The numeral 395 has a ring to San Diego locals.

Younger drivers in the community might know it from the “Old Highway 395” exit on Interstate 15 north of Escondido, or, as they head to Las Vegas, one of the roads that heads north of I-15 around Hesperia.

For older folks, it is a number from the past, one of San Diego’s main highways and one of the three US highways that once ended in San Diego (and by the way, San Diego is the largest city in the country with no US-designated highways still in existance).

Today, you’ll know what was once the southern end of this once nearly Mexico-to-Canada route as California Highway 163 and, north of MCAS Miramar, Interstate 15. It also wound its way through downtown San Diego to its terminus.

A road geek out there by the name of Cameron Kaiser put together a detailed study of US 395, including a swell page on San Diego County. He documents some routes I didn’t know, such as a swing to Mission Bay and Linda Vista, as well as a drive up Fairmount Avenue from El Cajon Boulevard. So here’s something for the road geek in all of us.

I haven’t tracked US 395 in my Union-Tribune Weekend Driver column since 2003. Maybe it’s time I went back.


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