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Interstate 5 or I -5 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of California. The freeway forms a north-south route across the state, from the Mexico border at San Ysidro to the Oregon state border at Hilt. I-5 is 1,281 kilometers long in California, making it the second longest Interstate Highway within a single state.
I-5 runs through the metropolitan areas of Southern California, including across San Diego and Los Angeles and their sizable suburban regions. The southernmost 280 kilometers leads almost non-stop through built-up areas, I-5 here is very wide and extremely busy, some road sections are among the busiest in the United States.
Farther north, I-5 leads through the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley, a much more sparsely populated area that is primarily agricultural in character. The freeway runs east of the San Francisco Bay Area, passing through the city of Stockton and the state capital Sacramento. In Northern California, I-5 passes through less populated areas with only the small towns of Red Bluff and Redding remaining on the route.
The scenery along I-5 varies widely, from the urbanization of Southern California to the Grapevine Pass north of Los Angeles, the monotonous plains of the San Joaquin Valley and the mountains of Northern California. Dominant is the view of Mount Shasta in Northern California. Portions of the trail in Northern California are more than 1,000 feet above sea level.
I-5 at San Diego.
Interstate 5 at downtown Los Angeles.
The I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley.
According to topschoolsintheusa.com, the highway begins at the Ysidro border crossing with Mexico. Here Mexican Carretera Federal 1 becomes Interstate 5. The highway splits a mile north of the border crossing into Interstate 5 through downtown and Interstate 805 through the eastern neighborhoods. Interstate 5 then passes through the suburbs of Chula Vista and National City and intersects around downtown with a number of other interstate highways, most notably Interstate 15 and Interstate 8. Further north, I-805 and I-5 rejoin and follow a very wide stretch of highway. The highway then runs through the cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. Only Camp Pendleton, a naval site, still separates the San Diego region from Los Angeles.
The southernmost suburb, San Clemente, is still 100 kilometers from downtown Los Angeles, and Interstate 5 runs here for more than 160 kilometers through urban areas. To the south, I-5 runs through a collection of newer suburbs south of Irvine. Interstate 405 branches off in Irvine, following a more westerly route through Los Angeles. The highway passes through Santa Ana and Anaheim, large suburbs that are also centers in their own right. It crosses the Riverside Freeway and the Orange Freeway. Closer to Los Angeles, it crosses two north-south Interstates, Interstate 605 and Interstate 710.
At the center of Los Angeles, Interstate 10 crosses a short double -number and begins US 101, which forms a coastal route to San Francisco, while I-5 continues inland. North of downtown, another large urban area, consisting of residential areas of Los Angeles, follows. In the north of the city, I-405 rejoins and Interstate 210 begins, which forms a northbound east-west route through the mountains and suburbs to San Bernardino.
San Joaquin Valley
After Los Angeles there is a long stretch that in fact has no larger city on the route. After Tejon Pass, Interstate 5 descends into the San Joaquin Valley, a large agricultural area that is largely irrigated. At Mettler, the junction follows with State Route 99, the highway that serves the larger towns in the valley. Interstate 5 runs well west of these cities and is therefore fairly quiet. 25 percent of U.S. agricultural products are grown in Californiaproduced, much of it in the San Joaquin Valley. One passes west of Bakersfield, a large town in the south of the valley. The San Joaquin Valley is situated between the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada. The desert is not far away, however, a few kilometers west of the highway the deserts already begin. One also passes well west of Fresno, the largest city in the valley. To the west is San Jose, the largest city in the Bay Area. A connecting motorway to this, however, is located a bit more to the north.
At Vernalis, Interstate 580 turns off, which is the gateway to the San Francisco Bay Area, to the suburban cities of Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco. At Tracy, Interstate 205 merges, coming from this direction. A few miles down the road, State Route 120 turns off, a short highway that leads to SR-99 at Manteca. Next up is Stockton, the first major city since Los Angeles. Here it crosses State Route 4, the Crosstown Freeway, which leads to SR-99, the other north-south junction in the valley, which is only a few miles to the east here.
This is followed by the metropolitan area of Sacramento, the capital of California. Sacramento has a relatively small highway network given the size of its population. The highway here runs parallel to the Sacramento River. The highway soon has 2×4 lanes. South of the center you cross the US 50, which has been developed here as a highway and leads to the eastern suburbs and the Sierra Nevada. I-5 then cuts straight through downtown. On the north side, one crosses Interstate 80, which leads to San Franciscoin the west and Reno in the east. To the north of this are also many new residential areas. On the north side of town, SR-99 exits toward Yuba City. I-5 then heads east a little, past the Sacramento Airport.
I-5 overlooking Mount Shasta in Northern California.
Sacramento is the last major city in California on the Interstate 5 route, although there is still 450 kilometers to go to the Oregon border . At Woodland, State Route merges with 113, which comes from Davis. The landscape still consists of agricultural areas. A little further on, Interstate merges 505, which is a shortcut between I-5 and I-80. The highway here runs through the great Sacramento Valley. There are few larger towns along the way and to the west are the Coast Ranges. The road passes west of Yuba City and Chico. At Red Bluff, the farming areas end and the wildernesses that span much of Northern California begin.
Here the motorway also begins a slow climb. Clearly visible from the highway is the 3,187 meter high Lassen Peak. The last bigger place is Redding. A section with 2×3 lanes has been constructed here. A bridge leads over the large reservoir Lake Shasta. This is also a large recreational area. There are now vast forests and wildernesses along the highway. One crosses another branch of Lake Shasta and comes near the Cascades, an elongated mountain range that extends to the Canadian border. The highway still ascends, although the climb is not steep. Constantly visible is the 4,317 meter high Mount Shasta. One then enters the Klamath Mountains, part of the Coast Ranges. The highway is scenically very beautiful, and at one point the difference in height between the two lanes is almost 100 meters. One then reaches the limit withOregon. At Hilt, Interstate 5 in Oregon continues toward Medford and Portland.