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California State Route 9: Map


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A view of SR 9
State Route 9 (SR 9) is mainly a rural and mountainous route in the U.S. state of Californiamarker that travels 35 miles (56 km) from SR 1 near Santa Cruzmarker to SR 17 in Los Gatosmarker, passing through the San Lorenzo Valley and the Saratoga Gap. Daily traffic is between 3,200 and 34,500 cars. The section between the Los Gatos town limit and the intersection with SR 35 is part of the Scenic Highway System.

Route description

SR 9 begins in the city of Santa Cruzmarker where River Street intersects with SR 1. It heads north, paralleling the San Lorenzo River. 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 Feltonmarker, Ben Lomondmarker, Brookdalemarker, and Boulder Creekmarker, where State Route 236 departs from SR 9 to provide access to Big Basin Redwoods State Parkmarker. 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) . At this junction, SR 9 passes into Santa Clara Countymarker.

SR 9 descends from the mountains heading east into Saratogamarker as Congress Springs Road. In Saratoga, SR 9 turns southeast and becomes Saratoga-Los Gatos Road. At Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga, SR 9 briefly becomes a four-lane highway with a large center divider. However, as the road enters Monte Serenomarker, 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.


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

In 1913, the road from Saratoga Gap southwest to Big Basin Redwoods State Parkmarker via the present SR 9 and SR 236 was added to the state highway system; it became Route 42 (an unsigned designation) in 1917. 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 Gatosmarker, 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 Cruzmarker, intersecting the end of Route 44 at Boulder Creekmarker.

Sign Route 9 was marked in 1934; however, it did not entirely follow the present SR 9. Initially it connected Santa Cruz with Milpitasmarker, following Routes 116 and 42 to Saratogamarker, Route 114 (Saratoga Sunnyvale Road and Mathilda Avenue) north through Sunnyvalemarker, and Route 113 (SR 237) east to Route 5 (Main Street, then U.S. Route 101E and Sign Route 13) in Milpitas. When the San Josemarker-Oaklandmarker US 101E designation was dropped in the mid-1930s, Route 5 between Mission San Josemarker (where the new SR 21 turned northeast) and Haywardmarker did not retain a signed designation. Later SR 9 was extended north along SR 17 (which had replaced SR 13) from Milpitas to Warm Springs, SR 21 to Mission San Josemarker, 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. Except for a short realignment in the mid-1950s onto Route 69 (now I-880 and SR 262) between Milpitas and Warm Springs, this alignment remained until the 1964 renumbering.

In 1964, SR 9 was moved to its present alignment, taking over the previously unsigned Route 42 rom 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. SR 85 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

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 some county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile

Destinations Notes
Santa Cruzmarker
SCR 0.46-21.22
Santa Cruzmarker 0.46 River Street Continuation beyond SR 1
Boulder Creekmarker 13.04
Waterman Gap 20.83
San Mateomarker
SM 21.22-21.37
No intersections in San Mateo County
Santa Cruzmarker
SCR 21.37-21.64
No intersections in Santa Cruz County
San Mateomarker
SM 21.64-22.05
No intersections in San Mateo County
Santa Cruzmarker
SCR 22.05-23.87
No intersections in Santa Cruz County
San Mateomarker
SM 23.87-24.23
No intersections in San Mateo County
Santa Cruzmarker
SCR 24.23-24.49
No intersections in Santa Cruz County
San Mateomarker
SM 24.49-24.72
No intersections in San Mateo County
Santa Cruzmarker
SCR 24.72-27.09
No intersections in Santa Cruz County
Saratoga Gap 27.09
Santa Claramarker
SCL 0.00-11.45
Saratogamarker 7.40 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Saratoga Avenue Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road was former SR 85
Los Gatosmarker 11.45 Interchange
11.45 Continuation beyond SR 17


  1. USGS benchmark, quad located at
  2. 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
  3. : "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."
  4. : "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."
  5. California Highways and Public Works, State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs, August 1934
  6. H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco and Vicinity, 1941
  7. H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco Street and Vicinity Maps, Standard Oil Company of California, 1953
  8. H.M. Gousha Company, Enlarged Map of the San Francisco District, 1955
  9. Department of Public Works, San Francisco Bay Area, 1963
  10. California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed February 2008
  11. California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  12. California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

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