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Author Topic: La Gloria Road  (Read 4496 times)

coatimundi

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La Gloria Road
« on: October 03, 2016, 01:20:19 AM »

So I wanted to post this about the short trip I took today, because there's relatively little info about this road aside from some motorcycle trip reports. The wife took the baby to one of those drink-and-buy-shit parties, so I took the time to finally try this road out. I had wanted to for a long time, but I never knew how long it would add to a trip, so I had always avoided it.
Now that I've driven it and timed it, I don't think it's any faster than taking 156 to Union in Hollister. But it wasn't nearly as slow as I thought it would be. From 101 to 25, it would have been about 25 minutes.

Now, the road is important in the larger scope because it is the only road crossing of the Gabilan Range for over 71 miles, between 101/156 and 198.
A couple of interesting points on La Gloria Road:
- Pinnacles National Park has a closed section just to the south of the road. On the drive, I found it somewhat obvious where this was, and it is possible (but not advisable or legal) to bushwhack over to it. That said, it could be a potential northern trailhead some day.
- Willow Creek Ranch on the north side of the road in San Benito County, now used by Wilderness Unlimited as a hunting area, is slated to become a national conservation area because its adjacency to the national park, water access and risk of development (read: new Gallo vineyard) means that it's a threatened area that could potentially impact the park.

So I had seen posts online that talked about La Gloria Road being a mix of paved and dirt. It's all dirt. Strangely, the most well-maintained section is the right in the middle, in the Williamson Valley (which is really a plateau), from the county line to near the national park boundary. The rest is a twisty, mostly 1.5-lane, often washboarded dirt road. Certainly not the worst thing I've ever been on, but I don't really know why motorcyclists would be interested in it except as a challenge. In fact, of the three vehicles I encountered on the drive, one was a motorcycle.

So, link to the pictures:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/38770231@N04/sets/72157671277026024

And a couple of pictures of highlights:

There are three of these signs (though this is the only one where there's another sign translated into Spanish) before reaching the end of the pavement:


A milemarker on the San Benito side. I didn't know this before, but San Benito County has numbers for all its roads. On the Monterey side, there were green half-mile markers.


Turn-off for La Gloria Road on SR 25 southbound. Note the wooden "LA GLORIA" sign attached to the sign for Gonzales. I didn't see any truck warnings on this side either.
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coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 03:28:52 AM »

I should add that La Gloria Road has essentially existed since the dawn of roads in the region. The 1910 topo map showed it in much the same way as it exists now, leading to La Gloria schoolhouse, with the 1919 topo showing it continuing to Bear Valley (SR 25). With its namesake, La Gloria Valley, was and still is accessible by an unsigned spur off of the main La Gloria Road (shown as Chalone Road on maps).
I think that, if that precedent for thru access had not long ago been set, then it would have been closed off by private interests like so many of our rural county roads have been.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 10:00:33 PM »

Any good access from Chalone Road from the western CA 146 that you know of?  Wash board or not the grade looks reasonable enough for a car to make through.  Seems like this might be up my alley doubled up with Panoche Road or Coalinga Road.  I'm assuming this goes back to all the talk about a through road in regards to Pinnacles?

coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2016, 01:55:34 AM »

Any good access from Chalone Road from the western CA 146 that you know of?  Wash board or not the grade looks reasonable enough for a car to make through.  Seems like this might be up my alley doubled up with Panoche Road or Coalinga Road.  I'm assuming this goes back to all the talk about a through road in regards to Pinnacles?

Chalone Road is the unsigned spur into La Gloria Valley that I referred to in the post. It was unnamed on early maps, and the section shown on Google Maps, shooting south away from Gloria Lake, was not built until much later, and now seems to be a private ranch road. If you GSV the other side of it, there's a locked gate and an NPS "No Camping" sign.
Looking at parcel maps, the road is called "Graff Road". And that's where the chance ends. Look up Dick Graff.
The winery people are the ones that shut down all the roads in the Salinas Valley. A lot of them on the western side of the valley, going into the Sierra de Salinas, used to be open until they took over all the canyons and many will now supposedly immediately call the sheriff if they see you. So that one also may have been open at one time. But it was likely just put in by a rancher, or maybe even by Graff, later on. I mean, La Gloria Schoolhouse was built in 1887. You can still go see it in King City. It was built, in part, to serve the kids in La Gloria Valley. At that time, there was no reason to connect La Gloria Valley with any of the roads to the south.

I think you're asking if I was interested in this road because of the discussion about Pinnacles a couple of months ago. If so, then no. I've wanted to go over La Gloria Road for a few years now. In this region, the hills and mountains aren't that large, but we don't have many roads crossing them, so one that does stands out. There aren't even a lot of hiking trails that cross the mountains, just fire roads that are mostly inaccessible.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2016, 07:31:12 AM »

Might have some business up in Salinas in a couple weeks.  Since Chalone seems to have gone private that might make it hard for me to backtrack to it from Pinnacles West to cross to CA 25.  Basically I'm trying to think of something that's going to include Carmel Valley Road, Panoche Road, and Coalinga Road that will intersect Pinnacles West heading to or from Salinas.  The 146 debate was settled I think but I still would like to see further down the Old Pinnacles Trail for a what might have been scenario. Might be worth a look at New Idria Road also, word is that the Superfund site is actually located on the south side of the ghost town and you can still see a lot of it from the road.

coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2016, 08:08:40 PM »

Might have some business up in Salinas in a couple weeks.  Since Chalone seems to have gone private that might make it hard for me to backtrack to it from Pinnacles West to cross to CA 25.  Basically I'm trying to think of something that's going to include Carmel Valley Road, Panoche Road, and Coalinga Road that will intersect Pinnacles West heading to or from Salinas.  The 146 debate was settled I think but I still would like to see further down the Old Pinnacles Trail for a what might have been scenario. Might be worth a look at New Idria Road also, word is that the Superfund site is actually located on the south side of the ghost town and you can still see a lot of it from the road.

Well, PHPBB failed me: I wrote a whole reply to this, hit "Post" and it was lost in space because I lost my internet connection right then.

Getting to Pinnacles from La Gloria Road: Camphora-Gloria is open, paved and nice. It'll cut off some time, and probably be about the same time you would have spent on what you're calling Chalone Road, and it won't cost you an oil pan. The pic of the warning sign in my OP is at that junction. But you have to go over all the narrowness, twists and gravel before you reach it.

Carmel Valley: Funny little community with some good tasting rooms. Not cheaper, but certainly less snobby than those in the village.

Panoche Road: You could do J1 in one swoop if you started in Mendota. Panoche Road itself - the paved part at least, as the dirt is a bit stressful - is a wonderful drive.

New Idria: EPA is not the Illuminati. All their stuff is online if you look for it: https://semspub.epa.gov/work/09/1158976.pdf (includes a map of the Superfund site)
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2016, 10:16:01 PM »

Just had a look at Camphora-Gloria, thanks for pointing that out.  That makes the back track a little bit more tolerable to get to La Gloria Road.  Of course this is all assuming that things stay relatively dry into early November, otherwise La Gloria might be out and likely I would have to stay on J1 instead of following Panoche Road. 

That's actually what I was looking for with Idria.  It looks like you can still drive right up to the fence line and have a peek at the town sight from the road itself:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.4165319,-120.6726818,3a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1s-ifGbSNDCxDE%2FV9SGyGcTHpI%2FAAAAAAACaX0%2FJHGiszwCo1c4J4w2Yokd8lpYALjW11JWACLIB!2e4!3e11!6s%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2F-ifGbSNDCxDE%2FV9SGyGcTHpI%2FAAAAAAACaX0%2FJHGiszwCo1c4J4w2Yokd8lpYALjW11JWACLIB%2Fw203-h101-n-k-no%2F!7i5376!8i2688?hl=en

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.416136,-120.672763,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1s68022195!2e1!3e10!6s%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com%2Fproxy%2FTCaRRXk1vKkq4D1-mo4dgnI-XCt7ttWMjeF7BFREHoLPKzdcge0rQJz8BoA5omn8Kyr5HwWeLRcYzL33CUw8JkwDk11cyQ%3Dw203-h135!7i1536!8i1024?hl=en

Regardless, I can't fathom the dirt part of Panoche Road is anywhere near as bad as some of the stuff I've been on and it sounds like La Gloria is a breeze aside from wash boarding.  I'm planning on hitting AZ 88, UT 261, and maybe AZ 288 on this upcoming trip so I figure we'll way up to speed on some classic dirt highways leading up dealing with everything above.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 10:33:53 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2016, 12:22:11 AM »

Well, if the rains start, then you may have an issue with Panoche Road. There is a low-water crossing and, unfortunately for you if you're coming from the east, it's at the western end of the dirt section (you go through the worst part, only to have to turn around), near the junction with New Idria Road, so there is not a way around it except for Mercy Hot Springs (J1) or New Idria Road. It seems to be at least semi-perennial. Last time I was there, maybe two months ago, it was up to about my door. So I can't imagine what it would look like after it'd rained for a few months.

I have a hard time in following it, but it sounds like you're talking about taking Coalinga Road to Idria. I didn't realize the condition even allowed for passenger cars along Clear Creek Road, but you can always ask the BLM about it when you get your access permit. I'd like to know too. Actually, I think I'm going to email them about that.

But Panoche Road is much worse than La Gloria Road. La Gloria was mostly pleasant, just with a few narrow, blind curves. Panoche has really rough sections, blind hills and curves (lots of curves), and lots of washboarding. Tumey Hills opens at some point soon also (maybe now), so I would expect more traffic out there, especially on the weekends.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2016, 07:18:12 AM »

Given that I've had a night to think about this I have clearer picture in my head what to do.  The way I plan on swinging it I would take Coalinga Road/Los Gatos Creek Road west, CA 25 south, CA 198 west to US 101 where I would head up Metz-King City Road to Pinnacles.  I'm not sure if I would toss in Carmel Valley/G16 but it would likely be on the westward trip.  Heading back east I was thinking CA 68 east to G17, G17 to US 101, US 101 to La Gloria Road, La Gloria Road to CA 25, CA 25 to J1/Panoche, if the weather is good just Panoche to New Idria Road, back to down to Panoche, Panoche Road east to I-5.  Depending on how things go later in the month I might be able to couple a trip to Fresno rather than driving home.

I'm fairly certain Clear Creek Road is going to require high clearance if not 4WD through the Diablos.  Really there isn't much data I have been able to find on Clear Creek Road for it to be a worthwhile trip anytime soon, really you're probably on the right track with the BLM being the only entity in the know.  Besides, Panoche has that wash you mentioned...I know from the east side where the pavement ends there is a large sign saying it is impassible during wet weather.  Really if the road is graded and isn't wet getting through ought not be something that would worry me a lot.  The worst washing boarding I've run into this year was down near Soda Lake along 7 Mile Road while I was checking out California Valley.

But westward is likely going to be a Friday trip while heading back east out be at sunrise on Saturday or Sunday morning.  So weekend crowds might be an issue like you said.

coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2016, 12:13:19 AM »

Got it.
I'll post if I ever get a response from the BLM about Clear Creek Road. The office is actually right across the street from the Target we go to about once a week, so I may just go in one day to ask if they never get back to me. They've replied before though.

You are getting dangerously close to my home turf on this proposed trip.  :no:
I should point out an interesting site along 68 that won't make you spend more than the 5 minutes you don't have. West of Toro Park, there's a parking lot for Fort Ord National Monument's southern trailhead. You'll know it by the quintessentially BLM tan decagonal pit toilet. If you walk down that trail (northwest) a bit, there's an old concrete bridge from, IIRC, 1923. The interpretive sign claims that it was an old routing of 68, but I don't actually think that's true. I looked at the map and it doesn't make any sense why 68 would cross Toro Creek there. I really think it's just an old bridge for the Fort Ord access road that's been turned into the trail, but who knows. There's an old gas station, now a cafe, practically across the highway that could not have been on that old alignment, but is from about the same time as the bridge.

Take a look at the history of the Fort Romie community if you're heading all the way to the end of River Road (G17). Some of the original structures still exist. It's very Steinbeck down there, especially in the spring, when it's all green. Well worth the drive.

If you leave at sunrise, you'll miss most of the tourist traffic. The Bay Area people don't get up before about 10, and they won't leave until the evening if the 9ers are playing that Sunday, as they will be next Sunday. I don't even know if Tumey Hills will be open next weekend, but I also don't know how much traffic will be around even if it is open. I understand it's very popular with the OHV types though.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2016, 08:25:18 AM »

Yeah Marina is a short jog from you there.  Last time I was out there in Monterrey in January I did pass through since I was heading over Pacheco Pass.  I found the bridge you mentioned on CA 68, definitely worth a quick side trip for something vintage like that.  Anything worth seeing up near the old military facilities in Fort Ord itself?  I've never bothered to actually drop in but it looks like from the GSV that most of the old buildings are still abandoned.

coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2016, 11:58:27 PM »

Oh, dear.
After being left standing for over 20 years, CSUMB finally got them to level a bunch of the "hammerheads" on the east side of campus this summer. You missed it.
However! There are a bunch still standing on the Army side of the property line, off Gigling, including some really creepy and heavily tagged ones by 7th Avenue. The older barracks, on both sides of Target, haven't been removed, and you can get really close to the ones on the north side of Imjin.
Now, aside from that, there is a ton of really cool old military stuff back in the monument: the East Garrison rifle range, Impossible City, the supply depot, the old oil pipeline... But you gotta walk. No cars in Fort Ord past 8th, and that's the way we would like to keep it. A lot of it is a serious walk or pretty tough bike ride.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2016, 12:55:26 AM »

Hey a little bit of running never hurt anyone.  :-D  Thanks for the info, definitely something that I want to check into.  I want to say that would be National Monument number 50?..either that or 49. 

coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2016, 02:42:40 PM »

Hey a little bit of running never hurt anyone.  :-D  Thanks for the info, definitely something that I want to check into.  I want to say that would be National Monument number 50?..either that or 49.

Right. Go ahead and head to Fort Ord beach while you're out there, swim a hundred yards or so through the rips, and you'll hit California Coastal National Monument.

Going to add the BLM reply to this thread for future seekers of info about Clear Creek Road in the Clear Creek Recreation Area:

Quote
Clear Creek Road is not suitable for most passenger cars. The road conditions vary, but San Benito County does not maintain the portion of the road that is on private property near Idria, so it's especially rough. Wet weather also makes driving on Clear Creek Road extremely hazardous. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended or all-wheel drive with good clearance.

To reduce potential asbestos exposure and associated health risk, permits are required to drive highway licensed vehicles on Clear Creek Road through the Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Instructions on how to obtain permits from www.recreation.gov are provided on the BLM's Clear Creek Recreation webpage.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2016, 10:20:40 PM »

The only problem is that the Recreation.gov map of the Clear Creek Management area is on a microscopic PNG file.  The fonts are way too small to see what's in the different colored areas, the only one I could make out was the "private lands."

Well technically pretty much almost anything along the shoreline is part of the California Coastal National Monument.  I'm pretty sure Point Arena was the only land part of the actual monument, that's what the BLM lists anyways:

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/California_Coastal_NM.html

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2016, 12:02:34 AM »

Interesting pictures.  They remind me a lot of Lockwood San Ardo Road (further south in Monterey County, east of Fort Hunter-Liggett), connecting the small communities of Lockwood and San Ardo over the top of a mountain range.  Not as long as La Gloria Road, but mostly dirt, 1.5 lanes wide, and somewhat twisty.  Although unpaved, it is a County-maintained road -- they do regular maintenance every six months.  It also passes though BLM lands south of King City, and provides access to a rural camping area maintained by BLM.  (I only went on the western half of it, though -- I was doing a site visit as part of a traffic study for a proposed large stone quarry at the top of the pass, and had to document the roadway width and condition to determine if large trucks could negotiate the roadway while carrying the stones down to Lockwood on their way back to King City.)  VERY dusty work.
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coatimundi

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2016, 02:35:18 AM »

Thanks for posting this.
I'd like to get down to Hunter-Liggett once the rains stop. The wildflowers are supposed to be great there. This seems like a cool road to try.
Here's the BLM area: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/hollister/recreation/williams_hill.html

There's a lot of BLM land in the Sierra de Salinas, but very little of it is accessible to the public because it sits in the hills above the vineyards.
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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2016, 12:37:39 PM »

Have you tried Lewis Creek Road near Priest Valley? It's an old alignment of SR 25 that ends up fording the creek a bunch of times; unfortunately the south end seems to be gated off.
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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2016, 05:59:13 PM »

Have you tried Lewis Creek Road near Priest Valley? It's an old alignment of SR 25 that ends up fording the creek a bunch of times; unfortunately the south end seems to be gated off.

No, because I had always assumed it was dirt and just a private ranch road. I've driven by it a number of times on 198, but never really noticed it because, as you mention, it's gated. I was looking at GSV though, and there's another lower-quality road to the east that appears to blocked by, what I call (not sure their actual name), a mobile fence gate, and connects to Lewis Creek Road. But that road also appears to have a steep drop at its inception, and probably is only good for 4x4.
I emailed the county to see if I can get some info. But I'm definitely keen on checking it out now.

It is interesting that 25 was routed along this corridor when the Peachtree Valley road was open at about the same time and, topographically, seems a lot easier. Certainly fewer bridges to maintain, but maybe that's the point. I would assume the choice was political, but who knows.
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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2016, 07:00:07 PM »

It is interesting that 25 was routed along this corridor when the Peachtree Valley road was open at about the same time and, topographically, seems a lot easier. Certainly fewer bridges to maintain, but maybe that's the point. I would assume the choice was political, but who knows.
At the time, 198 used a gnarly alignment to the south, all the way from Priest Valley to Peachtree Valley (the part of modern 198 east of old 25 was originally 25); perhaps they didn't want SR 25 traffic to have to cross Mustang Ridge before heading north.
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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2016, 10:29:29 PM »

And a ford that has been bypassed by a bridge. Farther south, bridges were never built. This appears to be the limit of how far you can drive.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2016, 10:44:20 PM »

Looks like it's worth the side trip with everything I described above, just for the bridges and fords alone.

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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2016, 07:10:46 PM »

It was a really beautiful day yesterday and it gave me the chance to rent a nice car and do some driving through the southern part of the county. The deciduous trees and grape vines are colored up, high clouds were out and the temperature was perfect.
Route: https://goo.gl/maps/5oCdg1LUJb92

I did make it to Lewis Creek Road, to about here: https://www.google.com/maps/@36.2769666,-120.8414409,235m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

I stopped because it was obviously a private road, and I could see the main ranch house that had put up the scary sign. I don't like causing people problems. From the looks of the satellite though, I was running out of pavement anyway.

This sign is here: https://www.google.com/maps/@36.2838026,-120.8516625,102m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Lewis Creek Road by CoatimundiAZ, on Flickr

This sign is here: https://www.google.com/maps/@36.289518,-120.8636422,106m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Lewis Creek Road by CoatimundiAZ, on Flickr

This was on the Avaline Ranch. If you Google that, you'll find this: https://www.facebook.com/Avaline.Music/
Sorry I missed that, but I'm not sorry I wasn't out there in mid-May (it was probably 100 degrees and there's no shade out there).

One thing I took away from Lewis Creek Road: I would guess Highway 25 was rerouted both because of washouts and rockslides. I saw four separate slides on the road including the large one that I took a picture of. Lewis Creek is in a steep canyon for much of the way in.

You can click on the album for more pics. The most impressive part of the drive was Carmel Valley Road near Arroyo Seco, but I also very much enjoyed Lonoak Road.
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Re: La Gloria Road
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2016, 11:18:12 PM »

Beat me to the punch Lewis Creek.  Mowed down a deer in Utah and the Sonic has been in the body shop for the last two weeks which is holding my reason for going to Monterrey up.  I might section it down to Los Gatos, Lewis Creek Road, East CA 146, Panoche Road, and Idria Road next weekend.  For now I'm sticking closer to home with the Old Ridge Route and Ridge Route Alternate.  That rock fall looks like it could be a problem, the road looks decent otherwise.

 


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