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California Highways

Numbering Conventions:
Forest Routes

 
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Forest Routes

[Forest Route Shield]The forest routes are part of a vast system of roads that provide access to national forest lands. They're used in logging, mineral extraction, livestock grazing, etc. They provide access to campgrounds, hiking trails, and other recreational resources, as well as being about the only access to a good deal of private land. The particular numbering system varies quite a bit from national forest to national forest.

There is a general hierarchy of routes in a national forest. The first level is a "Forest Highway," which are are generally maintained to be accessible to all vehicles. Definitely gravelled and often paved, Forest Highways are often not signed as such when they are designated along a state or US route. These are generally routes that are of some significance regarding the outside world, rather than just within the forest.

There is a second class of forest routes that are maintained to low-clearance standards for passenger cars (i.e. you might not be able to travel at highway speeds, but with a little care, you should be able to get most vehicles up the things. These normally do not have formal shields, but have numbers are often posted horizontally on signs. In the Angeles National Forest, the numbers have the form 3N02. These routes are often trunk routes for the forest highways.

The secondary roads often connect to still smaller roads, which are "maintained" for high-clearance vehicles only. These will generally lead from the trunk roads to timber sales, lakes, meadows, and random locations that just happen to have roads to them. There are a lot of these on the maps, though they are not often marked on the ground, although you may occasionally find a vertical string of numbers on a 3 inch wide fiberglass post.

Although not a topic of this website, there are sites that address Forest Road numbering. For example, http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/anf_map_roads.html explores the numbering of Forest Roads and Trails in the Angeles National Forest. This site notes that:

As noted, the site http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/anf_map_roads.html gives much more information on this.

[Much of the information on Forest Highways was provided in an m.t.r posting by Sam Smith.]


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©1996-2004 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.