Located in the Mojave Desert, the pass is an important link from the Greater San Bernardino Area to the Victor Valley, and northeast to Las Vegas.Cajon Pass is at the head of Horsethief Canyon, traversed by California State Route 138 (SR 138) and railroad tracks owned by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.The wind in this area is predominantly out of the west, although in Santa Ana and other weather conditions it may be out of the north or the southeast.
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Railroad improvements in 1972 reduced its maximum elevation from about 3,829 feet (1,167 m) to 3,777 feet (1,151 m) In 1851, a group of Mormon settlers led by Amasa M. Rich traveled through the Cajon Pass in covered wagons on their way from Salt Lake City to southern California.
A prominent rock formation in the pass, where the Mormon trail and the railway merge (at The weather over the pass can vary, from foggy days with poor visibility to clear afternoons where aircraft are bounced by gusting Santa Ana winds that top 80 mph (130 km/h).
On a normal day, with the wind out of the west, turbulence usually starts a few miles west of Rialto and continues a few miles to the east, growing in strength above the altitude of the mountains and especially over the pass near the HITOP intersection.
In Santa Ana conditions, up- and downdrafts can become especially violent northeast of Ontario Airport, and turbulence can be experienced all the way east to the Banning Pass, well known for turbulence.
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