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Arizona State Route 51 from Piestewa Peak

Between 2010 to 2013 I lived about half a mile north of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve which allowed me access to the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail.  The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail ascends to the top of 2,610 foot high Piestewa Peak which overlooks the majority of the City of Phoenix and Arizona State Route 51.


The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail off of Squaw Peak Drive in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.  The Piestewa Peak Trail is a fast 2.2 mile round-trip but ascends 1,151 feet and can be just as difficult as nearby Camelback Mountain.




The view back down the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail from Piestewa Peak really puts into relief how steep it is.


Piestewa Peak is the second highest peak in the Phoenix Mountains after Camelback Mountain.  The mountain was originally known as Squaw Peak as early as 1910 but was renamed to Piestewa Peak in 2003.  The name of Piestewa Peak comes from Lori Piestwa of the U.S. Army and member of the Hopi Tribe.  Lori Piestewa was the first Native American woman to …
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California State Route 51; failed Interstate 80 on the Capitol City Freeway, the I-80 Business Loop, and former US 40/99E

The final route I took on the way back from Lake Tahoe this past weekend was on California State Route 51 through Sacramento which is known as the Interstate 80 Business Loop/Capitol City Freeway.


CA 51 is a hidden designation for the 9 mile I-80 Business Loop on the Capitol City Freeway.  In short most people known of CA 51 due to the signage oddity it carries with the I-80 Business Loop being entirely signed on the Capitol City Freeway which was once part of I-80.  The story of CA 51 is incredibly complicated and dates back to the earliest times of the State Highway System in California.

What eventually became CA 51 was originally defined as a State Highway during the 1909 First State Highway Bond Issue.  Said highway was to run from Sacramento north to the Oregon State Line and eventually would be assigned Legislative Route Number 3.

CAhighways.org on LRN 3


LRN 3 north out of Sacramento took the following route (for purposes of simplicity I'm including what was North Sacramento …

California State Route 174 and the Empire Mine

Crossing back over to the western flank of the Sierras earlier this month I took the entirety of California State Route 174 from Grass Valley in Nevada County to Colfax in Placer County.


CA 174 is a short 13 mile State Highway between CA 20/49 in Grass Valley and I-80 in Colfax.  CA 174 southbound begins at the CA 20/49 freeway at exit 182A in Grass Valley.



The southbound lane of CA 174 uses Tinloy Street to reach Colfax Avenue.


CA 174 southbound uses Colfax Avenue which becomes the Colfax Highway exiting Grass Valley.  CA 174 is signed as the Officer Bill C. Bean Jr. Memorial Highway.



Empire Street from CA 174 southbound accesses Empire Mine State Historic Park.


There is a mining head frame located on Empire Street just off of CA 174.



The Empire Mine opened in 1850 after gold bearing quartz was found near Grass Valley.  Much of early mining activity in California used Placer methods but the hard rock surface around Grass Valley made that impractical.  Hard rock mining methods were us…