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California State Route 79: Wikis


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State Route 79 shield
State Route 79
Defined by S&HC § 379, maintained by Caltrans
Length: 106.731 mi[1] (171.767 km)
SR 79 is broken into pieces, and the length does not reflect the overlaps that would be required to make the route continuous.
South end: I-8 near Descanso
SR 78 near Julian
I-15 in Temecula
SR 74 in Hemet
North end: I-10 in Beaumont
State highways in California (list - pre-1964)
< SR 78 I-80 >
History - Unconstructed - Deleted - Freeway - Scenic

State Route 79 (SR 79) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California. The route goes from Interstate 10 in Riverside County to Interstate 8 in San Diego County.

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[2] and is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System[3].


Route description

Route 79 begins near Beaumont at Interstate 10. It begins by traveling south over a range of hills (Lambs Canyon) to San Jacinto and Hemet. In Hemet, SR 79 overlaps State Route 74, following it westward for a few miles (which are also posted with a city street name, Florida Avenue).

It should be noted that although it is not the official (and posted) route through San Jacinto and Hemet, most local drivers disregard the signs at the SR 79 / Ramona Expressway / Sanderson Road intersection and proceed south on Sanderson Road (that is, straight across the intersection from southbound SR 79), which is a more direct route south and intersects with SR 79 again along the concurrent South SR 79 / West SR 74 / Florida Avenue in Hemet, requiring no turns.

West of Hemet, SR 79 turns south again on Winchester Road, passing through the village of Winchester before passing by the new reservoir at Diamond Valley Lake. It then enters Murrieta and Temecula, where it meets Interstate 15 in the northern part of downtown. Between SR 74 and I-15, it is consistently named Winchester Road.

It overlaps Interstate 15 for a few miles through downtown Temecula. The ramps connecting SR 79 to I-15 are the first and third ramps (in either direction) of the three located between the I-15/I-215 junction and the Riverside/San Diego county line (these are also the only three exits on I-15 which serve Temecula). In both cases, to enter SR 79 from I-15, one must turn east (although SR 79 is signed as a north–south highway). The southern exit from I-15 is posted with the street name Temecula Parkway, which was renamed in September 2007 in the City of Temecula.

SR 79 then goes east through Aguanga and meets State Route 371. Then it crosses into San Diego County, passing through Warner Springs and meeting the eastern terminus of State Route 76 near Lake Henshaw.

It then overlaps State Route 78 between Santa Ysabel and Julian, a distance of about eight miles (13 km). At Santa Ysabel, SR 79 comes to a T intersection into the east–west SR 78. At Julian, both routes turn at an intersection in the northern portion of downtown, while they separate at a T intersection just south of town (which requires a turn to SR 79).

Then SR 79 goes through Cuyamaca and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park on its way south. This portion of the route is very serpentine, as it was constructed to follow the contours of the land by moving laterally, rather than up-and-down or via cuts. There are very sharp turns, in two cases hairpin turns posted at 15 mph (24 km/h). (For those who are prone to carsickness, this section can be avoided by taking San Diego County Road S1, the scenic "Sunrise Highway". Although this route is somewhat less serpentine, it does climb up and down the nearby Mount Laguna, is sometimes impassable in winter months due to snow and snow-related tourists, and intersects with Interstate 8 about twelve miles (19 km) further east.)

After traversing the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, SR 79 meets Historic U.S. 80 (now signed here as a regular road named Old Highway 80) in the town of Descanso, at a T intersection. This intersection is very clearly marked, indicating that one must turn south on Old Highway 80 and follow it to Interstate 8. SR 79 signage was added on this section of Old Highway 80 after 1996; previous to that date, the only signage was at the exit from Interstate 8 directing traffic northward on Old Highway 80.

At Interstate 8, SR 79 is Exit 40, and intersects with the interstate about 40 miles (64 km) from its western terminus (and approximately 35 miles (56 km) east of the city of San Diego).

Along nearly all of its length, the portion of Highway 79 south of the Interstate 15 concurrency in Temecula is a simple country road, with two lanes of traffic and no divider (the portion within the Temecula city limits is a heavily travelled city street, often four to six lanes). The portion north of Temecula (to Beaumont) varies between a two-lane country road (notably near Winchester) and a four-lane city street (in Temecula, Murrietta, Hemet, San Jacinto, and Beaumont, with a four-lane divided highway between the Ramona Expressway (at the northwest corner of San Jacinto) and the southern edge of Beaumont. (The highway section only has two access points; a signalled T intersection for a county landfill facility, and a set of highway ramps for Gilman Springs Road just north of the Ramona Expressway intersection.)

Another name of this highway is Firefighter Steven Rucker Memorial Highway: (from Route 78 in Santa Ysabel to Engineers Road in Cuyumaca).[4] The section between those concurrent with SR 74 and Interstate 15 (in the cities of Temecula, Murrietta, Winchester, and Hemet) is posted as Winchester Road.

The northern portion of this roadway is sometimes referred to as Ramona Expressway.


Originally SR 79 was routed on what is now Old Town Front Street through Downtown Temecula. However, it was originally routed on another road (besides Winchester Road). SR 79 was also closed during the Cedar Fire, and the towns of Cuyamaca and Julian were devastated. Fire damage is still evident from the highway.

Major intersections

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile
#[7] Destinations Notes
San Diego
SD L0.04-53.04
L0.04 Japatul Road Continuation beyond I-8
L0.04 I-8El Centro, San Diego Interchange
Descanso L1.30 Riverside Drive – Descanso
0.00 Old Highway 80 – El Centro Former US 80 east
14.44 CR S1 (Sunrise Highway) – Mount Laguna
Julian 20.22
78 58.13
SR 78 east – Westmorland, Brawley South end of SR 78 overlap
Santa Ysabel 78 51.11
SR 78 west / Washington Street – Ramona North end of SR 78 overlap
Morettis Junction 27.37 SR 76 west – Lake Henshaw, Palomar Mountain, Oceanside
31.70 CR S2 (San Felipe Road) – Ranchita, Borrego Springs
Warner Springs 35.07 Camino San Ignacio
RIV 0.00-40.45
Aguanga 2.27 SR 371Palm Desert
Radec 5.80 CR R3 (Sage Road) – Hemet
Temecula Butterfield Stage Road
Margarita Road, Redhawk Parkway
19.07 Pechanga Parkway – Pala
15 3.44
I-15 south / Temecula Parkway (to Old Town Front Street) – San Diego Interchange; south end of I-15 overlap
South end of freeway on I-15
15 4.98 59 Rancho California Road, Old Town Front Street
North end of freeway on I-15
15 6.62
I-15 north / Winchester Road – Riverside, Los Angeles Interchange; north end of I-15 overlap
Ynez Road
Margarita Road
Murrieta Hot Springs R4.78 Murrieta Hot Springs Road
Domenigoni Parkway – Diamond Valley Lake
Hemet R19.16
74 34.33
SR 74 west (Florida Avenue) / Vista Place – Perris, Riverside South end of SR 74 overlap
74 36.92 Warren Road Serves Hemet-Ryan Airport
74 41.34
SR 74 east (Florida Avenue) North end of SR 74 overlap
San Jacinto 28.17 Main Street, San Jacinto Avenue – Soboba Hot Springs
29.88 State Street, Ramona Expressway
Ramona Expressway, Sanderson Avenue
M33.78 Gilman Springs Road Interchange
Beaumont 40.45 I-10Palm Springs, San Bernardino Interchange
40.45 Beaumont Avenue Continuation beyond I-10


External links



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