California State Route 9

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State Route 9 marker

State Route 9
SR 9 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 309
Maintained by Caltrans
Length38.497 mi[2] (61.955 km)
Major junctions
South end SR 1 in Santa Cruz
North end SR 17 in Los Gatos
CountiesSanta Cruz, Santa Clara
Highway system
A view of SR 9

State Route 9 (SR 9) is a mainly rural and mountainous route in the U.S. state of California that travels 35 miles (56 km) from SR 1 in Santa Cruz to SR 17 in Los Gatos, passing through the San Lorenzo Valley and the Saratoga Gap. Daily traffic is between 3,200 and 34,500 cars.[citation needed]

Route description[edit]

SR 9 begins in the city of Santa Cruz where River Street intersects with SR 1. It heads north, paralleling the San Lorenzo River.[3] The road is a winding two lane road for the majority of its length until it approaches Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga. SR 9 winds through the mountains north of Santa Cruz, passing through the communities of Felton, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, and Boulder Creek, where State Route 236 departs from SR 9 to provide access to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. SR 236 later rejoins SR 9 near Castle Rock State Park.

At the summit of the Santa Cruz mountains (the junction with SR 35 and after a steep climb), there is a vista point offering a (somewhat obstructed) view of the Bay Area. The vista point is the route's highest point at around 2,608 feet (762 m)[4][citation needed]. At this junction, SR 9 passes into Santa Clara County.[3]

SR 9 descends from the mountains heading east into Saratoga as Congress Springs Road.[3] In Saratoga, SR 9 turns southeast and becomes Saratoga-Los Gatos Road.[3] At Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga, SR 9 briefly becomes a four-lane highway with a large center divider. However, as the road enters Monte Sereno, it again becomes a two-lane road. This particular narrowing has caused backups in the past; however, they have become more infrequent since the completion of SR 85. SR 9 resumes being a four lane road through downtown Los Gatos until its terminus at the junction with SR 17.

SR 9 is particularly popular for recreational motorcycling with motorcyclists from all over Northern California and beyond flocking to it at weekends. In summer months the short section between SR 35, Skyline Boulevard and SR 236, Big Basin Road becomes a popular destination for a variety of motorcycle types, and impromptu gatherings of riders in the parking lot at intersection of SR 35 and SR 9 known locally as ‘four corners’ are commonplace.

SR 9 is also popular with bicyclists. The seven mile (11 km) section from Saratoga Village to the Saratoga Gap is notable for the number of bicycles climbing the hill on weekend mornings.

A small portion of SR 9 towards the northern terminus is part of the National Highway System,[5] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[6] SR 9 is eligible to be included in the State Scenic Highway System,[7] and between the Los Gatos town limit and the intersection with SR 35 is officially a scenic highway,[8] 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.[9]


SR 9 was created from several previously constructed roads. One of these was a toll road built in 1848 by Martin McCarty.[citation needed]

In 1913, the road from Saratoga Gap southwest to Big Basin Redwoods State Park via the present SR 9 and SR 236 was added to the state highway system;[10] it became Route 42 (an unsigned designation) in 1917.[11] Although this highway connected to Route 44, the remainder of present SR 236, the only connection to the continuous state highway system was with the Skyline Boulevard (Route 55, now SR 35) at Saratoga Gap. This changed in 1933, when Route 42 was extended east from the gap to Route 5 (SR 17) in Los Gatos, and a new Route 116 was created, running south from Route 42 at Waterman Gap (about halfway between Saratoga Gap and the park) to Santa Cruz, intersecting the end of Route 44 at Boulder Creek.[12][13]

Sign Route 9 was marked in 1934; however, it did not entirely follow the present SR 9. Initially it connected Santa Cruz with Milpitas, following Routes 116 and 42 to Saratoga, Route 114 (Saratoga Sunnyvale Road and Mathilda Avenue) north through Sunnyvale, and Route 113 (SR 237) east to Route 5 (Main Street, then U.S. Route 101E and Sign Route 13) in Milpitas.[14] When the San Jose-Oakland US 101E designation was dropped in the mid-1930s,[citation needed] Route 5 between Mission San Jose (where the new SR 21 turned northeast) and Hayward did not retain a signed designation.[15] Later SR 9 was extended north along SR 17 (which had replaced SR 13) from Milpitas to Warm Springs, SR 21 to Mission San Jose, and the independent section of former US 101E - all part of Route 5 - to US 50 (also Route 5, which included a branch to Oakland) near Hayward.[16] Except for a short realignment in the mid-1950s onto Route 69 (now I-880 and SR 262) between Milpitas and Warm Springs,[17] this alignment remained until the 1964 renumbering.[18]

In 1964, SR 9 was moved to its present alignment, taking over the previously unsigned Route 42 from Saratoga to Los Gatos. The route that had been signed as SR 9 became SR 85 through Sunnyvale, SR 237 to Milpitas (including previously unsigned extensions of Route 113 at each end), and SR 238 from Mission San Jose to Hayward.[19] SR 85's original designation was deleted in 1994 and has since moved to a freeway, but the SR 237 freeway was built in the same location, and SR 238 remains as a surface road.

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 the list of postmile definitions).[2] 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.

Santa Cruz
SCR 0.46-27.09
Santa Cruz0.04River StreetContinuation beyond SR 1
0.04 SR 1 – Half Moon Bay, WatsonvilleSouth end of SR 9
Felton6.46Graham Hill Road, Felton Empire Road – Mount Hermon, Los Gatos, Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek13.04 SR 236 north (Big Basin Way) – Big Basin
Waterman Gap20.83 SR 236 south – Big Basin
Saratoga Gap27.09 SR 35 (Skyline Boulevard) – San Francisco
Santa Clara
SCL 0.00-11.45
Saratoga7.40 To SR 85 / Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Saratoga AvenueSaratoga-Sunnyvale Road was former SR 85
Los Gatos11.06Santa Cruz AvenueFormer SR 17
11.45 SR 17 – San Jose, Santa CruzInterchange; north end of SR 9
11.45 CR G10 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road)Continuation beyond SR 17
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Highways: State Route 9". Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  2. ^ a b c 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.
  3. ^ a b c d California Road Atlas and Driver's Guide (Map). Thomas Brothers. 2000. p. 169, P, N.
  4. ^ USGS benchmark, quad located at
  5. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: Santa Cruz, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
    Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: San Jose, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ California State Legislature. "Section 260–284". Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California State Legislature. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  8. ^ California Department of Transportation (September 7, 2011). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  9. ^ California Department of Transportation (2012). Scenic Highway Guidelines (PDF). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. p. 5. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  10. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to provide for the survey and construction of a state highway from Saratoga Gap, on the line between the counties of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, to, into and within California Redwood Park in Santa Cruz county, and making an appropriation therefor". Fortieth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 398 p. 855.
  11. ^ Ben Blow, California Highways: A Descriptive Record of Road Development by the State and by Such Counties as Have Paved Highways, 1920 ( or Google Books), p. 114
  12. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to amend sections 2, 3 and 5 and to add two sections to be numbered 6 and 7 to an act entitled 'An act to provide for the acquisition of rights of way for and the construction, maintenance..." Fiftieth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 767 p. 2037p. 2034–2042.: "State Highway Route 55 near Saratoga Gap to State Highway Route 5 near Los Gatos." "Santa Cruz to State Highway Route 42 near Waterman Gap."
  13. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to establish a Streets and Highways Code, thereby consolidating and revising the law relating to public ways and all appurtenances thereto, and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts specified herein". Fifty-first Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 29 p. 278, 283p. 287.: "Route 42 is from Route 5 near Los Gatos to Governor's Camp in California Redwood Park via Saratoga Gap and along the ridge between the San Lorenzo and Pescadero creeks." "Route 116 is from Santa Cruz to Route 42 near Waterman Gap."
  14. ^ California Highways and Public Works, State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs, August 1934
  15. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco and Vicinity Archived 2008-06-25 at the Wayback Machine., 1941
  16. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco Street and Vicinity Maps, Standard Oil Company of California, 1953
  17. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, Enlarged Map of the San Francisco District, 1955
  18. ^ Department of Public Works, San Francisco Bay Area, 1963
  19. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to add Section 253 and Article 3 (commencing with Section 300) to Chapter 2 of Division 1 of, and to repeal Section 253 and Article 3 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of, the..." 1963 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 385 p. 1172, 1178, 1187p. 1182.
  20. ^ California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
  21. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata