Empire Pass, Midway Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Empire Pass, Midway


Empire Pass Midway Utah Cycling Guide: Conquer one of the Hardest Bike Climbs in the US

Page Contributor(s): Ron Hawks, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Explore this Climb

PJAMM Cycling LogoDark Sky logo



If you love climbing by bike and would like more detailed information on the world’s top bike climbs, join our PJAMM Cycling group and receive our Special Edition Climb Report.
  • Receive a monthly report.
  • Get detailed and entertaining information on the greatest bike climbs and climbing areas throughout the world.
  • Discover beautiful landscapes with drone video and professional photos of remote and exotic places.
  • Gain insider knowledge on where to stay and how to conquer some of the most difficult climbs.

Climb Summary

cycling Empire Pass from Midway - aerial drone view of roadway , mountains and forest

Routes along Empire Pass, from Park City and from Midway.

Ride 8 miles gaining 3,232’ at 7.5% average grade.

#6 Utah/#51

Empire Pass from Midway shares its first seven miles (and by far most difficult stretch) with Top 100 #14 cycling climb, Guardsman Pass. Guardsman/Empire Pass begins just north of Midway, Utah and can be  reached by either the Midway (more difficult), or Park City (least difficult) sides.  We can also connect with Empire Pass from Big Cottonwood Canyon, U.S. most difficult bicycle cimb #39. The Midway ascent to Empire Pass has been recently paved as of 2018 and is in excellent condition.

Beginning of the bicycle climb to Empire Pass - road sign

Start of climb: Intersection of Warm Springs and Pine Canyon Roads,

 about two miles north of Midway.

RidingEmpire Pass from Midway by bike - Wasatch Forest sign

Enter the state park soon after the start.

Bike ride Empire Pass from Midway - sharp curve sign

Riding by bike Empire Pass from Midway - cyclist Ride through cottonwoods

Pass through cottonwood groves in the upper half of climb.

Nice views south to Midway and Deer Creek Reservoir.

cycling Empire Pass from Midway - cyclist on bike with deer park reservoir in background

The climb is steep cycling throughout its first seven miles (8.6%, 3,098') and levels off significantly after turning right at the junction of Guardsman and Empire Passes  (at the seven mile mark).  The last 0.9 miles of the "climb" are very mild with a 2.7% average grade and only 105' of elevation gained.

Cycling Empire Pass from Midway - cyclist on bike, Park City sign

Turn right at mile seven after 7.1 miles/3,115’/8.5%.

riding by bike Empire Pass from Midway - Views from Guardsman Pass

         cycling Empire Pass from Midway - pass sign, bike, pjamm jersey

Travel the remaining nine-tenths mile at 2.5%.

Traffic and Roadway Report:  The roadway surface since 2018 is exceptional as the road has been repaved.  Traffic is very light.  

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 1.8 (15%); steepest mile beings at mile 1.2 (12.4%)

Note:  Empire Pass from Midway was the last climb of the 2019 Tour of Utah.  This climb is just before the descent into Park City for the finish of Stage 6 and the Tour of Utah on August, 18, 2019.

Beginning of the bicycle climb to Empire Pass - road sign

Empire Pass Tour of Utah History:  As best we can tell from our research, Empire Pass has been included in the TofU 7 of the last 10 years (2012-2016, 2018-2019).

Epilogue:  Joe Dombrowski (USA; winner 2015 Tour of Utah) won the stage in 3:11:09 (24 seconds in front of João Almeida (Por)).  Ben Hermans (Bel) won the Tour of Utah at 18:46:09 by 50 seconds over James Piccoli (Can).