10 Intense Hill Climb Challenges for Cyclists | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Hill climbs test a cyclist's endurance and skill.
  • Iconic ascents offer both challenge and scenery.
  • Preparation is key for these intense climbs.

Conquering steep ascents on two wheels is your kind of adrenaline rush, isn't it?

Picture this: you, your bike, and a challenging peak ahead.

Ready for leg-burning climbs and breathtaking views?

These hill climbs offer unforgettable rides.

Whether you've got your sights set on a notorious Californian ascent or a volcanic behemoth in Hawaii, each climb promises a thrilling blend of pain and triumph.

You're a cyclist seeking excitement and accomplishment, and you know the value of preparation and determination.

From the legendary slopes of Colorado to the beast of a climb in North Carolina, this article is your gateway to some of the most intense cycling challenges in America.



The Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, Colorado

Have you ever dreamed of cycling to the sky?

If you're the type who finds regular hill climbs too tame, the Bob Cook Memorial Mt.

Evans Hill Climb might just be your ticket to an elevating challenge.


July 20, 2024

Distance and Elevation:

  • 27.4 miles long
  • A staggering 6,700' vertical gain

Here's a peek at what you're up against:

  • Starting Point: Idaho Springs, Colorado
  • Finish Line: Mt. Evans's summit at over 14,000 feet

Picture this: You're pedaling vigorously against the thin mountain air, surrounded by panoramic views that most will only see in postcards.

This is not your typical weekend ride; it's a battle against gravity on North America's highest paved road.

Key Details Information
Road to Conquer: Mt. Evans Scenic Byway
Record to Beat: Bob Cook's 1:54:27
Experience Level: For both seasoned racers and riders looking for their next big adventure
Registration Info: Sign-ups are welcomed; keep an eye out for it to open

This climb tests your limits and rewards you with the kind of satisfaction only found at the pinnacle of a mountain.

Whether you're in it to set a record or to simply reach new heights in your cycling career, this climb is a must-add to your list.

Don't forget to prepare: the altitude is unforgiving, but the glory is endless.

Gear up and mark your calendars, your Everest awaits at the Bob Cook Memorial Mt.

Evans Hill Climb!

The Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, New Hampshire

Have you ever imagined riding your bike to the clouds?

The Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb isn't just a challenge; it's a journey to the highest peak in the Northeast.

Located in New Hampshire, this beastly race pushes you to conquer Mount Washington, a formidable opponent standing at 6,288 feet.

Think you've got what it takes?

  • Distance: 7.6 miles
  • Average Grade: 12%

This ride is no Sunday park jaunt.

With an incline that laughs in the face of faint-hearted cyclists, you'll pedal through a continuous uphill battle.

The 12% average grade over the 7.6-mile course is enough to make even the seasoned climbers take a deep breath.

But wait, it can get steeper—up to 22% gradients at certain stretches.

Are your legs burning yet?

Organized by the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, the event isn't just about pushing your limits; it's also about giving back to nature conservation efforts.

So, you'll be panting for a cause!

Here's what you need to know:

  • Event Date: August 17, 2024 (Rain date: August 18)
  • Important: Descending by bike isn't allowed, so make sure you have a ride down.

Ready to tackle one of the Top 10 Hill Climb Challenges in the U.S. for 2019?

This race has a history of grit and triumph, with the most illustrious winning a fourth title.

So, gear up, set your sights on the summit, and prepare to earn your bragging rights at the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb.

Your adventure to the sky begins here!

The Assault on Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina

Hey there, cycling enthusiast!

Have you heard about The Assault on Mt.


It's not just any hill climb—it's a marathon of a ride stretching a whopping 102.7 miles from Spartanburg, South Carolina, all the way up to the summit of Mt.


And guess what?

That's the downright majestic highest peak east of the Mississippi!

Ready to test your mettle on this intense uphill journey?

Here's the scoop:

  • Distance: 102.7 miles
  • Total Vertical Ascent: Over 10,000 feet

Imagine pedaling over hill and dale, sweat beading on your brow, as you conquer each mile.

What's in store for you?

A self-paced challenge designed to push your limits.

But the views?

Absolutely worth it.

You'll glide along the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway before reaching the sky-piercing summit of Mt.


Keep in mind, though:

  • Cyclists must hit the Blue Ridge Parkway by 2:15 p.m.
  • You need to reach Mt. Mitchell Parkway (rest stop #9) by 4:00 p.m.

Also, be aware there's a final cutoff.

All participants need to cross the finish line by 5:30 p.m. Don't worry; just keep those legs pumping, and watch the time!

Thinking of joining on May 20, 2024?

Be one of the nearly 800 riders from around the globe who take on this beast annually.

And hey, they call it “The Beast of the East” for a reason!

So, buckle up your helmet, grab your bike, and let's see if you have what it takes to master The Assault on Mt.


See you at the top!

Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb, Colorado

Have you ever dreamt of conquering a mountain on two wheels?

Then mark your calendar for the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb.

This challenging event puts your pedal power to the test as you climb the legendary Pikes Peak in Colorado.

Date: August 10, 2024

Location: Pikes Peak - America's Mountain, Colorado

Why Ride Pikes Peak?

It's not just any hill climb; it's a journey up the same 12.42-mile course used for the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb auto race.

You'll be tackling one of America's most epic bike climbs—a true test of endurance and skill.

What to Expect

  • Elevation: The start line is at 9,390 feet, and you'll ascend to a breathtaking 14,115 feet.
  • Distance: A full-throttle 12.42 miles.
  • Sanctioning: USA Cycling ensures a competitive and fair race environment.

Who Can Participate?

  • Medal Categories: There are multiple categories, so cyclists of all skill levels can participate.
  • Open to All: Whether you're an amateur or a seasoned pro, there's a spot for you.

Ready for the Challenge?

Don your helmet and join the ranks of those who've experienced the thrill of Pikes Peak.

With each pedal stroke, push your limits and elevate your cycling bucket list.

And remember, when you're gasping for air with the summit in sight, it's not just the altitude—it's the attitude that'll carry you to the top!

Haleakalā Volcano, Hawaii

Have you ever dreamed of cycling up a volcano?

Haleakalā Volcano on Maui offers you just that: an epic ride that will leave your legs burning and your heart soaring.

This ride isn't just a workout; it's a journey through diverse landscapes that ends with breathtaking views from over 10,000 feet above sea level.

Here's what you need to know about this unique hill climb challenge.

At a Glance:

  • Elevation: 10,023 feet
  • Length: 35.5 - 57 km (depends on the route)
  • Average Grade: Approximately 5.4%
  • Duration: 2.5 - 10 hours (average time of 5 hours)

Pro Tip: The weather can change quickly as you ascend, so packing layers is key to staying comfortable all the way up.

The Climb:

  • Starting from sea level, the ride stretches over 36 paved miles.
  • You'll face consistent gradients with an average of 5.4%, so pace yourself.
  • The route includes over 30 hairpin turns, demanding focus and endurance.
  • As you push through the cloud line and reach the summit, the sweeping views are your reward.

What's Special About It?

  • Haleakalā means "House of the Sun," and the sunrise from the summit is legendary.
  • On clear days, you can even see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island.

Remember, it's not a race (unless you want it to be).

Enjoy the ride, take in the views, and appreciate every pedal stroke of this incredible climb.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Mount Lemmon, Arizona

Have you heard about the Mount Lemmon climb?

It's not just a pedal through the park – this Arizona giant will test your endurance and treat your eyes.

Starting in the desert climate at nearly 3,000 feet, you'll face over 30 miles of incline before reaching the chilly heights at the summit.

Route Highlights:

  • Starting Elevation: Just under 3,000 feet
  • Length of Ascent: About 30 miles
  • Steepest Grade: 8.1% for the final 2.6 miles
  • Unique Segment: A refreshing -4.2% descent for 2.1 miles at mile 21.2

Climb Experience:

  • Expect a moderate challenge with an average grade of 4-6%. Your reward? A view that shifts from towering Saguaro cacti to extraordinary rock formations and ends with cool pine forests.
  • Remember that the final push is the toughest – a leg-burning 8.1% grade near the summit. Are you ready for it?
  • Cool down during the ride with two descent sections, perfect for catching your breath amidst the ascent.

Mount Lemmon is a true behemoth, stretching 45 km in length.

The journey weaves through a high altitude landscape, so your lungs will feel the climb as much as your legs.

Estimated Ride Time:

4.5 - 5.5 hours for the 60-mile round trip.

Consider turning right near Summerhaven if you've got more gas in the tank to reach the Ski Resort.

So, you're looking for an epic climb?

Mount Lemmon is waiting.

When will you take on this challenge?

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Hey, have you ever fancied a ride in the clouds?

Mauna Kea is calling your name.

This isn't just any hill climb – it's a beast that will test your lungs and legs to the max.

Starting from sea level, you'll pedal your way to nearly 14,000 feet.

Imagine tackling one of the most intense climbs on earth – and you can brag about it later!

  • Altitude Challenge: Starting at sea level, climb to almost 14,000 feet
  • Distance: An epic 42-mile journey

Ever heard of a road with a gradient that just won't quit?

On Mauna Kea, the numbers speak loud and proud:

  • Average Gradient: 6.1%
  • Oxygen Reduction: Up to 42% less at the summit

Split into two main parts, the ride begins on the Saddle Road – a gentler introduction before the real test.

  1. Highway Ascent: Initial climb out of Hilo leading up to the Mauna Kea Access Road
  2. Access Road Climb: The final stretch, ushering you to the observatories

Let's break it down, shall we?

Section Distance Average Gradient Notable Features
From Hilo to Saddle Road ~30 miles Varies The warm-up
Mauna Kea Access Road 14.5 miles 9.5% Where the challenge peaks

Riders recommend support – and that's no joke.

With thinner air and steep roads, this is one climb where company is just as important as your trusty water bottle.

Remember Doug Jansen, the hill junkie?

He reckons Mauna Kea is a serious trial.

And for those who thrive on stats – on December 30, 2023, a new Strava record was set right here.

So, are you up for the Mauna Kea challenge?

Your cycling bucket list awaits!

Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, New York

Have you been looking for a cycling challenge that will test your stamina and give you bragging rights?

The Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race is just the adventure you're searching for!

Held in Wilmington, New York, this race isn't just a casual ride in the park—it's a journey to the summit of New York's fifth highest peak.

Imagine tackling an 8% average grade climb that stretches over 11 miles.

Yes, that's right, it won't be easy, but the panoramic views of the Adirondacks, New England, and even Canada from the top are the perfect reward for your hard effort.

Tick these essentials off your list:

  • Date: Saturday, June 1
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. start
  • Distance: 11 miles

What's more, you'll be ascending 3,500 feet on the scenic Veterans Memorial Highway.

It's not just a race; it's an experience that will have you cycling through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the northeast United States.

If you're wondering how you'll fare amongst other cyclists, know that this event is part of the challenging BUMPS series.

Keen to be a part of this?

Dust off your bike, start training, and make sure you're ready for an unforgettable ride through the clouds!

Here’s what awaits:

  • Conquer the 3,500 feet elevation.
  • Be part of the renowned BUMPS challenge.
  • Earn the views from atop New York’s 5th highest peak.

So, mark your calendar, set your training goals, and get ready to pedal your way to an accomplishment that’ll make every future hill seem like a molehill.

Can't wait to see you at the starting line!

Mount Diablo Challenge, California

Have you ever wanted to push your limits and see just how much you can accomplish on two wheels?

Enter the Mount Diablo Challenge: a true test of endurance and determination.

This isn't your average Sunday ride; we're talking about a 10.8-mile uphill battle against gravity, taking you to a staggering 3,249 feet above sea level at the summit of Mount Diablo.

The Route:

  • Starting Point: South Gate Road
  • Distance: 10.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,249 feet

Imagine pedaling up a winding road, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of one of California's most iconic landscapes.

With every turn, you're not only conquering the mountain but also joining the ranks of over 800 cyclists who take on this challenge each year.

2024 Event Highlights:

  • Date: Sunday, October 6, 2024
  • Age Range: 6 to 87 years old
  • Finishers Last Year: 838 heroic cyclists
  • Support: A big high-five to the 9 sponsors, 20 vendors, and 150 volunteers!

What's even cooler?

The road is closed just for the event, ensuring you can focus on your ride without any traffic worries.

So, are you ready to join the league of extraordinary cyclists and tackle the Mount Diablo Challenge?

Dust off your bike, start your training, and mark your calendar.

What a way to spend a day, right?

It's not just about the summit, it's about every pedal stroke that gets you there.

See you at the top!

Hillclimb World Championships, California

Have you ever imagined pushing your limits up a winding mountain road, with crowds cheering you on to the finish line?

Well, the Hillclimb World Championships in sunny California might just be your perfect challenge!

When and Where?

  • Date: Annually, typically in October.
  • Location: Santa Barbara, California, on the iconic Gibraltar Road.

The Course

  • Elevation Gain: Nearly 3000 feet.
  • Distance: 6.1 miles of pure ascent.


  • Open to all levels: Pros, amateurs, and age groups.
  • Separate championships for men and women.

Bold climbers like you get to experience the "Alp d’Huez of Santa Barbara," known for its stunning views and grueling incline.

Phil Gaimon & Margot Clyne, national champions, have battled to keep their titles here.

Ever thought you could conquer the same roads as the pros?

Here's your chance!

The hill climb is so renowned that it has featured in the Tour of California, making it a real professional-grade test of endurance and speed.

Participating in the Worlds

  • Jerseys: Defend or take home the stars and stripes.
  • Global Supremacy: Not just a national title, it's a world competition.

Feel the burn in your legs as you pedal harder than you thought possible, in an event known to crown champions.

It's not just about the ride; it's about reaching new heights—quite literally!

So, are you ready to join the ranks of elite cyclists and earn your bragging rights at the Hillclimb World Championships?