Grapevine, California

Coordinates: 34°56′28″N 118°55′52″W / 34.941°N 118.931°W / 34.941; -118.931
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Grapevine, California
The Grapevine, looking south (2009)
The Grapevine, looking south (2009)
Grapevine is located in California
Location in California
Grapevine is located in the United States
Grapevine (the United States)
Coordinates: 34°56′28″N 118°55′52″W / 34.941°N 118.931°W / 34.941; -118.931
CountryUnited States
CountyKern County
Elevation1,499 ft (457 m)
ZIP code
Area code661
Official nameTop of Grapevine Pass[2]
Reference no.283
Grapevine, looking south from I-5 in March 2013 (left) and July 2021 (right)

Grapevine is an unincorporated community in Kern County, California, United States, at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley.[1] The small village is directly adjacent to Interstate 5 and consists mainly of travelers' and roadside services. At an elevation of 1,499 feet (457 m),[1] the community is located at the foot of a grade known as the Grapevine that lies in Grapevine Canyon through the Tejon Pass.


The village and grade are named for the canyon the trail passed through, after the wild grapes that grow along the original road.[3] Its Spanish name is La Cañada de las Uvas, that is, Grapevine Ravine.[4]


The ZIP Code is 93243, and the community is inside area code 661. A post office operated at Grapevine from 1923 to 1960.[5] The community of Wheeler Ridge lies three miles north of Grapevine on Interstate 5, with Lebec nine miles south.

A section of the 1915 Ridge Route between Grapevine and Lebec, California, abandoned when U.S. 99 (later upgraded to I-5) was constructed over the Tejon Pass in order to make the travel straighter and safer

Before the road was straightened and widened during 1933–34 by the three-lane Ridge Route Alternate (US 99), the Grapevine was infamous for its high accident rate. There are escape ramps branching off both sides of the downward part of the road for heavy trucks whose brakes fail on this five mile long, 6% grade, 1600-foot ascent - and now straight - grade.[citation needed]

The Grapevine is subject to severe weather and closure to traffic in winter. The stretch of I-5 through the Grapevine and the Tejon Pass is sometimes closed by the California Highway Patrol,[6] generally because of the icy conditions combined with the steep grade of the pass, and the high volume of traffic during the winter holidays. Occasionally, heavy rains will cause mud and rockslides, closing the freeway.[7] The Highway Patrol is also concerned, especially with the large number of big-rigs that pass through, that just one accident in the icy or snowy conditions might force traffic to slow down or come to a complete stop, leaving hundreds of vehicles stalled at once.[8] Whenever there is such a closure, traffic must either wait for it to reopen, or endure a slow multi-hour detour.[9][10]


The top of the Grapevine is registered as California Historical Landmark #283, where Don Pedro Fages passed through in 1772 during his explorations through California.[2]

Future development[edit]

The Tejon Ranch Company is planning further development in the area, which it identified as at "the northern base of the Interstate 5 grapevine, starting at the foothills in the southernmost portion of the San Joaquin Valley, extending parallel to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center along I-5".[11] A company spokesman said the development would result in 12,000 to 14,000 homes and 5.1 million square feet of commercial development.[12] In addition, the company has identified seven thousand additional acres for a development to be called Grapevine North.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Grapevine, California
  2. ^ a b "Top of Grapevine Pass". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  3. ^ Scott, Harrison Irving (2003). Ridge Route: The Road That United California. Torrance, California: Harrison Irving Scott. pp. iii–v. ISBN 0-615-12000-8.
  4. ^ Williamson, R.S. (1859). Map and profile of the Cañada de las Uvas : from explorations and surveys (Map). Washington, DC: United States War Department.
  5. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1042. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  6. ^ "Grapevine closed by snow: playtime near L.A., but tough work on I-5". Christian Science Monitor. January 3, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. [Highway Patrol Officer John Lutz] adds that the Highway Patrol regards this short-term closure as routine: "This happens nearly every year"
  7. ^ "Motorists criticize weather-related closure of the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine". Los Angeles Times. January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. the California Highway Patrol on Tuesday strongly defended its decision to cut traffic off, saying that the icy road surface, steep grade of the Tejon Pass and heavy post-holiday traffic volume made the Grapevine simply too dangerous to navigate.
  8. ^ "Motorists criticize weather-related closure of the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine". Los Angeles Times. January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. If an accident forces traffic to slow or come to a complete stop, and snow continues to fall, hundreds of vehicles can become stalled at once. The Tejon Pass is particularly vulnerable because of its steep hills and the number of big-rigs that travel on it
  9. ^ Grapevine Closures: It's for Our Own Good; Jorge Barrientos; "The Bakersfield Californian," December 20, 2008.
  10. ^ "Operation Snowflake - I-5 Grapevine-Tejon Pass Closure" (PDF). Caltrans. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Patric Hedlund, "Tejon Ranch Positioned to Begin Building in Lebec, Gorman and Grapevine," The Mountain Enterprise, May 21, 2021, page 5
  12. ^ Cox, John (February 22, 2022). "Tejon Ranch agrees to partner on rental housing near outlets". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved February 24, 2022.

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