Zayante Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

4.8 mi
1,559 ft
5.5 %


Page Contributor(s): Dan Razum, Campbell, CA, USA


Zayante goes from Graham Hill Road in Felton up to Summit Road. Near Felton, Zayante is fairly flat with some traffic. The climb starts at the intersection with Kingham Ranch Road, about six miles from Felton and traffic mostly disappears by this point so the climb feels quite safe.
5.5% average grade (7.5% climb only).  17% of the climb is descent, 19% is at 0-5% grade, 49% is at 5-10%, and 15% is at 10-15%. The steepest quarter-mile is 11.8%.

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Roadway:  Fair to poor two lane road with no center striping or shoulder.  The first three miles are in poor condition and the last two miles in good condition.   See Full Summary for more details. 

Traffic:  It is very light on the climb. The closer you are to Felton, the more traffic there is on Zayante. The first couple of miles outside of Felton have significant traffic but it thins out to almost no traffic by the time you reach the climb. However, even though there is more traffic close to Felton, it isn't really that bad and it never felt dangerous.

Parking:  Zayante Road is very narrow with few places to park.  There are a few spots on the side of the road 1.4 miles southwest of the climb starting just across from the intersection of Zayante and Westwood Roads (MapStreet View). 
Provisions:  None on this route - the closest would be in Felton six miles south (Map). 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
The Santa Cruz Mountains are a great place to climb by bike.  See our Santa Cruz County climb page or use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar above to see other bike climbs in this area. 



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Cycling Zayante Road

Ride 4.8 miles gaining 1,568’ at 5.5% average grade.

Climb summary by PJAMM’s Dan Razum.

Zayante goes from Graham Hill Road in Felton up to Summit Road.  Near Felton, Zayante is fairly flat with

some traffic.  The climb starts at the intersection with Kingham Ranch Road, about 6 miles from Felton and

traffic mostly disappears by this point so the climb feels quite safe.

Beginning of the climb

We climb for about a mile and a half and then we reach an intermediate high point.  At this point the road

changes name from East Zayante to Upper Zayante and it's flat/downhill for about a mile before it starts

climbing again.

There are some steep sections but they aren't too long and there is plenty of shade.

The lower slopes are mostly pine trees and as we get near the top the pines give way to oak. Due to all

the trees there really aren't any long range views on this climb. Still, the forest is beautiful and serene

and it is nice to bike through it.

The road condition is pretty rough in places and there are several areas that are very narrow because of

old landslides that took out some of the road.  However, there is road construction scheduled for summer 2020.

It looks like the construction will be patching, not a full repavement, but it should still help a lot.

As of May 2020, due to the condition of the road, Zayante is much better as a climb than a descent but maybe

after the construction is completed it will be nicer as an out and back ride.

Dan’s January, 2021 roadway update:

They were supposed to complete construction in the fall, I checked it out a couple of weeks ago and the construction is indeed finished.  However, it isn't all good...

They worked on the road starting a few miles before the climb begins and went all the way to the top of the climb.  The first part of the road work, including about the first 3 miles of the climb, are terrible quality.  They put a very thin layer of rough chipseal on the surface and there is a lot of loose gravel.  The loose gravel will eventually wear away, but in my opinion the thin, rough chipseal is worse than the surface that was there previously. So the first 3 miles of the climb are rough surface with lots of loose gravel.  The last two miles are better, they actually patched the road and didn't put on the rough chipseal.  They didn't repave the entire last 2 miles but they did repave some rough sections and they patched the holes and there is no loose gravel.  So I would say that now the first 3 miles are in worse condition than before and the last 2 miles are pretty good.

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