Hwy 74 East Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.9
FIETS
13.9 mi
DISTANCE
3,704 ft
GAINED
5.1 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Bruce Hamilton, La Quinta, CA, USA

INTRO

Beginning in Palm Desert, this bike climb takes us into the Santa Rosa Mountains of the Pacific Coast Range.
This is the most significant road bike climb out of the Palm Springs area. While much of the climb is mundane high desert landscape, there are parts of this climb that make it remarkable. Most notably are the dramatic switchbacks encountered from miles 4.5 to 8 and can be viewed from above at Vista Point, mile 8.4. The view of these switchbacks is exceptional, rivaling those in the French Pyrenees and Alps.  
Average grade is 5.1%.  53% of the climb is at 0-5% and 42% is at 5-10%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 8.3%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway;  Two lane highway in excellent condition but with no to minimal shoulder. 

Traffic:  Mild to moderate with traffic traveling at highway speeds - this is not a ride for the traffic averse cyclist. 

Parking:  At the mall to the left adjacent to the start of the climb (MapStreet View).
Weather:  It gets hot out here so be sure to consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature to assess what clothing and provisions to bring for the climb. The average high between June and September is 102-108 (U.S. Climate Data). 
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.
Also consider the Tramway Road climb which is a 18 miles away in Palm Springs (Map) the start of which is at the Palm Springs Visitors Center (Google Map + Reviews). 

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling the top bike climb in the Palm Springs-Palm Desert area

Hwy 74 East - climb 13.9 miles agining 3,704’ to 3,955’ at 5.1% average grade.

Beginning in Palm Desert, this bike climb takes us into the Santa Rosa Mountains of the Pacific Coast Range.

This is the most significant road bike climb out of the Palm Springs area.  While much of the climb is mundane high desert landscape, there are parts of this climb that make it remarkable.  Most notably are the dramatic switchbacks encountered from miles 4.5 to 8 and can be viewed from above at Vista Point, mile 8.4.  The view of these switchbacks is exceptional, rivaling those in the French Pyrenees and Alps.  

Roadway surface/Traffic:  The roadway is in excellent condition, but with limited shoulder.  Traffic whizzes by at highway speed and, while there are several bike "Share the Road'" signs, those with high and fast traffic aversion should avoid this climb.

Climb begins in Palm Desert, CA.

This ride is on a busy highway that is not for those traffic averse.  However, if you ride early on a weekend, no problem!  This would be a great road to Everest - it has a smooth 4-7% grade throughout with the steepest ½ mile weighing in at only 6.9%.  There’s not always a great bike lane, but if you start early enough, particularly on the weekend, no problem!

 

Get an early start and you’ll be fine.

There are extraordinary views of the hairpins below and Palm Desert in the background from Coachella Valley Vista Point at mile 8.4 - there is good cause for the 16 vehicle parking lot at this location 👍👍

View from Vista Point - mile 8.4, elevation 2,400’.

 

Stacy with her signature pose atop Vista Point.

We enter San Gabriel National Forest (823,816 acres established 1907) at mile 3.6.

For all of us that are not rocket scientists, do not begin this climb any time after sunrise in between June-September!  😈

 

US Climate Data

Thank you Bruce!!