California 88

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California 88

This California 88 west reassurance shield is posted after the split from California 89 south of Luther Pass, east of Carson Pass, and northwest of Woodfords. Photo taken 09/05/10.

Routing

California 88 is a major east-west highway that provides a third crossing over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While most other two-lane highways (California 108, California 120, California 4, and others) close each winter, California 88 remains open all winter except during the worst snowstorms. As a result, California 88 is a good alternative to the other all-weather routes that cross the Sierra Nevada, such as U.S. 50 and Interstate 80.

Starting in Stockton at its junction with California 99, California 88 travels through the communities of Victor, Ione, and Jackson. As it passes each town, California 88 gradually leaves the Central Valley, enters the foothills, and begins to ascend the Sierra Nevada. After passing by Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, the town of Pioneer, and the entrance into El Dorado National Forest, California 88 leaves the foothills and enters the mountains, with Kirkwood Ski Resort located near Carson Pass. The trip down after the pass is sudden and dramatic, as the route then weaves east to join California 89 through Woodfords, then connects to Nevada 88 en route to Minden-Gardnerville. Nevada 88 ends at its junction with U.S. 395.

Alternate U.S. 50

A portion of California 88 (between the intersection with Mormon Emigrant Trail and California 89) over the Carson Pass is also designated as Alternate U.S. 50 for emergency purposes. Signage for the alternate/detour route is generally covered up except when U.S. 50 through the American River Canyon is closed. During times when mainline U.S. 50 is closed, travelers may use California 88 in lieu of U.S. 50 during times of floods or landslides in the American River Canyon. (Note that the segment of Alternate U.S. 50 along Mormon Emigrant Trail may be closed in winter, so its use as an alternative to U.S. 50 during that time period can be mitigated unless one uses California 99, California 12, and California 88 as a complete alternative to U.S. 50.)

History

California 88 has had its signed designation intact since at least the early 1940s. However, there was a period prior to that (during the 1930s) where California 88 was signed as California 8 between California 49 near Jackson east to the California-Nevada State Line. We have a scan of a picture that shows a blurry image of a California 8 route marker near Woodfords Junction in the photo guide below. Former California 8 is perhaps more commonly known as the former designation for today's California 26, which had its designation changed when Interstate 8 was created as a legislatively designated route in 1964.

Highway Guide

California 88 west
Leaving the Silver State of Nevada and entering the Golden State of California (leaving Douglas County and entering Alpine County), westbound Nevada 88 transitions directly onto California 88. From here, California 88 follows the Carson River almost due south toward Woodfords. Some maps depict the segment of California 88 between the Nevada-California State Line south to Woodfords as sharing alignment of California 4, but the route is signed only as California 88. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Advisory signs, such as this one located along westbound California 88 after the Nevada State Line provide motorist information about whether certain mountain passes are closed for the winter or temporarily closed due to storm conditions. This particular sign profiles California 4 west (Ebbetts Pass), California 88 west (Carson Pass), and California 89 north/south (Luther and Monitor Passes). Carson Pass is normally kept open throughout the winter, but it can see closures in difficult weather situations. Photos taken 07/20/09.
The first California 88 reassurance shield is posted shortly thereafter. California 88 from here south to Woodfords and then west toward Carson Pass is part of California's state scenic highway system. Photo taken 07/20/09.
A variable (changeable) message sign advises motorists along westbound California 88 of potential weather and traffic concerns, especially as they relate to mountain passes. Since all routes ahead (California 88, California 4, and California 89 north/south) require a trip over a mountain pass, this sign can inform if the trip will result in turning around and returning back from where one came. Photo taken 07/20/09.
A California Agricultural Inspection advisory sign is posted on California 88 west shortly thereafter. This is a lot of information to absorb in a quick drive past this sign. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Another regulatory sign provides information for the operation of buses and trucks in California. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next intersection along California 88 west is with Fredericksburg Road (Lane) west to Foothill Road for local and ranch access. California 88 continues almost due south. Photo taken 07/20/09.

California 88 continues south with two lanes, one in each direction. Passing is generally permitted along this section of state highway. The Sierra Nevada rise in the distance. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Westbound California 88 next approaches River Ranch Road east (to Chambers Lane) and Emigrant Trail west. Emigrant Trail is an alternate route to California 88, and it rejoins the state highway near Woodfords. Photo taken 07/20/09.
During winter storm events, California 88 may be closed or restricted to vehicles with snow chains or snow tires. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next intersection along California 88 west is with Diamond Valley Road south and Foothill Road west. An old alignment of California 88 departs at this intersection by following Diamond Valley Road south to Old California 88/Carson River Road south. Photo taken 07/20/09.
California 88 turns southwest toward Woodfords, and the morning sun angle improves. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Some segments of California 88 are straight as an arrow. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Watch for wildlife along California 88 during the dawn and dusk hours. Photo taken 07/20/09.
In the distance ahead is Hawkins Peak (elevation 10,024 feet above sea level, straight ahead) and Cary Peak (elevation 8,727 feet above sea level, right of highway). Photo taken 07/20/09.
Westbound California 88 enters Toiyabe National Forest. The majority of this forest is located in the state of Nevada, but portions spill over into California in the Eastern Sierra. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Closing in on Woodfords, this sign along westbound California 88 advises that the next passing lane will be two miles ahead. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Ahead is a Toiyabe National Forest visitors center, which offers tourist information for local attractions such as hiking, fishing, and camping. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next right turn from California 88 west is with Emigrant Trail. Photo taken 07/20/09.
California 88 turns south again between Emigrant Trail and Carson River Road. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Westbound California 88 approaches Carson River Road (Old California 88) north at the next intersection. Photo taken 07/20/09.
California 88 enters the unincorporated community of Woodfords. Dating back to the days of the Pony Express, Woodfords today is a roadside settlement about six miles north of the Alpine County seat of Markleeville and is the point where California 88 will meet California 89. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next major intersection along California 88 west is with California 89 south and California 4 west to Markleeville. From Markleeville, California 4 travels west across Ebbetts Pass to Angels Camp, while California 89 proceeds east to U.S. 395 near Topaz Lake. Ahead, California 88 west and California 89 north travel west toward Carson Pass. In summer, California 89 continues north over Luther Pass to meet U.S. 50 in Meyers en route to all Lake Tahoe destinations. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next right connects California 88 with Old Pony Express Road (old alignment to serve Woodfords). Photo taken 07/20/09.
To the Alpine County seat of Markleeville turn south on California 89 and California 4. Most motorist services are available in Markleeville, as well as Grover Hot Springs State Park for a nice relaxing soak in hot springs. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Turn left here to follow California 4 west and California 89 south to Markleeville. Continue straight to follow California 88 west and California 89 north to Carson Pass and Lake Tahoe. While California 4 technically ends at its intersection with California 89 southeast of Markleeville, it is signed all the way to California 88 to provide motorist guidance for those driving to Ebbetts Pass. Photo taken 07/20/09.
A flashing beacon governs the flow of traffic between California 4-89, California 88, and California 88-89 in Woodfords. Photo taken 07/20/09.
This view looks west past California 88 and Old Pony Express Road to the houses and rock wall in Woodfords (an old Pony Express station). Photos taken 07/20/09.
California 88 west and California 89 north
This reassurance shield assembly for California 88 west and California 89 north is posted after the intersection with California 4-89 in Woodfords. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Westbound California 88 and northbound California 89 approaches the other end of Old Pony Express Road; we are now leaving Woodfords and will follow the West Fork of the Carson River through the Toiyabe National Forest. The sheer cliffs of Cary Peak dominate the view looking up. Photo taken 07/20/09.
This mileage sign along California 88 west and California 89 north provides the distance to Silver Lake (26 miles via California 88 west), Lake Tahoe (26 miles via California 89 north), and Jackson (79 miles via California 88 west). Photo taken 07/20/09.
Another reminder of the upcoming passing lane is posted shortly after the mileage sign. Photo taken 07/20/09.
A chain up area is provided on the shoulder of the state highway. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Tall trees and granite cliffs dominate the view along the West Carson River in Toiyabe National Forest. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Looking up are more granite cliffs leading down from Cary Peak. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next left turn from California 88-89 west is Crystal Springs Road. Continue straight ahead to the Crystal Springs campground. Photo taken 07/20/09.
A passing lane begins after the Crystal Springs Road intersection. Photo taken 07/20/09.
However, the passing lane is short and ends quickly. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The majesty of the Sierra Nevada continues to unfold as California 88 west and California 89 north prepare to cross over the West Fork of the Carson River. Photo taken 07/20/09.
California 88 west and California 89 north cross over the West Fork Carson River. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next left from California 88 west and California 89 north leads to the Crystal Springs national forest campground. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Another passing lane is found along California 88 west and California 89 north. Photo taken 07/20/09.
No traffic is to be found on this summer's morning in this beautiful canyon. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Rows of evergreen trees (firs and pines) line the ridges of the Sierra Nevada. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Aspens, which offer verdant greens in summer and startling yellows in fall, line California 88-89 as we proceed west. Within this stretch, we again cross over the West Fork Carson River. Photos taken 07/20/09.
Journeying through the canyon, California 88-89 offer stunning views of the two sets of mountains carved by the West Fork Carson River. Campgrounds along this stretch include Snowshoe Springs and Kit Carson. Photos taken 07/20/09.
Westbound California 88 and northbound California 89 cross over the West Fork of the Carson River again, this time with old bridge railing to boot. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The next left ahead is the turnoff to Sorensen's Resort, which features close access to Lake Tahoe via California 89 north as well as hiking and fishing. Photo taken 07/20/09.
The routes divide shortly thereafter. Continue straight to follow California 88 west to Carson Pass, Silver Lake, and Jackson. Turn right ahead to follow California 89 over Luther Pass to Meyers and Lake Tahoe. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A second guide sign includes more destinations as well as the left turn to Burnside Lakes Road. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Both California 88 west and California 89 north are truck routes. In the distance is a mileage sign for California 88, which is also signed as Alternate U.S. 50 (see the white blur next to the green blur where the shields are above the mileage guide sign?). This designation, which is sporadically signed, follows California 89 from Meyers to this intersection, then turns west on California 88 west to National Forest Service Road 5/Mormon Emigrant Trail, rejoining U.S. 50 at Pollock Pines at Exit 60 (Junction County Route E-16/Sly Park Road). Photo taken 07/20/09.
This view looks west along Alternate U.S. 50 and California 88 west toward Carson Pass. Photo taken 07/20/09.
Alternate U.S. 50 and California 88 west
After the split from California 89, westbound Alternate U.S. 50 and California 88 begin their ascent toward Carson Pass. Alternate U.S. 50 is generally not signed except during conditions that warrant shifting U.S. 50 traffic over to the California 88 corridor (including road construction, landslides, traffic accidents, heavy volume, fires, floods, and storms). Photo taken 09/05/10.
The backside of this sign more clearly shows the shape of the Alternate U.S. 50 shield that was covered up. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A California 88 reassurance shield is posted soon thereafter. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 west cross over the West Fork of the Carson River. The state highway will travel southwest toward Round Top, then turn west to connect with Red Lake, Carson Pass, and Caples Lake. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A partially covered up sign is posted soon thereafter for Alternate U.S. 50, which is only signed when U.S. 50 itself is closed due to weather or emergency conditions. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 meet the intersection with Red Lake Vista Road, which connects to Red Lake. A small parking area is located here to see Red Lake. Carson Pass rises just west of this area. Red Lake Vista Road is notable for being an old alignment of California 88 from 1934 to 1972, when the modern road was constructed and opened to traffic. Photo taken 09/05/10.
During winter months, the area between Red Lake and Caples Lake is suspectable to avalanches, so signs are posted along this section of westbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 closing the shoulders to parked cars and pedestrians. California 88 continues to gain elevation as it proceeds toward Carson Pass (elevation 8,574 feet above sea level). Photos taken 09/05/10.
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 ascend toward Carson Pass (elevation 8,574 feet above sea level) by skirting the northern edge of Red Lake and gaining a passing lane traffic to pass slower vehicles on the steep upgrade. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Soon thereafter, California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 reach Carson Pass (elevation 8,574 feet above sea level). A parking area and ranger station area located on the south side of the state highway at Carson Pass, offering views of the surrounding mountains and high-altitude vistas. Some interpretive panels are also located here, including a monument to Snowshoe Thompson. At this point, California 88 leaves Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and enters El Dorado National Forest. Photos taken 09/05/10.
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 descend from Carson Pass through El Dorado National Forest. The state highway passes by the Woods Lake recreational area, then proceeds toward Caples Lake. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Continuing its descent from Carson Pass, westbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 approaches and passes alongside Caples Lake and then crosses the dam that holds back the reservoir. The historic Caples Lake Resort is located at the west end of Caples Lake. Recreational opportunities are available both in summer and winter. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Now below Caples Lake, California 88 descends alongside Caples Creek toward Kirkwood within El Dorado National Forest. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 approaches the historic Kirkwood Inn, which first opened in 1864 as "Kirkwood Station" and sits at the intersection of Alpine, Amador, and El Dorado Counties. California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 leave Alpine County and enter Amador County. The state highway will generally follow the county boundary between Amador County and El Dorado County as we continue southwest along California 88. Turn left along Kirkwood Meadows Road (not shown but is located after the Kirkwood Inn) to Kirkwood Ski Resort. We pass through another avalanche danger area as we again ascend toward the Carson Spur (elevation 7,970 feet above sea level). Photos taken 09/05/10.
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 reach the Carson Spur (elevation 7,970 feet above sea level). This section of highway is rather winding with steep grades. Upon connecting with Carson Spur, California 88 descends again toward Silver Lake in a southerly direction. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 meets the turnoff to Silver Lake, which is briefly visible from the state highway. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 west meets the turnoff to Plasse Road south to Plasse's Resort. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Here, westbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 approaches Tragedy Spring Road, which is an old alignment of California 88. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A panoramic view of distant Sierra Nevada peaks is available by looking from the westbound lanes of California 88. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Downhill passing lanes allow motorists along California 88 west some room to pass slow moving vehicles. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 prepare to split at Mormon Emigrant Trail. Turn right onto Mormon Emigrant Trail to follow Alternate U.S. 50 west back to its parent route at Pollock Pines. Alternate U.S. 50/Mormon Emigrant Trail will follow Iron Mountain Ridge toward Jenkinson Lake, then turns north along El Dorado County Route E-16/Sly Park Road for the final distance to U.S. 50 at Pollock Pines. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A turnout for slower vehicles is located near the Mormon Emigrant Trail intersection. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 split at the intersection with Mormon Emigrant Trail. Alternate U.S. 50/Mormon Emigrant Trail travels west to Jenkinson Lake and Pollock Pines. During winter, Mormon Emigrant Trail is typically closed to through traffic, making Alternate U.S. 50 only a true alternate route during summer (and negating its benefit if U.S. 50 is closed for any period of time during winter). Meanwhile, all-weather California 88 will again aim southwest toward Bear River Reservoir, Ham's Station, and Cooks Station en route to Jackson. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 west
Traveling southwest and in places almost due south, westbound California 88/Carson Pass Highway lowers to 7,000 feet above sea level and meets the access road to the local Caltrans Maintenance Station at Peddler's Hill. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Peddler's Hill Vista Point is located a bit further south of the maintenance station. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Turn left at the wide turnout for interpretive panels and outstanding views at the Peddler's Hill Vista Point. No restroom or ranger facilities are available here. Between 1950-1972, the Peddler Hill Ski Area was located directly behind you, across the highway. This overlook was the farthest point east that the state plowed snow until 1972 when Kirkwood Ski Area, located 20 miles east, opened. At that time, Peddler Hill Ski Area closed. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Descending downhill from Peddler's Hill, westbound California 88 approaches the turnoff to Bear River Reservoir. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 proceeds southwest from Bear River Reservoir toward Ham's Station, with the highway's elevation dropping below 6,000 feet above sea level. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Soon thereafter, westbound California 88 enters the community of Ham's Station, which was settled in 1879 and has a restaurant and store. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Continuing downhill, westbound California 88 next enters the small community of Cooks Station, which was settled in 1863 and has a restaurant and store. The highway elevation drops about 1,000 feet in elevation between Ham's Station and Cooks Station. Photos taken 09/05/10.
As is common practice along California's high mountain highways, speed limit signs are in place for lowered speed limits during tire chain requirements as part of a snowstorm. This speed limit sign is posted along California 88 near Cooks Station. Photo taken 09/05/10.
West of Cooks Station, California 88 approaches a major intersection with Omo Ranch Road. At this intersection, turn right on Omo Ranch Road west to Pipi Ranch, Omo Ranch, and Caldor. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Continuing west, California 88 resumes its trek downhill toward Jackson. Passing lanes are in place in both directions to allow motorists to pass slower vehicles. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 approaches Dew Drop Road, which is an old alignment of the state highway that was bypassed to avoid a sharp curve in the road. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Quickly thereafter, westbound California 88 approaches the turnoff to Shake Ridge Road, which travels west to Sutter Creek. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Continuing west, California 88 sees ever-increasing more development as it proceeds southwest through the national forest. A ranger station is located at the intersection of California 88 at Silver Drive. Photo taken 09/05/10.
West of Pioneer, California 88 west approaches the turnoff to Pioneer Volcano Road. Turn right onto Pioneer Volcano Road north to Black Chasm Cavern National Landmark, which is privately operated and has paid tours. In addition, Pioneer Volcano Road proceeds north to the community of Volcano. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Soon thereafter, westbound California 88 meets the turnoff to California 26 west. Initially, California 26 actually travels east/south along Red Corral Road en route to West Point, then turns south to Sandy Gulch and then southwest from there to Mokelumne Hill. California 26 is longer, slower alternative from this point west to Stockton. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Continuing west, California 88 approaches the turnoff to Aqueduct Volcano Road. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 enters the unincorporated community of Pine Grove. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 approaches Pine Grove Volcano Road, which travels northeast toward Volcano. Photo taken 09/05/10.
At the other end of Pine Grove, westbound California 88 approaches its junction with California 104/Ridge Road, which travels west to Sutter Creek. California 104 is unsigned between California 88 and California 49. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Use California 104 west to Sutter Creek or proceed west along California 88 to Jackson. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Prior to entering the city of Jackson, westbound California 88 approaches Dalton Road, which connects to the Jackson Rancheria casino. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 enters the city of Jackson ("Preserving our Past, Enriching our Present, Building our Future"). Jackson had a population of 4,651 as of the 2010 Census and sits at an elevation of 4,651 feet above sea level. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Once in the city limits, California 88 connects with Mission Boulevard and Broadway en route to California 49 south. An erroneous U.S. 49 sign was in place here when we passed through in 2010; it should have been a California 49 sign. Photo taken 09/05/10.
A bit further west, California 88/Carson Pass Highway approaches Broadway (Historic California 49). Turn right for Broadway into historic downtown Jackson. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Immediately after the intersection with Broadway, westbound California 88/Carson Pass Highway meets California 49, which is known as the Mother Lode Highway and the Golden Chain Highway. Turn left for California 49 south to San Andreas, Angels Camp, and Sonora. Turn right for California 49 north to Placerville and California 88 west to Stockton. Photos taken 09/05/10.
California 88 west and California 49 north
After crossing the Sierra Nevada and descending into Jackson, westbound California 88 and northbound California 49 meet and share alignment briefly. The two routes merge through the city center, then split. From there, California 49 continues north to Placerville along the Gold Country Highway. California 88 continues to ascend the foothills as it heads toward Carson Pass (elevation 8,573 feet). Photo taken 09/05/10.
The next right connects California 49-88 with Main Street into the historic heart of the city of Jackson. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88 west
Skipping ahead well west of Jackson, California 88 leaves Amador County and enters San Joaquin County. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Westbound California 88 approaches Liberty Road. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Near the Liberty Road intersection, California 88 will pass under a Pacific Gas & Electric power line that was originally constructed to 500kV standards but functions as a double-circuit 230kV structure. This line travels north to the dormant Rancho Seco nuclear power generating station. Photo taken 09/05/10.
California 88-104 west
California 88 west
California 12-88 west
California 88 west

California 88 east
California 12-88 east
California 88 east
California 88-104 east
California 88 east
California 88 east and California 49 south
California 88 east
California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 east
After the Mormon Emigrant Trail intersection, this mileage sign is posted along eastbound California 88 and (mostly unsigned) Alternate U.S. 50. The covered up part of the sign has a set of banners and shield for "ALTERNATE U.S. 50 EAST." The other mileage for the return to U.S. 50 is also covered up. Aside from that, this sign shows the distance to the junction with California 89 and the distance to South Lake Tahoe. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Here is a close-up of the same Alternate U.S. 50 sign on eastbound California 88. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Eastbound California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 leaves El Dorado National Forest and enters Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at Carson Pass. A small visitors center is located at Carson Pass, along with several viewpoints and points of interest. Photo taken 09/05/10.
This view looks east from the west end of Red Lake Vista Road. A small turnout is located here to view the Sierra Nevada and Caples Lake. Photo taken 09/05/10.
Nearing the junction with California 89, this sign is posted on California 88 and Alternate U.S. 50 east. Turn left for Alternate U.S. 50 east and California 89 north to South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City, and Truckee via Luther Pass. Continue straight ahead for California 88 east and California 89 south to Markleeville and Minden-Gardnerville. Photos taken 09/05/10.
California 88 east and California 89 south
Eastbound California 88 and southbound California 89 split at this intersection in Woodfords. Turn right (south) here for California 4-89 south to Markleeville, or continue straight for California 88 east and north to Minden-Gardnerville in Nevada. Photo taken 07/20/09.
California 88 east
This reassurance shield for California 88 east is posted in Woodfords after the California 4-89 intersection. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Eastbound California 88 meets Carson River Road, which is an old alignment of California 88 that parallels the state highway on the southeast side closer to the Carson River. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Soon thereafter, California 88 east approaches Emigrant Trail, which also parallels California 88 on the northwest side of the state highway. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Leaving the shadow of Cary Peak, eastbound California 88 finds sunshine and the remains of late-day thunderstorms hovering over the distant Pine Nut Mountains on the east side of the Carson Valley. Ahead, California 88 turns north into the Carson Valley, then enters the state of Nevada. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Eastbound California 88 meets Foothill Road (left) and Diamond Valley Road (right). Diamond Valley Road travels southeast then southwest via a Washoe Indian Reservation to return to California 4-89 north of Markleeville. Photo taken 07/18/09.
As California 88 turns north, the sprawling Carson Valley comes into view. Pastoral and agricultural, it is a very productive farming area that also contains the cities of Minden and Gardnerville. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Eastbound California 88 approaches Emigrant Trail southwest and River Ranch Road to Carson River Road. Photo taken 07/18/09.
This view looks east across a grazing field in the Carson Valley. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Northbound California 88 approaches Fredericksburg Road. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Another pastoral view looks east from California 88 north. Photo taken 07/18/09.
California 88 approaches the state line with Nevada. A series of signs in the other direction warn of traffic/weather conditions and provide regulatory guidance for incoming traffic to the Golden State. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Northbound California 88 leaves the Golden State of California (Alpine County) and enters the Silver State of Nevada and Douglas County (population 41,259 as of the 2000 Census). At this point, California 88 becomes Nevada 88, one of the rare instances where a California state route retains its route number upon entering a neighboring state. Photo taken 07/18/09.
Scenes Pertaining to California 88
This photo shows a C monument located near Silver Lake, at an elevation of 7,300 feet above sea level. C monuments (also called C-blocks) were used to mark the right-of-way for California highways in the earlier days of establishing highway corridors in California. These blocks are generally not used in modern highway construction, but remnant blocks remain in place, especially on long-standing alignments of state highway. Photo taken 06/16/01 by Joel Windmiller.
This series of pictures looks north at Red Lake, which is located between Red Lake Vista Road and California 88. On the northern shore of Red Lake is California 88. An interpretive panel is also found at the Red Lake observation area. Photos taken 09/05/10.
A bit further west (and closer to Carson Pass), these pictures show the view looking south and west from the west end of Red Lake Vista Road near California 88. Another interpretive panel is found at the observation area here. Photos taken 09/05/10.
A ranger station/visitor interpretive center is located at Carson Pass, the highest point along California 88 and Nevada 88. Inside the visitors center is a timeline depicting the history of travel over Carson Pass, including some older pictures of California 88 at the apex. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Also at Carson Pass is an obelisk commemorating Snowshoe Thompson, a postman named Jon Torsteinson (John A. Thompson). Snowshoe Thompson delivered the mail using cross-country skis to trek across deep snow back between 1856 and 1876. His route included the territory between Genoa, Nevada, and Placerville, California (eventually with an additional route to Virginia City, Nevada).1 The granite obelisk is California Landmark #378. Photos taken 09/05/10.
Tragedy Spring Road is an old alignment of California 88. Along this road is a picnic area/turnout for Tragedy Spring, which sits at an elevation of 7,907 feet above sea level. A short walk takes visitors to the actual spring. Three Mormon pioneers were killed on this site in 1848; plaques and memorials on site tell the tale. Look on the ground for grave markers for the three pioneers slain here. Photos taken 09/05/10.
A vista point at Peddler Hill offers stellar mountain scenery as well as interpretive panels that describe the history of the roadway as well as the former ski area located near here. To the southwest of here is Bear River Reservoir, which is located southwest of here along California 88. Photos taken 09/05/10.
These five postcard images, scanned courtesy of Joel Windmiller (The Highwayman), present various historical images of California 88 over Carson Pass and in the Eastern Sierra. The first three pictures show original signage placed at Carson Pass and illustrated in various historical postcards and pictures. The fourth pictures shows the Old Carson Bridge, and the last picture looks at Woodfords Junction back when California 4 and California 8 (now California 88) met at this location. Photos added 08/23/12 courtesy of Joel Windmiller.

Footnotes:

  1. Jon "Snowshoe Thompson" Torsteinson by Lester Letson on June 13, 2008. Snowshoe Thompson is permanently interred at Genoa Cemetery in Genoa, Nevada (in the Carson Valley west of Nevada 88 and U.S. 395). This is Find A Grave Memorial #27519879.

Back to California 87 Return to the California Gateway Continue to California 89
Continue north onto Nevada 88 Go to the Nevada Gateway

Page Updated August 23, 2012.