Devil's Slide is a name given to a steep, rocky coastal promontory located about midway between Montara and the Linda Mar District of Pacifica. The terrain is characterized by steep, eroded slopes with natural gradients ranging between 30 and 50%. There are small coastal valleys throughout along the major drainages within the Montara Mountain watershed. The soils in these valleys are deep and moderately well drained and have developed along the low terraces and alluvial fans of the stream channels.
The climate of the area is Mediterranean with a strong maritime influence. The temperature range is narrow both seasonally and diurnally, while air moisture is relatively high. Extremely dense northern coastal scrub covers most of the locale, especially over San Pedro Mountain and along the steeper foot slopes of Montara Mountain. Small grassy openings and barren rocky areas are scattered throughout the scrub areas. The inland area holds other types of vegetation including aquatic and coastal freshwater marshes/seeps, willow riparian scrub, coastal grassland, non-native forest, and pasture/ranch uses/non-native brushland. The endangered species Hickman's potentilla occurs on the slopes above Martini Creek at up to 430 feet (130 m) elevation.
Immediately east of Devil's Slide is a former stretch of California State Route 1, famous for closures and landslides, which also was called "Devil's Slide". Construction of the road began in 1935 and was completed in 1936, replacing the steep, narrow, and winding Pedro Mountain Road. It was known for landslides and erosion that often occur during winter storms, sometimes making the road impassable.
The first major landslide destroyed much of the road in 1940. Another large slide in 1995 forced the road's closure for almost two years. Most recently, in April 2006, the road began to develop large longitudinal cracks in the roadbed, indicating an imminent slide and forcing the highway's closure for five months as CalTrans worked to stabilize the slide. It was this closure that encouraged locals to lobby for an alternate route through the mountainside via a pair of tunnels that would completely bypass Devil's Slide.
On March 25, 2013, Caltrans shut down the landslide-prone coastal road, replacing it with the Tom Lantos Tunnels, which take the highway through the promontory behind the precarious cliffs. On March 27, 2014 the 1.3-mile (2.1 km)-long Devil's Slide Trail was opened to pedestrians and bicyclists, taking over the section of roadway formerly used by State Route 1 and now bypassed by the new tunnels. The total cost to convert the highway to a trail was US$1,991,525 (equivalent to $2,142,000 in 2018).
The Devil's Slide was used in a key scene of the 1960 thriller Portrait in Black with Lana Turner and Anthony Quinn. Turner and Quinn portrayed doomed lovers who deliberately pushed a car, containing the body of a murdered man, over the edge of the cliff. The Universal crew obtained permission from the State of California to stage the scene, which involved retrieving the car from the bottom of the cliff once the scene had been successfully filmed. The San Mateo Times printed a photograph of the filming of this sequence.
Devil's Slide was the location of a military triangulation station and observation site used during World War II as part of the harbor defense of San Francisco. Prior to the advent of radar, military personnel used binoculars and compasses to search for ships at sea and relay their coordinates to a central post. By combining information from multiple observation posts, a ship's precise location could be determined by triangulation. There were six military structures at the Devil's Slide: three concrete and steel observation pill-boxes, two concrete and earth bunkers, and a reinforced steel observation tower. The pill-boxes were used as hardened observation posts, and one of the bunkers was used as a communications and command post. The southernmost bunker site was sold to a private owner in 1983, but some of the exposed structure remains.
Devil's Slide is the name of several geological formations. It may refer to:
Devil's Slide (California), a promontory in the San Francisco Bay Area
Devil's Slide (Utah), a rock formation in Utah
Devil's Slide (Montana), a rock formation in Montana
A portion of the Old Santa Susana Stage Road in Southern California
A rock formation on the Hawaiian island of Nihoa
Teufelsrutsch, a rock formation in GermanyEscarpment
An escarpment, or scarp, is a steep slope or long cliff that forms as a result of faulting or erosion and separates two relatively level areas having different elevations. Usually scarp and scarp face are used interchangeably with escarpment.
Some sources differentiate the two terms, however, where escarpment refers to the margin between two landforms (while scarp remains synonymous with a cliff or steep slope). In this usage an escarpment is a ridge which has a gentle slope on one side and a steep scarp on the other side.
More loosely, the term scarp also describes a zone between a coastal lowland and a continental plateau which shows a marked, abrupt change in elevation caused by coastal erosion at the base of the plateau.Tom Lantos Tunnels
The Tom Lantos Tunnels are two tunnels located within the coastal promontory of Devil's Slide in California, United States, allowing State Route 1 to bypass the treacherous Devil's Slide stretch. They are officially named after late Congressman Tom Lantos, who was instrumental in securing funding for the project, but de facto named after their location.
The Devil's Slide tunnels, as they are usually called, are the second and third longest road tunnels in California at 4,149 ft (1,265 m) northbound, and 4,008 ft (1,222 m) southbound. By comparison the longest road tunnel currently in California, the Wawona Tunnel on Highway 41 in Yosemite National Park, is 4,233 ft (1,290 m).