California State Route 88

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State Route 88 marker

State Route 88
SR 88 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 388
Maintained by Caltrans
Length122 mi[1] (196 km)
National Forest Scenic Byway.svgCalifornia Scenic State.svg Carson Pass Highway
Major junctions
West end SR 99 near Stockton
East end SR 88 towards Minden, NV
CountiesSan Joaquin, Amador, Alpine
Highway system
California 87.svg SR 87California 89.svg SR 89

State Route 88 (SR 88), also known as the Carson Pass Highway,[2][3] is a state highway in the U.S. state of California. It travels in an east–west direction from Stockton in the San Joaquin Valley, crossing the Sierra Nevada at Carson Pass, and ending at the Nevada state line, whereupon it becomes Nevada State Route 88, eventually terminating at U.S. Route 395.

Unlike other two-lane California highways through the mountains (Routes 4, 108 and 120), Route 88 stays open through winter, except during the worst snowstorms, making it the third major route through the mountains, after Interstate 80 and U.S. Route 50. In fact, Route 88 over the Carson Pass is designated as Alternate U.S. 50, such that it may be used during floods of the American River Canyon.

Route description[edit]

Spring storm on 28 May 2008

SR 88 begins just outside Stockton as Waterloo Road, heading northeast towards Waterloo. The highway turns north at Waterloo, and SR 88 continues north to an intersection with SR 12, where the latter runs concurrently. SR 88 continues through Lockeford and Clements before continuing into Amador County. Continuing northeast, SR 88 intersects the southern terminus of SR 124 and is joined by SR 104 before passing through the town of Sunnybrook. SR 104 leaves SR 88 prior to the community of Martell, SR 88 continuing to Martell, where it joins with SR 49 and shortly thereafter turning south, running concurrently with SR 49 to the city of Jackson. In Jackson SR 88 turns northeast again leaving SR 49 at the intersection of SR 49, SR88 and Peek Street. The highway continues northeast through Pine Grove, Pioneer, Buckhorn, Cooks Station, and Ham's Station before entering the state game refuge. SR 88 continues paralleling the county line with El Dorado County in Eldorado National Forest before passing by Silver Lake and Kirkwood, where SR 88 crosses into Alpine County.[4]

In Alpine County, SR 88 continues by Caples Lake before running concurrently with SR 89 until Woodfords. The highway continues through Paynesville before entering Nevada as Nevada State Route 88.[4] Route 88 is one of only three routes to continue with the same route number after crossing into Nevada, the others being Routes 28 and 266.

SR 88 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System,[5] and is part of the National Highway System,[6] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[7] It is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System;[8] however, it is only a scenic highway as designated by Caltrans from the Dew Drop ranger station to the Nevada state line,[9] meaning that it is a substantial section of highway passing through a "memorable landscape" with no "visual intrusions", where the potential designation has gained popular favor with the community.[10] The Carson Pass Highway is also designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway.[11]

The road is kept open all winter[12] but can be subject to restrictions or short-term closure due to snow (including avalanches) or ice.

Historical landmarks[edit]

Listed in order from west to east.

  • The Trail of the 1844 John C. Frémont Expedition, at the northwest corner of the Calaveras River (postmile SJ 6.09)[13]
  • Clinton, on Clinton Rd., south of the highway, in Pine Grove—Clinton was the center of a placer mining community during the 1850s and of quartz mining as late as the 1880s. This town once decided Amador County elections as its votes were always counted last.[14]
  • Irishtown, at the intersection of Pine Grove Wieland Rd. in Pine Grove—This was an important stopping place for emigrants on their way to the southern mines. The first white settlers on this spot found it a "city of wigwams," and hundreds of mortars in the rocks testify that this was a favorite Indian camping ground.[15]
  • Mount Zion State Park, Pine Grove
  • Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, Pine Grove
  • Eldorado National Forest, Amador Ranger Station, Pioneer
  • Maiden's Grave, burial place of Rachel Melton (d. 1850), a young girl who died while traveling to California via covered wagon (postmile AMA 61.3)[16]
  • The Old Emigrant Road was a long loop around the Silver Lake basin, starting from Caples Lake and reaching an elevation of 9,640 feet (2,938 m) at one place. This difficult portion of the road was used by thousands of vehicles from 1848 to 1863, when a better route was blasted out of the face of the cliff at Carson Spur (the present highway route). There are two markers. One is at the intersection of Mud Lake Rd (postmile AMA 63.1). The second marker is at postmile ALP 2.4, at Caples Lake.[17]
  • Cooks Station, a roadside stop built in 1863 and still in operation, elevation 5,000 feet (1,500 m)
  • Ham's Station is a roadside stop still in operation as a restaurant and convenience store, located at 38°32′40″N 120°22′39″W / 38.544406°N 120.377471°W / 38.544406; -120.377471 at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Ham's Station was built by 1879 and originally served as a toll station on the highway.[18][19] Both Cooks and Ham's stations are routinely used by Caltrans to indicate points where tire chains are required for continued travel during snowstorms, as they are two of the only landmarks between Pioneer and the junction with State Route 89.
  • Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Kirkwood
  • Kirkwood's, a resort, stage station, and post office originally built by Zack Kirkwood in 1864. The building straddles the AlpineAmador county line.
  • The Kit Carson Marker (CHL #315, postmile ALP 5.2), at the summit of Carson Pass, marks where Carson carved his name into a tree in 1844 while guiding John C. Frémont through the Sierra Nevada. The original can be found at Sutter's Fort, Sacramento.[20]
  • On some large rocks near Carson Pass, a group of pioneers inscribed their names and the emblem of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1849 (postmile ALP 5.3).[21]


A portion of Route 88 (from Antelope Springs to the border) started as the Amador/Nevada Wagon Route, a toll road completed in 1862, which was a major thoroughfare through the mountains, as California sent timber, food, and particularly gold to the east during the Civil War. Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 greatly decreased traffic on the wagon road.

Highway 8 in Amador County

The original highway number was 8 in Amador County.[22] Old CA-8 overlaps present CA-88 from Alpine County to Jackson but continues south to Mokelumne Hill, then to Valley Springs and other points south. Present 88 follows a portion of old SR 104 but diverges just south of Ione.

Major intersections[edit]

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see California postmile § Official postmile definitions).[23] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.

San Joaquin
SJ 0.00-25.37
0.00Waterloo RoadContinuation beyond SR 99
0.00 SR 99 – Sacramento, FresnoInterchange; west end of SR 88
LockefordL12.24 SR 12 west (Victor Road) – LodiWest end of SR 12 overlap
13.60 CR J5 (Jack Tone Road)West end of CR J5 overlap
14.08 CR J5 (Elliott Road) / Tully RoadEast end of CR J5 overlap
Clements19.17 SR 12 east – San AndreasEast end of SR 12 overlap
CR J12 (Collier Road)
AMA 0.00-71.65
5.53 SR 124 – Ione, Placerville
7.39 SR 104 west / Jackson Valley Road – IoneWest end of SR 104 overlap
12.68 SR 104 east (Ridge Road) – Sutter CreekEast end of SR 104 overlap
5.93[N 1]
SR 49 north – Sutter Creek, PlacervilleWest end of SR 49 overlap
Jackson4.03[N 1]
SR 49 south – Mokelumne Hill, San AndreasEast end of SR 49 overlap
Pine Grove22.69Ridge Road – Sutter CreekUnconstructed SR 104 west
23.36Pine Grove-Volcano Road – Volcano
R26.79 SR 26 (Red Corral Road) – West Point
R58.67Mormon Emigrant Trail (US 50 Alt. west)West end of US 50 Alt. overlap
ALP 0.00-25.28
13.40 SR 89 north (US 50 Alt. east) / Burnside Lake Road – Lake TahoeWest end of SR 89 overlap; east end of US 50 Alt. overlap
Woodfords19.22 SR 89 south to SR 4 – MarkleevilleEast end of SR 89 overlap
25.28 SR 88 east – MindenContinuation into Nevada; east end of SR 88
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. ^ a b Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 49 rather than SR 88.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
  2. ^ "America's Byways". Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  3. ^ "America's Scenic Byways::Carson Pass Highway (Route 88)". Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  4. ^ a b California Road Atlas (Map). Thomas Brothers. 2008.
  5. ^ "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: California (North) (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  8. ^ "Article 2.5 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets & Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  9. ^ California Department of Transportation (August 2019). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways" (XLSX). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  10. ^ California Department of Transportation (2012). Scenic Highway Guidelines (PDF). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. p. 5. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  11. ^ Staff. "Carson Pass Highway (Route 88)". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Trail Of The John C. Frémont 1844 Expedition". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  14. ^ "Clinton". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  15. ^ "Irishtown". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  16. ^ "Maiden's Grave". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  17. ^ "Old Emigrant Road". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  18. ^ Report of the Chief of Engineers U.S. Army. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1879. p. 2110.
  19. ^ "Ham's Station". Archives: History Center. Amador County, California. Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  20. ^ "Kit Carson Marker". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  21. ^ "Memorial To Pioneer Odd Fellows". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  22. ^ Thomas, George C. Map of Amador County. Geo C Thomas.
  23. ^ a b California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  24. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata