Cycling Lee Canyon (Hwy 158) and Hwy 157 is a Top 50 US Bike Climb
#34 in the US at 16.3 miles, 5,000’ gained to elevation 8,284 at 5.7%.
This bike climb begins in a fairly desolate and desert-like setting about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
This climb can be extremely hot and probably should be avoided between June and August when the average high temperature ranges from 99 to 104. The first 11 miles are through high desert landscape with many Joshua Trees, which turns gradually to pine and fir forest beginning around Mile 12.
Many Joshua trees along the first segment of the bike climb.
Desert gives way to alpine surroundings as we cycle up Hwy 156.
By the time we top 8,000', we are in a completely different climate zone made up of pine forest and scenic mountain formations. The Highway 158 portion of this climb begins by turning left off Highway 156 onto 158 at about the 14.1 Mile mark. From miles 0-14.1 we gain 4,460' at 5.9% average grade. The final 2.2 miles on Highway 158 are at 4.5% gaining 498' and
Turn left onto Hwy 158 at mile 14.1
The climb is fairly steady, between 4-7%, and with very few higher extended grades throughout.
The Lee Canyon bike climb can be done in conjunction with 3 other climbs in the immediate area (#24 Lee Canyon which shares its first 14 miles with the Lee Canyon/158 climb, #49 Hwy 157-158 and Hwy #66 Hwy 157/Kyle Canyon). Be careful if doing these rides without support as the only provisions are likely to be at the Mt Charleston Resort at the end of Hwy 157. Support is highly recommended for any effort involving Lee and Kyle Canyons in the same ride.
Roadway Surface and Traffic: This climb is primarily along a Nevada state highway (Hwy 156) which does not have a shoulder or bike lane to speak of, yet traffic is minimal, making the ride much less nerve-wracking than riding on the busier state highways. The 2.2 miles on Hwy 158 are wonderful, with minimal traffic and excellent views. The roadway surface is excellent throughout.