Glacier Lodge Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

9.9 mi
3,769 ft
7.2 %


Page Contributor(s): Ron Hawks, Las Vegas, NV; Dan Razum, Campbell, CA; Bruce Hamilton, Laquinta, CA; Stacy Topping, Tacoma, WA.


"Glacier Lodge Road is another of the multiple and difficult Owens Valley climbs in eastern Califoria.  This one begins in Big Pine, California that leads up the spectacular eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It carries a steep and fairly steady grade almost all the way up to a scenic alpine setting...A stout start soon eases and then a cattle guard just under two miles in announces solid grade for the majority of the remainder of the climb. A big switchback approximately 3 miles in will get your attention as it produces steeper climbing with views in places. Toward the top the grade finally eases and some trees begin to appear within the final segment..." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in California, pg. 119.)
The climb averages 7.1% with the majority (5.9 miles/59.6%) in the 5-10% gradient range, and 1.8 miles (17.9%) at 10-15%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 11.4% and there is a continuous mile that averages 10%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway: Good shape other than the expansion joints (slight breaks across the roadway every ~10-20 yards on the upper part of the roadway).
Traffic: Mild.

Parking:  There is parking along the road near the start of the climb - Map.

Note: Check weather conditions with the Inyo National Forest Service for each climb you intend to do and the Inyo County road conditions website before traveling to Owens Valley to cycle anytime after September or before June. 
Information Not Available

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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.
We normally stay in Bishop or Lone Pine for our Owens Valley climbs, but if you would like to have a unique high altitude experience, stay at the Glacier Lodge at the finish of this bike climb (See Full Summary for more details). There are also many vacation home rental options in the area. 

Want to ride with us in Owens Valley? Join us on one of our all-new PJAMM Guided Cycling Tours to Owens Valley, where we’ll take on 8 World and US ranked climbs in 8 days. 

Current Tour Dates:



Difficulty: Strenuous



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Oct 12, 2022
This road is a pain in the a**, with no switchbacks. Like riding a swift for two hours.
Jul 27, 2022
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 3
traffic: 5
road: 3
Jul 27, 2022
scenery: 3
traffic: 5
road: 3
Nice hard climb to pair with White Mountain Road. Once it tips up it is very sleep for most of its length along the ridgeline. Pretty little valley at the end. Lots of expansion cracks, so a high-volume road tire is nice.
Sep 4, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 2
Sep 4, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 2
If you can survive the middle of this ride it’s not bad. The road has cracks across it the entire ride making it a sketchy descent.
Apr 16, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Apr 16, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Lesser known than some of the neighbors, but still tough. You can park near the start. There isn't much at the top - only camping and some toilets. Bring water and clothing - I got snowed on at the top in late May. The descent is fast (if your hands aren't frozen).

Climb Profile Not Found

Cycling Glacier Lodge Road: Another exceptional Owens Valley road bike climb.

Ride 9.6 miles gaining 3,725’ to 7,807’ elevation at 7.3% average grade.

Many thanks to Ron Hawks and Dan Razum for many of the photos on this page.  

Before heading to Owens Valley on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

West Crocker Avenue off Hwy 395 in Big Pine turns into Glacier Lodge Road.

This is one of the 9 Top 100 U.S. climbs in the Owens Valley -- the mecca of road bike climbing in the United States, and perhaps the world.  Other Top 100 U.S. Climbs in the area are: #6 Onion Valley, #7 Horseshoe Meadow, #9 White Mountain, #13 Whitney Portal, #24 South Lake, #28 Rock Creek, #29 Lake Sabrina, and #64 Pine Creek.  

This bike climb enters Inyo National Forest at mile 2.2.  The Inyo National Forest is 1,903,381 acres and was established in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt.  There are several campgrounds at the end of the climb running along an edge of the John Muir Wilderness Area (580,322 acres, established in 1964, extending through Sierra and Inyo National Forests).  

The start of the climb to mile 2.5 is gradual, at an average 5.5%, but the grade rises thereafter: 7.3% for the next mile, and 9.2% for miles 3.5 through 5.5, with an overall average of 7.2% from miles 2.5 to the finish 7.1 miles later.  Like many of the Owens Valley climbs, the first several miles are through a lower desert-like setting with scrub brush and barren land with the eastern Sierra Nevada Range slowly approaching.  At the five mile mark we begin to climb through a shallow canyon for several miles.  At the 6.5 mile mark we begin to see pine trees, and by mile eight we are squarely in a Sierra Nevada alpine forest setting.  Beware of the heat during the summer months, when the averages are 92
° in June, 98° in July, and 96° August.

Kid Mountain Peak is in our sites much of the climb.

Enter Inyo National Forest at mile 2.3 (1,903,381 acres; est. 1907).

Camping area begins in the last mile of the climb.

Much of the climb is through or just above a steep and narrow canyon.

Some beautiful country near and at the end of the climb.


Bridge just before Glacier Lodge and Store

Very quaint and comfortable establishment.

Glacier Lodge Resort  / 760-938-2837

Owner Darren Pagenkopp purchased the property in 2018 after having vacationed there since childhood.  The Lodge has burned to the ground twice since it was first built in 1917

Darren plans to build a replica lodge on the foundation of the original lodge.

Many recreational activities at Glacier Lodge Resort.

Traffic and Roadway Surface Report:  The roadway surface is good throughout this ride and the traffic is very light.

A screaming descent.

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