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Good safe paved climbs?

Old 08-30-21, 08:59 PM
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EricOnHisBike
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Good safe paved climbs?

Can anyone give me some ideas for safe paved climbs?

I'm looking for something 25 - 65 miles with over 2000 of gain. I recently went up and over Old Blewett Pass highway and that was great and would work as an Out And Back. I rode a little bit on the mainline of new Blewett and that was a bit much in terms of traffic.

I'm in the Bellevue area, but am willing to drive.
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Old 08-30-21, 10:46 PM
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25 miles with 2000 ft of ascent is not exactly a climb, 65 miles with 2000 ft is basically flat. From Bellevue you're already super close to Cougar, Squak, and Tiger Mountains. It was more than 5000 ft of elevation gain just riding from my house in Seattle to Squak and Cougar.
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Old 08-31-21, 01:24 PM
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There are lots of climbs in Washington but most have a fair amount of traffic If you are willing to drive a bit and have flexibility when you can ride you can find some quieter roads.

The roads up and around Rainier are all great climbs and are relatively low traffic if you can go on a weekday and early in the morning before the tourists show up. I like the combo of Cayuse/Chinook out and back combined with Sunrise. Stevens Canyon and Ashford to Paradise are nice if you get an early start. No shoulders so I wouldn't go on a weekend or later in the day.

Mt. St. Helens has good climbs, both Johnson Ridge and Windy Ridge. Windy Ridge is more remote and can be done partially as a loop, the road is rough in places but traffic is low. Johnson Ridge isn't too bad traffic-wise with an early start an there is a shoulder.

There are lots of climbs in Eastern Washington. Lions Rock outside of Ellensburg, steep forest service road. Wenatchee has Mission Ridge and Badger Mountain among others. Chelan area has a lot of climbing, including McNeil Canyon. Look up the Chelan Century, all three loops have plenty of climbing.

The Methow Valley has the climb up to Washington Pass from Mazama or Winthrop. The traffic can be bad on weekends but there is a shoulder. I don't care much for the climb coming from the other side, seems like the traffic is worse and there are some narrow sections. Over in the Methow you can climb up Sun Mountain or Loop Loop Pass from Winthrop or Twisp. Also the Chewuch road has several climbs coming off of it of varying lengths and difficulty plus it is low traffic.

This site has has a lot of the states climbs listed with information.
https://pjammcycling.com/zone/67.Washington

There are several organized rides where you can ride climbs car free annually. Ride the Hurricane is in August and is the one I've done the most, the road is closed to cars until noon. The Mt. Baker Hill Climb is coming up in September, great ride if the weather holds. Two years ago the descent was horrible in cold wet conditions, hoping for better weather this year. If you want to drive further Crest the Cascades in Sisters Oregon every June is a great ride that is mostly car free over McKenzie Pass, if you do the full over and back you get 74 miles and 6,000+' of climbing.

If you want something farther afield Oregon and California have a lot more low traffic roads. This guy has put together a dream list of climbs, we've only done a few but they've all been excellent.
Home Page - Jay's Essential Bike Rides

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Old 09-01-21, 02:28 PM
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Most of the ones that come to mind are far from here. Unfortunately, like you, I've found that maps aren't completely reliable in terms of what's paved and what isn't - also that it really sucks to drive to a ride you can't do. Sometimes roads on maps don't even exist (sometimes anymore). I like riding in good scenery and find a lot of places I bring my bike by also being a hiker. I'll drive to a trail, and want to come back and ride there too. 🙂 Sometimes you can find good info about road conditions on hiking sites because people want to know if their Prius will make it

If you're willing to make a weekend of it, Totes Coulee Road would make a fantastic climbing ride. Outside Tonasket. You can gain something like 6,500' over 30 miles? And not see anyone?

I'll second the Chewuch Roads. Falls Creek is paved to the end. It just burned, I don't know what it's like now. Again very low traffic.

Washington Pass from Mazama is great in a weekday until the afternoon. Cutthroat and the Overlook are good side trips.

Locally, I've heard Tiger Mountain is good.
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Old 09-01-21, 02:29 PM
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Thanks busygizmo, there are a lot of great sounding rides there. I'm embarrassed to say with your prompting I now remember a lot of those from earlier days of driving for fun. I need to rack my brain a bit more carefully before asking next time as I have in the distant past ridden the Pedal the Pinchot and the Tour de Blast.

Where do you park for riding in the Rainier area? The only place I could think of was Ranger Creek.
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Old 09-01-21, 11:14 PM
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Typically we park just inside the White River entrance in the small parking lot. We ride out of the park and up Cayuse Pass. From there Iíve ridden part of the way or all the way to the Stevenís Canyon entrance, then back up Cayuse and up to Chinook Pass. Then back to the White River entrance and up to Sunrise. Then itís mostly downhill back to the car. You can add or subtract miles. A friend used to include the climb up to Crystal and go all the way to Paradise when he was training for RAMROD.

Weíve also parked at the Stevenís Canyon entrance and done the out and back to Paradise. A couple of years ago we rented a cabin at the Copper Creek in Ashford to get an early start to ride up to Paradise from that side.

As long as you donít mind out and back rides you can make the rides as long or short as you want and thereís climbing galore. The scenery is great and most of the roads are in good shape but traffic can be horrible if you pick the wrong day or time.

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Old 09-02-21, 06:59 AM
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Sherman Pass from Republic. IIRC, highest paved road in WA. And I think Loup Loup is harder E-W.

And if you really want to drive, the Rim Road around Crater Lake in OR. Make it more challenging by riding up from Ft. Klamath or Diamond Lake, or even Prospect if you are really sick in the head.

Here is the profile for the Diamond Lake start/finish. When I got done circling the lake I didn't want to go down hill for 12 miles. I just wanted off the bike.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
CRATER LAKE RIM ROAD.pdf (364.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 09-03-21, 05:43 PM
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The Crater Lake rim ride is great. It isn't one climb, but it has lots of climbing. You absolutely can't beat the views

The ride up 542 to Mt. Baker is a serious climb and not that much traffic since the road is a dead end. If you really want no traffic there is usually a week when Sunrise road is open to bikes but not cars and often a few days when the North Cascades Highway is also.

Riding on Orcas Island is also not one big climb, but if you include a ride up Mt. Constitution there is a ton of climbing. During the week there are very few cars, even in the summer.
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Old 09-05-21, 04:09 PM
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Reecer Creek Rd./FS3500 above Ellensburg is one of my favorites. The climb starts gently at Smithson Rd./US97 but really ramps up as you get higher. From Smithson/US97, it's about a 3800 ft. climb in 15 miles. The last half of the climb the grade never really goes below 8%. It's paved all the way to the top, although once in the National Forest the road is only single lane. The views are tremendous. There is not a lot of shade so you won't want to do this climb on a hot day. If you want more, the climb continues on gravel another 4 miles/~800 feet out to Lion Rock, which is a tremendous viewpoint. This is really a stunning climb, but it's not an easy climb.

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Old 09-05-21, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Sherman Pass from Republic. IIRC, highest paved road in WA.
It's there highest paved mountain pass in WA and may have been the highest pavement overall at some point. Sunrise, on Rainier, is paved to 6,400'.

Sherman Pass is lovely, and the entire ride from Republic is very scenic. There are some broad views in both directions. But if you're uncomfortable riding in traffic, this might be a pucker fest. Logging trucks can be scary. 😳 This might be one for a weekend?
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Old 09-06-21, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
It's there highest paved mountain pass in WA and may have been the highest pavement overall at some point. Sunrise, on Rainier, is paved to 6,400'.

Sherman Pass is lovely, and the entire ride from Republic is very scenic. There are some broad views in both directions. But if you're uncomfortable riding in traffic, this might be a pucker fest. Logging trucks can be scary. 😳 This might be one for a weekend?
Seems my experience from Ď99 and Ď00 might be dated. Left from Republic early morning around the very beginning of June. Almost no traffic. The scariest incident happened during the second crossing. A local out for regular training ride snuck up behind me and said hello. I nearly jumped out of my skin because I had been riding in peace and quiet for so long. The first time there was a little snow while we were eating breakfast, then more descending the east slope. But I was treated to a moose sighting, which was a first for me.
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Old 09-09-21, 09:52 AM
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For a long gentle climb, consider Enumclaw to Crystal Mountain road. 30 miles and 2500ft. Ride all the way to the ski lift base for another six miles a bit steeper.
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Old 10-01-21, 08:10 PM
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From Lake Sammamish there are opportunities for repeats up the Sammamish plateau.

Or Issaquah up to the Zoo.

Off May Valley Road you can go from 425’ to 850’ elevation in 1.75 miles on Cougar Mt.


the May Valley option is a dead end residential road so no traffic issues.


not 2000 continuous feet but close to home.
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Old 02-16-22, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by busygizmo
Typically we park just inside the White River entrance in the small parking lot. We ride out of the park and up Cayuse Pass. From there Iíve ridden part of the way or all the way to the Stevenís Canyon entrance, then back up Cayuse and up to Chinook Pass. Then back to the White River entrance and up to Sunrise. Then itís mostly downhill back to the car. You can add or subtract miles. A friend used to include the climb up to Crystal and go all the way to Paradise when he was training for RAMROD.

Weíve also parked at the Stevenís Canyon entrance and done the out and back to Paradise. A couple of years ago we rented a cabin at the Copper Creek in Ashford to get an early start to ride up to Paradise from that side.

As long as you donít mind out and back rides you can make the rides as long or short as you want and thereís climbing galore. The scenery is great and most of the roads are in good shape but traffic can be horrible if you pick the wrong day or time.
The Mt. Rainier area is a great place to ride and go hiking in as well. To enter Mt. Rainier National Park you will need to pay an entry fee. I usually get an annual park pass. It costs $55 but is good for a year. Actually 13 months if you get the pass on the 1st of the month as it is good until the end of the month of the next year. The pass card is punched by the month and not the day. If you get a single day pass for $30 it is good for seven consecutive days. Keep in mind that the road to Sunrise is only open from around July 1st until about October 15 or early November depending upon the weather. Sometimes you can ride in June on the weekends when the road crews aren't working doing road repair and snow removal. Car free is quite nice! Cayuse and Chinook Pass also close for the winter but are a little bit later and open earlier. Stevens Canyon road also ha opening and closing dates. It's best to check with the road status on the MRNP website.
Fees & Passes - Mount Rainier National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Road Status - Mount Rainier National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
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Old 02-16-22, 03:57 PM
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Down in the Eugene area, the McKenzie Pass (HWY 242) is closed for the winter. However, they tend to plow one lane, and don't complain about cyclists and you may get up to the peak. This time of year, plan an out and back trip.

The pass is much higher from the west side, traveling eastward, and lower from the east side traveling westward.

They tend to open the pass mid-June, so from late May to early June, it can be a cycling playground!!!! But, depending on the weather, you may get up there much earlier.

Originally Posted by indyfabz
And if you really want to drive, the Rim Road around Crater Lake in OR. Make it more challenging by riding up from Ft. Klamath or Diamond Lake, or even Prospect if you are really sick in the head.
There is actually a randonneur ride from Bremerton to Crater Lake.
https://www.seattlerando.org/content...item_id=827542

There is also an annual "Ride the Rim" ride at Crater Lake with half the rim closed to traffic. Two weekends in September.

https://ridetherimoregon.com/

When I went, I started in Eugene, Oregon. Whew!!!
https://www.strava.com/routes/6229282

Route Changes: There is a very nice bike trial along Dorena Lake near Cottage Grove.

It took me about a day and a half to make it up to Crater Lake, and the rim ride was somewhat anticlimactic.

The hill between Culp Creek and Steamboat was intense, but a very low traffic one lane road. It would work for a good stand alone hill climb. Steeper from the Eugene side than the Steamboat side.

The Umpqua Highway is busy, but has good shoulders. The climb from Steamboat to Crater Lake is about 100km, and is pretty unrelenting.

Last edited by CliffordK; 02-16-22 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 02-16-22, 04:04 PM
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For some good urban hill climbs around Portland, try:

RondePDX

It looks like they've mapped out 5 routes around Portland.

Each ride is about 50 miles, and about 7,000 feet of climbing. The rides are free. Different dates, but you can also just go whenever you want using route software and following street markings.

Most of the time you're either going UP or DOWN. And, if going down, then right around the corner, and it is back up again. Lots of climbs around 10%, and a few in the 20% to 30% range.

For me, a half century of hills was adequate for a good ride.

It is mostly paved, but plan on a few short sections of dirt or gravel.
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Old 02-17-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
The pass is much higher from the west side, traveling eastward, and lower from the east side traveling westward.
I'd say the pass is at the same height not matter which direction you ride up. As for difficulty, west to east is definitely harder than east to west. Did both directions during two different Cycle Oregons. Both days were quite beautiful at the summit in mid-September. Descending the west slope can be tricky. Despite a warning from the the ride organizers to exercise care I still saw a few people, including a tandem couple, extricating themselves from the woods along the switchback section.
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Old 02-17-22, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I'd say the pass is at the same height not matter which direction you ride up. As for difficulty, west to east is definitely harder than east to west. Did both directions during two different Cycle Oregons. Both days were quite beautiful at the summit in mid-September. Descending the west slope can be tricky. Despite a warning from the the ride organizers to exercise care I still saw a few people, including a tandem couple, extricating themselves from the woods along the switchback section.
Ok... The absolute elevation is the same. But, the change in elevation is very different.

The elevation of Sister's Oregon on the East side is 3,182 feet.
The elevation of McKenzie Bridge on the West side is 1,200 feet.
The pass Elevation is 5,325 feet.
So, it is 2,143 feet climbing from the East side.
It is 4,125 feet climbing from the West side.



I'm pretty sure I bombed down that hill as a a teenager. But, I've changed my ways as I've gotten older.

The photo above was taken in February a few years ago when I was struggling to find snow. Other people have been up there with 10 feet of snow.

I was part of the crew for Cycle Oregon a few years ago when they did the hill from Steamboat Oregon to Culp Creek/Dorena Oregon (mentioned above). They had a few riders with damaged overheated carbon fiber rims.

One thing to keep in mind when doing passes this time of year. One may encounter snow. As I mentioned above, an out and back trip may be best, so if you get blocked, just turn around and come home.
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Old 02-23-22, 12:27 PM
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Our group rode this last Sunday. Everyone said it was a very good route.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38531482

If you don't have RideWithGPS, you should get an account now. You won't regret it. I have something like 200 routes in the Eastside-Monroe-Snohomish area as well as in the larger Cascades area. You can search for my routes on RWGPS. I don't mind sharing.
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Old 02-23-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by EricOnHisBike
Can anyone give me some ideas for safe paved climbs?

I'm looking for something 25 - 65 miles with over 2000 of gain. I recently went up and over Old Blewett Pass highway and that was great and would work as an Out And Back. I rode a little bit on the mainline of new Blewett and that was a bit much in terms of traffic.

I'm in the Bellevue area, but am willing to drive.
We used to ride there all the time. Traffic has become nuts. It's scary now, used to be plain old fun. Back in the Day.
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Old 02-23-22, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Sherman Pass from Republic. IIRC, highest paved road in WA. And I think Loup Loup is harder E-W.

And if you really want to drive, the Rim Road around Crater Lake in OR. Make it more challenging by riding up from Ft. Klamath or Diamond Lake, or even Prospect if you are really sick in the head.

Here is the profile for the Diamond Lake start/finish. When I got done circling the lake I didn't want to go down hill for 12 miles. I just wanted off the bike.
The 2012 edition of Cycle Oregon went Ft Klamath (I believe; we camped on a rancher's land) up the south entrance, around and down to Prospect. I accidentally added the descent to the northern entrance and had to ride back up it. A long day! But that descent down the north side - serious fun! Two years ago we went up from Diamond Lake. A much easier,shorter day, but again, that descent is fun. (And climbing it is much more fun on fresh legs.)
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Old 02-23-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
The 2012 edition of Cycle Oregon went Ft Klamath (I believe; we camped on a rancher's land) up the south entrance, around and down to Prospect. I accidentally added the descent to the northern entrance and had to ride back up it. A long day! But that descent down the north side - serious fun! Two years ago we went up from Diamond Lake. A much easier,shorter day, but again, that descent is fun. (And climbing it is much more fun on fresh legs.)
I was there in 2012. That was when I saw you early on during the climb up to the rim. And we did camp on ranch land. I have a photo of cow pies near my tent.

The descent to Prospect was fun, but when we got to camp the GF discovered that the jar of BBQ sauce she had bought in camp at Ft. Klamath had broken. You could smell it as soon as she opened her bag. Fortunately, she found a laundry. We ended up eating out that night.
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Old 07-22-23, 12:15 PM
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Haines

Ride from Haines @ 0 elevation to Haines Highway Summit. About 120 miles round trip. Bring passport, water, food, bear spray. Almost no traffic on any day. Can shorten by driving to Customs @40 mile where elevation ~850í.
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Old 07-28-23, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by woodway
Reecer Creek Rd./FS3500 above Ellensburg is one of my favorites. The climb starts gently at Smithson Rd./US97 but really ramps up as you get higher. From Smithson/US97, it's about a 3800 ft. climb in 15 miles. The last half of the climb the grade never really goes below 8%. It's paved all the way to the top, although once in the National Forest the road is only single lane. The views are tremendous. There is not a lot of shade so you won't want to do this climb on a hot day. If you want more, the climb continues on gravel another 4 miles/~800 feet out to Lion Rock, which is a tremendous viewpoint. This is really a stunning climb, but it's not an easy climb.
Granted I am bringing up an old thread, well actually Mc2 did that. Thanks Woodway for being one of the few that correctly identifies this climb. Many call it Lion's Rock which is as you said up the road a bit and actually on a spur road. The oiled road turns to gravel where Wilson Creek cuts off. If you go beyond the intersection where the spur going west to Lions Rock the road becomes much worse and can take you all the way to Wenatchee or the next left will drop you back down to Swauk Pass (now called Blewett) or Liberty depending on your choice at intersections. On the paved section right after the 3rd cattle guard if you go straight along First Creek tit is paved for IIRC about another 5 miles, although strewn with potholes.

Old Blewett out and back from Ingals Creek, over the old road to where it hits 97 and back is a good ride, although pretty dry. The shoulders along 97 in that area are wide. Extend to Dryden for more miles and a bit more false flat. There are lots of low traffic roads in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties that have hills, although I have not cycled any of those. Driven many.

A loop Grand Coulee to Nespelem, then over Cache Creek, across the Keller Ferry then up the hill and back to your start is all paved and mostly low traffic although much longer.

Vantage to the PSE wind farm is a good climb paved on low traffic roads if done early in the day.

I could go on and on. Add in mixed surfaces on a CX or gravel bike and the opportunities increase.
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Old 07-28-23, 01:27 PM
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woodway
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Originally Posted by Black wallnut
If you go beyond the intersection where the spur going west to Lions Rock the road becomes much worse and can take you all the way to Wenatchee or the next left will drop you back down to Swauk Pass (now called Blewett) or Liberty depending on your choice at intersections
I try to do the Reecer climb a couple of times per year. Man it's a ball-buster!

I've ridden up to Lion Rock from Blewett Pass on my Mountain Bike. The road was so bad in places I had to get off and push a Mountain Bike! Very nice ride in the fall, the larches are amazing.
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