Cerro Noroeste Rd

Length: 35 miles (1 to 1.5 hours)
Overall Rating:
08 - Highly Recommended
07 - Picturesque
09 - Totally Engrossing
08 - Quiet, with limited passing

This southern California forest road was a bit of an unexpected find. I was in the Los Angeles area and was planning to take the Angeles Crest and Mulholland drives to the coast, but was re-routed by the disastrous 2009 Station Fire. With a bit of impromptu research the road looked like one of the better squiggly lines on Google Maps, even though I had a bit of doubt that it was even paved (it wasn't covered by Google Street View at the time).

“Squiggly” is a good way to describe this road once you hit the ground. It’s a gradual start in its southeast end, but gets real interesting real quick. You’ll ascend from the chaparral into ponderosa forests, reaching 8300 feet in elevation. The north end features superb mountain views and a quick drop into the foothills around the San Joaquin Valley.

On this north end I have a distinct memory of four or five ground squirrels seemingly making a sport of dodging my tires. I don’t know – maybe the road inspires some risk taking? Not to speak ill of the many sane motorcyclists that rave about this road, but there are videos on youtube showing a few nuts taking this road at mind-numbed speeds. Add cyclists to the mix and you have more reason to be perhaps more cautious than usual if you end up driving it.

One thing to note: the road has additional names throughout its length, at least according to Google; these include Hudson Ranch Rd, Mt Potrero Hwy, and Cuddy Valley Rd.

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