Page Contributor(s): Bruce Hamilton, La Quinta, CA, USA
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! 😈
Thank you Bruce!!
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