Mt. Hamilton Road

Mt. Hamilton Road is a Californian drive with 365 curves

Mt. Hamilton Road is the name of a sinuous mountain drive located in Santa Clara County, in the US state of California. The road is advertised to include 365 curves, one for each day of the year.

How many miles is Mt Hamilton?

Part of California State Route 130, the road is totally paved. It’s 19-mile (31 km) long. The road is not easy, with countless turns and twists. It’s said to include 365 curves, one for each day of the year, so prepare accordingly (anti-nausea meds anyone?) for twisty turns ahead. The road climbs up to Mount Hamilton, a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.282m (4,206ft) above the sea level, and the site of Lick Observatory, the first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory. Today, the slow and steady climb attracts cyclists, so factor in an extra measure of precaution.

Does Mount Hamilton have snow?

Set high in California's Diablo Range, in Santa Clara County, the mountain is high enough to receive snowfall in the winter. At this elevation, Mt. Hamilton may be cool and changeable, so bring a sweater or coat and remember that it becomes cooler and often more prone to storms at higher elevations. Occasionally, when a cold, wet storm comes in from the Gulf of Alaska or Canada, Mt. Hamilton and the surrounding peaks get significant snowfall.

When was Mt. Hamilton Road built?

Built in 1875–76 in anticipation of the observatory, and the need to carry materials and equipment up the mountain in horse-drawn wagons, the grade seldom exceeds 6.5 percent. The sinuous road follows a gradual grade laid out over a century ago for horses and carts. It has many sharp curves and is quite narrow in places.

Is Mt. Hamilton Road worth it?

The drive is definitely worth it. There are spectacular views of San Jose and the rest of the Santa Clara Valley below. There are no gasoline or food services at Mt. Hamilton or anywhere along the road outside of San Jose. Overlooking Santa Clara Valley, Mount Hamilton is 20 miles east of San Jose, but the mileage count doesn’t do justice to the spectacular, even spine-tingling journey. On a clear day at the summit it is possible to see the Sierra Nevada.


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