History of Route 66 in the Cajon Pass


In Southern California, the Cajon Pass is a significant geographical feature through which historic Route 66 passes. Here’s a brief overview of the history of Route 66 through the Cajon Pass:

  1. Early Years:
    • The area around Cajon Pass has been a natural corridor for travel for centuries, used by Native American tribes and early Spanish explorers.
    • In the 19th century, as the United States expanded westward, various trails and wagon routes traversed Cajon Pass.
  2. Railroad Era:
    • The construction of the railroad in the late 19th century significantly impacted transportation through the Pass.
    • The railroad became a major mode of transportation, rendering the pass a vital link in the national rail network.
  3. Route 66 and the Automobile Era:
    • In 1926, Route 66 was established, connecting Chicago to Los Angeles. This iconic highway symbolized westward migration, economic development, and the American love for the open road.
    • Route 66 passed through Cajon Pass, providing a direct route for motorists traveling between the Midwest and the West Coast.
  4. Development and Upgrades:
    • Over the years, various improvements and realignments were made to Route 66 through Cajon Pass to accommodate the growing volume of traffic.
    • The pass saw upgrades in terms of road infrastructure and engineering, making the journey more efficient for travelers.
  5. Decline and Bypassing:
    • As the interstate highway system was developed, newer and more efficient roads bypassed sections of Route 66, contributing to the eventual decline of the historic route.
    • In the 1960s, portions of Route 66 through Cajon Pass were bypassed by Interstate 15, which became the primary route for modern transportation.
  6. Recognition and Preservation:
    • In the late 20th century, interest was resurgent in preserving and commemorating Route 66’s history.
    • Today, portions of the historic route, including those through Cajon Pass, are designated as historic byways, attracting tourists interested in experiencing a piece of America’s past.

Gandy dancers
Brown’s Toll Road
Route 66
These guys
National Old Trails Road

Cajon Pass remains a notable landmark along the historic Route 66, and efforts to preserve this iconic highway’s history and heritage continue to interest enthusiasts and historians alike.