California 177 connects Interstate 10 with California 62 east of Joshua Tree National Park and the Coxcomb Mountains in western Riverside County north of Desert Center and east of Vidal Junction. There are no services along the route except near the Interstate 10 interchange.
The original road that today carries California 177 was constructed in support of the Colorado Aqueduct, which carries water from the Colorado River to Greater Los Angeles. The road (including all of California 177 and the eastern portion of California 62) was built by Metropolitan Water District between U.S. 60 in Desert Center and Earp (near the Colorado River). Construction began on February 20, 1933, and was completed on August 4, 1933.1
|California 177 north
|Beginning at the Interstate 10 interchange in Desert Center, these signs for Interstate 10 west are posted on northbound California 177 for the connections to Interstate 10 east to Indio and Phoenix or west to Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Pomona, and Los Angeles. Photos taken 01/17/05.
|We continue our journey north on California 177 after the Interstate 10 interchange in Desert Center. The "dip" warning sign posted here was also visible in the previous photograph. There are some limited facilities available at this interchange. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|California 177 is known as Rice Road, while unsigned Riverside County R-2 is known as Kaiser Road. The two routes split at the upcoming intersection. It appears that the newer signage no longer recognizes the county route designation. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|Northbound California 177 and Riverside County R-2 (unsigned) split here. Riverside County R-2 travels northwest to Lake Tamarisk and Eagle Mountain, where the highway ends. California 177 travels northeast from here toward California 62 and Granite Pass. The control points for northbound California 177 are Rice and Parker, both of which actually lie on California 62. California 177 only travels about 28 miles from end to end; California 62 east continues to Rice and Parker. Both California 177 and California 62 were built primarily to support the Colorado River Aqueduct, which follows the two state routes from near Parker (in Arizona on the Colorado River) southwest to the Chuckwalla Valley, then west toward the Coachella Valley. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|California 177 is only two lanes wide for its entire length, and the shoulders may be limited. However, the speed limit is 65 miles per hour, and passing is generally allowed. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|Joshua Tree National Park, which includes the Coxcomb Mountains that are seen in the distance, encompasses much of the distant mountain skyline. While California 177 skirts the eastern edge of the national park at certain locations, it stays outside of the park. Use California 177 north to California 62 west to access Joshua Tree National Park. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|All of California 177 lies in a valley, starting in the western edge of the Chuckwalla Valley and continuing northeast into the Palen Valley. The state route skirts the eastern edge of the Coxcomb Mountains and the western edge of Palen Dry Lake. As a result of these low-lying areas along California 177, nearly the entire route has been deemed a flash flood area. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|The second turn-off after the Riverside County R-2/Kaiser Road intersection is for Oasis Road. Oasis Road travels west to Lake Tamarisk, where it meets Riverside County R-2. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|After the 26.90-mile trip from Desert Center north, California 177 approaches its northern terminus at the junction with California 62. Follow California 62 west to Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, and Yucca Valley. Continue straight ahead to follow California 62 east to Vidal Junction and Parker, Arizona. Photo taken 02/25/06.
|At the northern end of California 177 is this end shield, which is posted at the intersection with California 62. Ahead, California 177 north transitions directly onto California 62 east. Photos taken 02/25/06.
|As California 177 ends, California 62 west turns left toward Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley. Continue straight ahead to follow California 62 east toward Parker, Arizona. Photo taken 02/25/06.
|California 177 south
|A survey postmile is located along southbound California 177 after the California 62 intersection. Photo taken 02/25/06.
|With the Coxcomb Mountains rising in the distance, California 177 briefly travels southwest before turning south generally to follow the Colorado River Aqueduct toward Desert Center and Interstate 10. Photo taken 02/25/06.
|A power line crosses California 177 as the highway continues its journey south toward Desert Center. This particular power line follows the Colorado River Aqueduct, which conveys water to the millions of people who live in urbanized Southern California. It is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and was erected as a transmission facility in 1936. The aqueduct follows California 177 south for its entire length, then turns west to follow Interstate 10 toward the Coachella Valley. Note that the aqueduct does not cross California 177 at any time; it remains west of the state route for its entire duration. The aqueduct brings water from the Colorado River west to greater Los Angeles. For more on the aqueduct, visit the Colorado Aqueduct official site offered by the Metropolitan Water District. Photo taken 02/25/06.
|Skipping ahead, southbound California 177 approaches its southern terminus in Desert Center. The junction with Interstate 10 is a standard diamond interchange, and an end shield is posted on southbound underneath the twin bridges that carry Interstate 10 overhead. Photo taken 01/17/05.
|California 177 is signed with an end shield, just as it is at the California 62 junction near Granite Pass west of Rice. A zero postmile is placed next to the end shield. Photo taken 01/17/05.
- Chapter 7 - Construction Utilities from MWD's History & First Annual Report, Commemorative Edition, published 1939
Page Updated March 22, 2012.