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  1. #1
    jago Guest

    Default palm springs to laguna

    hi all,
    second trip this year out west, we are lucky!!
    and this one takes us from LAX to palm springs
    to laguna beach over easter week.
    i would like any recommends on the best scenic drive from PS to Laguna.
    looks like a combo of 371 79 then it gets a little sticky according to the maps.
    i would finish up on ortega hwy 74 near capistrano and then quick up the coast to laguna. make sense?
    is there a messy middle to this little ride?

    and a hint on getting out of lax to palm would be appreciated.
    should i just shoot up 405 to I10 all the way out?

    thanks, this forum's been great!

  2. Default Comments..

    When do you arrive at LAX?

    The reason for asking this is rush hour traffic. 405 to the I-10 to PS is a pretty direct route, but takes you through downtown LA where there are 6 or 8 freeways that junction. This means traffic can be very frustrating at rush hour.

    An alternative route would be to take the 105 east from LAX to the 605, then the 605 north to the 60, and then east on the 60 to hook up with the I-10 at Banning. That avoids downtown, and if memory serves there are "diamond lanes" or carpool lanes pretty much the entire route. (I know there are on the 105, the 605, and most of the length of the 60). Diamond Lanes are lanes located in the center of the freeway with limited access to enter or exit them, and they are by law limited to vehicles with 2 or more drivers. Typically they can double your speed at rush hour, but you need at least two people in the vehicle to use it (with the except of a few electric/ hybrid cars), and since they are limited access into or out of, you need to be aware of where you are if you need to make a junction (since you usually want to get out of the carpool lane a couple of miles prior to the junction).

    From Palm Springs back to Laguna, there are a couple of possible scenic routes. I sounds like you're picking the most direct/ scenic route -- which shows on my map, as the Palms-to-Pines highway (CA 74) out of Palm Desert, then across the Cahullia Indian Reservation on 371, to hook up with CA 79 at Aguanga, and then west to hook up with I-15 at Temecula. After a short northerly job on the I-15, its then back on CA-74 and over the coastal range on Ortega Highway, which takes you out at San Juan Capistrano and the I-5. For the most scenic route, I would hook south on the I-5 a couple of miles and catch Coast Highway (Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH 1) at Dana Point, and come up the coast into Laguna Beach from the south. You should be warned this isn't superhighways -- 90+% of this route is going to be on 2 lane, paved local highways with stop lights at major junctions, etc. It's going to take I'd guess 4 hours or so to get to Laguna.

    There are a bunch of different variations on this, and some of interesting places along the way, depending upon how much time you have and what your inclinations are.

  3. #3
    jago Guest


    hi thanks for the response..

    we should be out of LAX around noon..i thought it would be
    a relatively quiet time.
    last trip we went from santa monica all the way out on I10 to I15
    without a hitch, same time of day, so i thought it doable from LAX.
    but i'll check out your alternate too..

    re the PS to laguna run you have that pretty much pinned down to my mapped out route.
    google says just over 3 hrs, i dont mind taking a full
    morning to make that ride.

    any good ideas for a stop on the way? i may post new thread on that stuff.
    we have 2 weeks to go.

    regards and thanks , john.

  4. Default Places to stop?

    Most of the places I was thinking about, come in 2 categories

    On the current route --
    - Palms to Pines highway has a couple of spectacular lookout points over the desert
    - Temecula is home to several pretty good wineries, if you want to stop and visit (a few miles off the direct route, but pretty close)
    - There are numerous Indian Casinos on the Indian Reservations, so you'll be going past several. One of the largest is the Pechanga one, near Temecula (right off 79).
    - There's another overlook above Lake Elsinore, overlooking that valley.
    - Dana Point (named for Richard Henry Dana, who wrote about this area in "3 years before the mast" has a pretty good, although small, Marine Institute and there's a natural preserve right next to the bluffs behind the Institute for checking out the tide pools.

    If you take a slightly more southerly route (hook south on 79 to Warner Springs and then take 76 west), this has a couple of other places
    - Palomar Mountain, home of one of the worlds largest Telescopes
    - Pala Indian Reservation, with a very nice Spanish Mission Church (this isn't a full mission, but a very nice satellite church)
    - Pala Indian Casino (another big Casino...)
    - Mission San Luis Rey. This was the largest, and arguably, most successful of all the Spanish Missions in California. It's pretty much fully restored, and about a mile off 76.

    There are a couple of other places around, but more hidden. This area has produced semi-precious and precious gems for about a century and a half, and there are several mines (including ones where you dig through material) and a couple of interesting gem stores, if that's your thing.

    If you take a more southerly route before coming up the steep mountains from the desert, you can visit the Salton Sea and Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and possibly Julian, an old mining town in the mountains. etc etc..

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