San Luis Reservoir & Pacheco Pass Highway


Route 152 provides a nice drive through rolling hills, between the Monterey/Santa Cruz area, and Interstate 5.  While the scenery may be beautiful, there isn’t much to stop and see along Highway 152, until you reach the San Luis Reservoir.

Most likely, you’ll stop for a moment at the reservoir’s visitor center, which provides a few nice spots to look out over the man-made lake.  During my visit, it was overcast, giving the water and surrounding mountains a mystical look.

The San Luis Dam (you can kinda see it in the distance) holds back about 2 million acre-feet of water, forming a lake that’s about 9 miles long, and 5 miles wide.  Instead of ending up in the Pacific Ocean, the water in the San Luis Reservoir gets used, when needed, for irrigation.

Much of the land on the south side of Rte. 152, west of San Luis Reservoir, is protected as part of Pacheco State Park.  The park is mostly undeveloped, and only about 1/3 of it is open to the public.

If you’re interested in snagging a Striped Bass, your chances are pretty good at San Luis Reservoir.  I was only interested in continuing east to Yosemite, so after paying a visit to the reservoir’s visitor center, I headed downhill towards Los Banos.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from San Juan Bautista, across Pacheco Pass, to Los Banos, California:

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