Hwy 143 Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

14 mi
4,348 ft
5.9 %


Page Contributor(s): Ron Cushing, Cedar City, Utah, USA


"The north side of Route 143 is a solid hill and a contender for the most difficult ascent in southern Utah. A shallow start from Parowan, the first nine miles are along a slowly increasing grade and with fairly straight routing within a scenic canyon. A steep section through tight hairpin turns then breaks up the rhythm of the ascent as it abruptly carries you further up the mountain. On top of the S curve the grade then eases but not by much and at mile 11 you pass through the small town of Brian Head, UT over continued stout grade. Leaving the town the grade increases again before easing just before the signed and scenic summit within an alpine setting above 10,000 feet." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, 50 Climbs (by Bike) in Utah, pg. 142.)
It is the 6% average grade to 10,000' altitude (30% less oxygen than at sea level) the propels this climb into the US Top 50.  43% (six miles) are in the 0-5% gradient range, 44% (6.2 miles) are at 5-10%, 1.5 miles (11%) are at 10-15%, and 0.1 mile is at 15-20%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 13.5% and steepest continuous mile 11.6%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Excellent condition as of 2019.

Traffic:  Mild.

Parking:  At Lions Park on Third E Street a block to the west of our start - MapStreet View.
You are riding to high altitude so be sure to consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for the time you expect to arrive at the finish to assess what clothing to bring on your ride.
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.
Consider the out-and-back that includes Highway 143 East which is 92 miles and 9,400' of climbing - Map.

Also consider climbs nearby such as Cedar and Right Hand Canyon Roads and Cedar Canyon (20 miles) and Kolob Canyon Road (39 miles). 

You can stay in Parowan, where the climb begins.  There are also many options for house rentals in the area.



Difficulty: Strenuous



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Mar 22, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 4
Mar 22, 2021
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 4
A big climb, this one has almost everything as it begins as mild but eventually turns difficult before easing again towards the summit. The classic stretch is an S curve with double digit grade that begins about 10 miles in. You then ride through a small town as well before ending at high altitude.

Climb Profile Not Found

Cycling Hwy 143 - Stacy Topping with bike at Fishlake National Forest sign.

Cycling Hwy 143 - Top 50 US bike climb in southwestern Utah

Ride 14 miles gaining 4,384’ to elevation 10,419 at 5.9% average grade.

The Hwy 143 climb starts near Parowan in the fairly remote southwestern section of Utah, sandwiched between 2 other Top 100 U.S. Climbs, Climb #73 Hwy 153 37 miles north and climb #71 Kolob Terrace Rd 68 miles to the south.. The first 6 1/2 miles of this climb are a good warm up at 4.8% while the next 4.5 miles ramp up with an 8.4% average grade (10.2% average grade for the steepest part of the climb - 1.7 miles from mile 9.4 to 11.1). Our view is primarily of forest as we climb 11 miles up to the tiny ski resort community of Brian Head. The 3 miles through and beyond Brian Head are more open and less wooded as we are beginning to move close to above tree line.

Climbing Hwy 143 by bike - start of climb - road and sign

This bike climb begins in Parowan just east of Interstate 15

Bicycle climb up Hwy 143 - 13% grade road sign

There are some steep segments (13.6% for ¼ mile at mile 9.3)

Bicycling Hwy 143 - road far below.

   Bicycle ride Hwy 143 - hairpin curve

2 giant and steep hairpins at mile 10

Climbing Hwy 143 by bike - runaway truck ramp sign

Not a good sign for us on the way up - that is never a good “sign”

Bike ride up Hwy 143 - Steep grade sign at end.

Top of the climb looking back - steep grade to the top.

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 9.6 (13.8%) and steepest mile at mile 9 (11.5%)

Roadway-Traffic Report: Very good roadway, but it is a highway, so we do encounter light but fast traveling traffic with minimal to no shoulder to ride on.

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