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.
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 Rance 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.
Start in an arid desert-like setting.
Kid Mountain Peak to the far left - that’s in our sites much of the climb.
Enter Inyo National Forest at mile 2.3 (1,903,381 acres; est. 1907).
Relatively straight climb, but one set of hairpins at mile three.
View of Kid Peak at mile 3.5 - photo center.
Beginning of a ¾ mile 10% grade.
Much of the climb is through or just above a steep and narrow canyon.
Half way through the canyon at mile 6
View back to the Owens Valley ⅔’s up the climb.
Camping area begins in the last mile of the climb.
Some beautiful country near and at the end of the climb.
FINISH AT THE GLACIER LODGE STORE AND CABINS
Very quaint and comfortable establishment.
Glacier Lodge Resort / 760-938-2837
Many recreational activities at Glacier Lodge Resort.
Owner - Darrin Pagenkopp at his post!
Purchased property in 2018 after having vacationed there since childhood.
Lodge has burned to the ground twice since first built in 1917
Darren plans to build a replica lodge on the foundation of the original lodge.
Steepest ¼ miles begin at 4.8 (11.6%) and mile at 4.2 (10.2%).
Traffic and Roadway Surface Report: The roadway surface is good throughout this ride and the traffic is very light.
A screaming descent.