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Historic Ukiah-Tahoe Highway Association

Historic US 99W "The Forgotten Road"


You can set your GPS to drive from Sacramento, CA to Red Bluff, CA and it will likely take you on route of Interstate 80 & Interstate 5. What you will miss is the original 1920’s route that has almost been entirely replace by Interstate Highways. You will also miss many of the points of Interest that are included in this book. You also will by-pass some of the more interesting towns along the way.

The original route of US Highway 99W is approximately 160 miles long on mostly 2 lane back road, only a few miles near Sacramento are freeway. The highway starts in Sacramento County and crosses Yolo County then comes Colusa and Glenn Counties before ending in Tehama County. The entire trip is through the Sacramento Valley. This drive is a great way to see one of the very historic back roads of California and visit small town America. So get in your car, RV, motorcycle or collector car and take a ride. This route is suitable for a drive any time of the year.

Historic US Highway 99W, crosses the Historic Ukiah-Tahoe Highway at Williams, near the midpoint of the US Highway 99W trip. 

History of US Highway 99, 99E & 99W:

US Highway 99 was built between 1920 and 1933 running approximately 1467 miles between Calexio, CA (near the US/Mexico Boarder) and Blaine WA (near the US/Canada Boarder). Connecting the towns and cities of central California, central Oregon and central Washington. In Northern California, between Sacramento and Red Bluff, US 99 split into US 99E known as the East Side Highway and US 99W known as the West Side Highway. US 99E running along the eastern side of the Sacramento Valley connected Sacramento, Marysville, Chico and Red Bluff. US 99W running along the western side of the Sacramento Valley connected Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, Williams and Red Bluff where the two routes came together again and reformed as US 99.

During the 1960’s interstate highway construction was in full force and when finished Interstate 5 would replace US 99, US 99E and US 99W. In 1973, Interstate 5 was complete and the US Highway 99 System was decommissioned and the highway was turned over to the states. By that time must of US 99 South of Bakersfield, CA no longer existed. The remainder of US 99 and US 99E in California became CA 99. US 99W became county roads and was nearly forgotten.

Today, Historic US 99W goes by many different names, in some locations it is County Road 99 or 99W, other places it is called I-5 Business Route and in still other places it has normal road names like West Street in Woodland or Capitol Ave in Sacramento.


Overall Route Map

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