Sonora Pass West Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling






Sonora Pass West

CA, USA

At times extremely steep and very scenic climb into the Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Cycling Sonora Pass West - steep grade sign and roadway surrounded by forest

Cycling Sonora Pass - one of our favorite Sierra Nevada bike climbs.

Ride 9.1 miles gaining 3,426’ to elevation 9,655 at 7% average grade.

California Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb

Sonora Pass West

This is a short but stout climb in a fairly remote area of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.   While we think the sign at the beginning of the climb is an exaggeration (26% grade), this  climb will test you in a few spots, including 10%+ grades at the very beginning for 1/2 mile.  Miles .5-3.0 average 10.0%, and there is a 3/4 mile stretch from 6.0-6.75 that averages 12.3%.  As can be seen from the YouTube Playlist , the views along this climb of high sierra  forest and granite rock faces are spectacular.   The climb can be done as an out-and-back 2 climber by going down the east side of Highway 108, then back up Sonora Pass East.

Climbing Sonora Pass West by bike - roadway and pass sign



This climb is fairly distant from other Top 100's with the nearest climbs being #77 Monitor East  47 miles north and the Owens Valley climbs starting with Pine Creek 120 miles south.

Bicycle climb of Sonora Pass West - view of mountains 

 Climbing by bike Sonora Pass West - highway and little pass between rock formations

                        The  Pacific Coast Trail crosses the summit of Sonora Pass East/West.

Biking Sonora Pass West - Pacific Coast Trail sign   

  Cycling Sonora Pass West - Pass sign at top of climb

Steepest ¼ mile begins at .6 mile (15.6%) and steepest mile begins mile 5.8 (11.9%)

Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface is excellent throughout this ride and  although there is minimal shoulder, traffic is light and this seems to be a safe ride.

Sonora Pass East

Cycling Sonora Pass East - start of climb - road sign.  

Start

Bicycle climb of Sonora Pass East - steep grade sign at pass

 

Steepest ¼ mile starts at mile 6.8 (13.9%)

This is the less traveled and less known of the Sonora Pass climbs.  However, this hidden climbing jewel has some serious pop to it - perhaps even more difficult (if you just consider the climb segments and eliminate the .6 to .7 of flat along the ascent).    The first and last miles of this climb exceed 10% (see elevation grid, below) and there are 5 8+% segments along this bruiser.  

This climb can be done as an out and back from Kennedy Meadows (the beginning of U.S. Top 100 Climb #46, Sonora Pass West).  As with Sonora Pass West, the views along this route are very scenic and worth the torture of the climb.  Unlike the southeastern Sierra climbs, there is no long shallow entry to Sonora West or East - you are challenged immediately and the tone of that introduction continues throughout the climb.

This climb is fairly distant from other Top 100's with the nearest climbs being #77 Monitor East  40 miles north and the Owens Valley climbs starting with Pine Creek 110 miles south.  The  Pacific Coast Trail crosses the summit of Sonora Pass East/West.

Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface is excellent throughout this ride and  although there is minimal shoulder, traffic is light and this seems to be a safe ride.