lot of rain, this whole valley could flood. Photos taken 01/21/04.
Lockwood Valley Road leads east from California 33, emerging as Frazier Park Road when it meets Interstate 5 near the Kern-Los Angeles County Line. Photo taken 01/21/04.
This sign advises motorists of the Wheeler Gorge tunnels that are located south of Pine Mountain Pass and Sespe Gorge. The height and width of the two short tunnels is limited. Photo taken 01/21/04.
This view of southbound California 33 is afforded as the highway prepares to ascend Pine Mountain Summit. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 ascends from the Cuyama River basin up to Pine Mountain. Photos taken 01/21/04.
California 33 reaches the summit of Pine Mountain (elevation 5,080 feet), then begins its descent toward the Pacific Ocean. From here, California 33 heads southeast through Sespe Gorge, then crosses the Sespe River (see bridge, below) en route to the Wheeler Gorge. Photos taken 01/21/04.
Southbound California 33 reaches the Potrero Creek undercrossing. Photo taken 01/21/04.
These views of the Derby Dale Creek Bridge are found along southbound California 33. Photos taken 01/21/04.
This series of photos shows the Sespe Creek Bridge along southbound California 33. Photos taken 01/21/04.
California 33 approaches two tunnels that carry the highway under several mountain outcroppings after passing through Wheeler Gorge. This is indeed a far cry from the flat expanse of the Central Valley. Photo taken 01/21/04.
View of the first tunnel. These tunnels were constructed in 1931, as noted by the date stamp at the top of the tunnel bore. Photo taken 01/21/04.
View of the second tunnel. Constructed as part of U.S. 399, these tunnels provide access through the canyons in Los Padres National Forest as California 33 descends toward Ojai. Photo taken 01/21/04.
The white wooden guardrails are still in place on the bridges over Matilija Creek. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Again, California 33 passes over the North Fork of the Matilija Creek. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Southbound California 33 passes over Sheldon Canyon. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Southbound California 33 meets Cuyama Road and El Roblar Drive. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Finally reaching civilization after passing through the twists and turns of the mountains, California 33 enters Ojai, the smallest city in Ventura County with a population of 7,862 people as of the 2000 Census. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 south meets California 150 in Ojai. California 150 leads east through downtown Ojai, then meets California 126 in Santa Paula. California 33 and California 150 merge to head southwest toward Ventura and Santa Barbara. Photo taken 01/21/04.
This mileage sign along southbound California 33 and westbound California 150 provides the distance to Oak View, Ventura (via California 33), and Santa Barbara (via California 150). Photo taken 01/21/04.
View of southbound California 33 and westbound California 150 as they round a turn together. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Signage for the split between California 33 and California 150 southwest of Ojai. California 150 heads southwest to meet U.S. 101 east of Santa Barbara. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 and California 150 split at this intersection (Baldwin Road). California 33 continues south toward Ventura. Photo taken 01/21/04.
California 33 remains a safety corridor until reaching its freeway section midway between Ojai and Ventura. Photo taken 01/21/04.
Now on the freeway alignment, southbound California 33 reaches Exit 2, Stanley Avenue. Note that this is a left exit, which requires only one overpass rather than two. Stanley Avenue does not go west of this interchange. Photo taken 06/02/02.
The next exit along southbound California 33 is Exit 1, Junction U.S. 101. This marks the southern terminus of California 33. An end shield is present, and it is visible just beyond the sign bridge. Photo taken 06/02/02.
California 33 reaches its southern terminus at Exit 1, Junction U.S. 101/Ventura Freeway. U.S. 101 travels north (west) to Santa Barbara and south (east) to Los Angeles. Photo taken 06/02/02.
Scenes Pertaining to California 33
This California 33 freeway entrance shield assembly is posted near Casitas Springs (Exit 4). Photo taken 06/02/02.
This California 33 shield is posted at Fourth Street and Main in Taft. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller, 07/08/01.

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Page Updated September 16, 2012.