The Lincoln Highway entered California from the east along two different routes:
- The northern or Donner route followed what is now I-80. In good weather, you can exit at Truckee and take the scenic drive past Donner Lake and over the original Donner Pass. This route rejoins I-80, going west towards Sacramento.
- The southern or Pioneer branch followed U.S. 50 west from Carson City, Nevada, around the south shore of Lake Tahoe to Placerville, and on to Sacramento, where the two routes joined.
The original 1913 route followed what is now Highway 99 south to Stockton. From there, I-205 and I-580 now parallel much the same route the Lincoln Highway took into Oakland. A ferry once crossed the bay from here to San Francisco. For more detail on the route from Tracy to Oakland, see this Oakland Tribune article and map.
In 1927, the Lincoln Highway was realigned to follow a route now paralleled by I-80 through Davis, Vallejo, and Berkeley, where a ferry took Lincoln Highway drivers to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, the Lincoln Highway ran from the Ferry Building along Market Street, turned west on Geary Street, then right on 34th Ave., which becomes Legion of Honor Drive. The western terminus of the Lincoln Highway is at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park.
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Rainbow Bridge at Donner Pass
Photo by Leon Schegg