These paved roads take you to the edge of the coast, through forests and deserts to get you to spots with the highest elevation in California.
See maps for each road below.
Elevation = 10,238 feet - Rock Creek Road, Inyo County, Inyo National Forest
Starting to the west of Highway 395 (about 250 miles southeast of Sacramento), Rock Creek Road will take you 3,197 feet higher in elevation is just 10.4 miles! It earns its title as the "highest paved road in California" with grades up to 10-15% - the average bring around 5.79%. This scenic road runs up and through a narrow mountain valley, ending at Little Lakes Valley Trail Park.
Winter weather keeps the road closed until May and sometimes early June
Elevation = 10,072 feet - Horseshoe Meadow, Inyo County, Lone Pine
This steep 19 miles of road is filled with switchbacks and an average 6.9% grade. Travelers of this road are treated to incredible views of the lower Eastern Sierras and western Nevada before arriving at Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead.
Elevation = 9,624 feet - Sonora Pass, Tuolumne County, Toiyabe National Forest
Probably one of the oldest roads still in use. The Sonora Pass, situated along Highway 108, dates back to the 1860s. At 63-miles long, the Pass offers a gradual climb in elevation, and since the area gets heavy snowfall, it's closed during winter.
Elevation = 9,219 feet - Onion Valley Road, Inyo County, Independence
This 13-mile has lots of switchbacks and incredible views of the Owens Valley. While not the highest on the list, it's one of the steepest you'll find as the last 10 miles of this 13-mile road averaging an 8% grade.
Elevation = 9,184 feet - Kaiser Pass, Fresno County, Sierra National Forest
This 22-mile road is very narrow and twisty road, but also increible beautiful. Kaiser Pass takes you through alpine forests, meadows, hot springs, rockfaces, and lakes.
For those that like to get in the gravel, here's a list of the highest unpaved roads in California.