State Scenic Highway System (California)

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State Scenic Highway System
California Scenic State.svg California Scenic.svg
State Scenic Highway System signage
Highway names
InterstatesInterstate XX (I-XX)
US HighwaysU.S. Route XX (US XX)
StateState Route XX (SR XX)
System links

The State Scenic Highway System in the U.S. state of California is a list of highways, mainly state highways, that have been designated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as scenic highways. They are marked by the state flower, a California poppy, inside either a rectangle for state-maintained highways or a pentagon for county highways.[1][2]

The California State Legislature makes state highways eligible for designation as a scenic highway, listing them in the Streets and Highways Code, sections 260-284.[3] For a highway to then be declared scenic by Caltrans, the local government with jurisdiction over abutting land must adopt a "scenic corridor protection program" that limits development, outdoor advertising, and earthmoving, and Caltrans must agree that it meets the criteria. The desire to create such a designation has at times been in conflict with the property rights of abutters, for example on State Route 174.[4][5]

Any county highway that is believed to have outstanding scenic qualities is considered eligible, and the county with jurisdiction must follow Caltrans' same approval process as state highways to be declared scenic.[1]

California Historic Parkways[edit]

California Historic Parkways are defined in the Streets and Highways Code, sections 280-284, as a subset of the State Scenic Highway System. Such historic parkways must have been constructed prior to 1945, and have been determined by either Caltrans or the Office of Historic Preservation in the California Department of Parks and Recreation to have historical significance. They must not at time of designation be traversed by more than 40,000 vehicles per day on an annual daily average basis. They also must be "bounded on one or both sides by federal, state, or local parkland, Native American lands or monuments, or other open space, greenbelt areas, natural habitat or wildlife preserves, or similar acreage used for or dedicated to historical or recreational uses".[3]

State Route 110
State Route 163

List of eligible and designated scenic state highways[edit]

Sign on SR 1
State Route 1
Entering Angeles National Forest on SR 2 from the south
State Route 2
State Route 3
Subalpine meadow at Ebbetts Pass
State Route 4
Interstate 5
Interstate 8
State Route 9
Interstate 10
State Route 12
State Route 14
Interstate 15
State Route 16
State Route 17
State Route 18
State Route 20
View of Mount Diablo and SR 24
State Route 24
State Route 25
State Route 27
State Route 28
State Route 29
View northeast from near Pine Mountain Summit on SR 33
State Route 33
State Route 35
State Route 36
State Route 37
State Route 38
State Route 39
Interstate 40
State Route 41
State Route 44
State Route 46
SR 49 through the historic mining community of Downieville.
State Route 49
View from Echo Summit towards Lake Tahoe
U.S. Route 50
State Route 52
State Route 53
State Route 57
State Route 58
Sign on SR 62
State Route 62
SR 68 approaching Monterey
State Route 68
State Route 70
State Route 71
State Route 74
State Route 75
State Route 76
State Route 78
SR 78 in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, looking east
State Route 79
Interstate 80
State Route 84
State Route 88
SR 89 through Emerald Bay State Park overlooking Lake Tahoe
State Route 89
State Route 91
State Route 92
State Route 94
State Route 96
U.S. Route 97
U.S. Route 101
State Route 108
State Route 111
State Route 116
State Route 118
State Route 120
State Route 121
State Route 125
State Route 126
State Route 127
State Route 138
State Route 139
State Route 140
State Route 142
State Route 146
State Route 150
State Route 151
State Route 152
Sign on SR 154
State Route 154
State Route 156
State Route 158
Heading south on SR 160
State Route 160
State Route 161
The Cabrillo Freeway, looking south from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park
State Route 163
State Route 166
SR 168, heading up Bishop Creek
State Route 168
State Route 173
State Route 174
State Route 178
State Route 180
Death Valley and access roads to SR 190 at Hells Gate
State Route 190
State Route 197
State Route 198
U.S. Route 199
State Route 203
State Route 209
Interstate 210/State Route 210
State Route 221
State Route 236
State Route 239
San Gorgonio Mountain seen from SR 243 near Banning
State Route 243
State Route 247
State Route 251
State Route 254
State Route 266
Sign on I-280
Interstate 280
State Route 299
State Route 330
US 395 descending south into Owens Valley
U.S. Route 395
Interstate 580
Descending from Mission Pass on I-680 northbound
Interstate 680

Designated county highways[edit]

County Route A18
County Route G14
County Route G20
County Route N1
Mulholland Highway through Leo Carrillo State Park, with Sandstone Peak in the distance
Mulholland Highway
River Road

See also[edit]


  • California Department of Transportation (August 2019). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways" (XLSX). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation District 3, Scenic Highway Program, accessed January 2008
  2. ^ "CA MUTCD 2014 Revision 4". California Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Article 2.5 of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the California Streets and Highways Code". Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  4. ^ Sacramento Bee, Scenic Highway Concept Spurs Alarm, March 25, 1999, p. N1
  5. ^ Dave Moller, Union of Grass Valley, CABPRO's Urke steps down, August 7, 2004
  6. ^ a b c d e f California Department of Transportation (2017). "List of eligible and officially designated State Scenic Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Lech, Steve (2012). For Tourism and a Good Night's Sleep: J. Win Wilson, Wilson Howell, and the Beginnings of the Pines-to-Palms Highway. Riverside, CA: Steve Lech. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-9837500-1-7.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h California Department of Transportation. "List of Officially Designated County Scenic Highways" (PDF). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 2, 2019.

External links[edit]