Lake Sabrina Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

10.3
FIETS
15.7 mi
DISTANCE
4,886 ft
GAINED
5.8 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

“A very big hill on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, this one is fairly shallow over the first two miles, the grade steadily increasing up toward Lake Sabrina with big views down into the valley. Soon a big S curve indicates increasing grade on its upper end as you gain altitude. After the curve the road straightens a bit and again heads towards the mountains to continue over solid grade, the most extended stretch of continuous solid grade on the hill. Soon the slope goes up and down a bit as you head toward steep and scenic high mountain peaks. Several miles before you reach the South Lake junction (which you pass on the left just under 12 miles in) you again find more stout grade..." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 134.)
5.8% average grade (6.2% climb only).  58% of the climb is at 5-10% grade and 6% is at 10-15%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 10.7% and steepest mile 9.1%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  All but the last half-mile of the climb is on Highway 168 which is in excellent condition.  The last half-mile is paved and on rougher but easily manageable narrower roadway up to Lake Sabrina. 

Traffic:  The first half of the ride traffic is moderate.  Traffic thins as we climb and is not a problem over the last half to third of the climb.  Those who are traffic averse may be uncomfortable on this ride. 

Parking:  We either ride from our hotel in Bishop or park just off Highway 168, or on on Red Hill Road at the climb start - Map; Street View.
Provisions:  None on the route until the finish.  If it is open, you can get a meal at Lake Sabrina Landing Café at the finish of your ride - MapStreet View

Altitude: You climb above 9,000' where you have 27% less oxygen than at sea level so be aware of those effects as you climb. 
Also consider climbing up to South Lake - the turn off is four miles back down the hill from our Lake Sabrina Finish.  The 7.2 miles from the turn off onto South Lake Road to the finish is at 5% average grade to elevation 9,830'.  

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in this area. 

When we are riding the climbs in Owen's Valley, CA, particularly those in the central and northern end of the valley, we prefer to stay in Bishop. 

ROUTE MAP

MEMBER RATING

Difficulty: Strenuous
4
Road
4
Traffic
4
Scenery

CURRENT WEATHER

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Apr 30, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Apr 30, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
This is a long difficult climb with varying gradient. I did it in late May and there was significant snow on the ground at the lake (but the road was clear). You can start from anywhere in Bishop.
ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

Climb Profile Not Found
CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Lake Sabrina

Ride 15.7 miles gaining 4,886’ at 5.8% average grade.

Visit our Owens Valley Top World Bike Climb Area page for more information on other climbs in this area.

Lake Sah-BRY-nuh, don’t call me suh-BREE-nuh (the locals may correct you if you mispronounce the name).  Sadly, I keep forgetting, and, well, I keep getting corrected.  😧

Easterly view of Lake Sabrina.

Dam of the middle fork of Bishop Creek completed in 1908.

“A very big hill on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, this one is fairly shallow over the first two miles, the grade steadily increasing up toward Lake Sabrina with big views down into the valley.  Soon a big S curve indicates increasing grade on its upper end as you gain altitude.  After the curve the road straightens a bit and again heads towards the mountains to continue over solid grade, the most extended stretch of continuous solid grade on the hill.  Soon the slope goes up and down a bit as you head toward steep and scenic high mountain peaks.  Several miles before you reach the South Lake junction (which you pass on the left just under 12 miles in) you again find more stout grade.  Keep straight at the junction and after you pass the 8,000 foot mark the grade eases again and you soon reach the small community of Aspendell.  Just past town the road gets steeper one last time up to a small descent.  Climbing then resumes on a one-lane road and over a variable grade through a parch of trees before ending just above the namesake lake at a small parking area.  Lake Sabrina is also one of the fastest descents in the United States.” (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 134.)

Lake Sabrina is one of the 10 Top 100 road bike climbs that begin in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central-eastern California.  

As with all Owens Valley climbs, we ride through Inyo National Forest much of the climb.

The climb begins gradually as you ride for four miles towards the eastern Sierras (which seemingly take forever to reach) at an average grade of 4%.  The last 10 miles of the climb are at 7.1% (the 4.9-5.9 mile stretch is at 11% average grade).  The entire climb follows Highway 168, although the final few miles are much more scenic than the first few.  The first 11.7 miles of the climb are shared with Top 100 climb #25 South Lake.

First segment of the climb.

Highway 168, Bishop is the green patch top middle of photo.

Ride through a wide canyon the last half of the climb. 

Inyo National Forest sign at mile 4.2.

The turn off to South Lake is at mile 11.8, stay straight four more miles to Lake Sabrina.

First 11.8 miles = 5.8% to elevation 7,970’.

Final 3.9 miles = 6.1% to 9,219’.

Highway ends ½ mile before the finish . . .

 . . . but road is paved to the finish.  

The fall colors in the Owens Valley are spectacular.

This is a small bridge over the middle fork of Bishop Creek near the finish.

 

Finish the climb at Sabrina Dam.

Traffic and Roadway Surface Report:  The roadway surface is excellent and there is a good bike lane most of the way. Traffic, as can be seen in the YouTube video, travels by very fast and this is not a stretch of road for the faint of heart.

There is a cafe at the finish called the Lake Sabrina Boat Landing.

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 4.9 (14.2%) and the steepest mile begins at 4.7 (11.3%).