Artists Drive Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

2.9 mi
1,058 ft
6.9 %



This 2.9 mile bike climb is located in CA, USA. The average gradient is 6.9% and there is a total elevation gain of 1,058 ft, finishing at 919 ft.

Use the profile tool, route map, and weather forecast to conquer this cycling climb.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
Roadway & Traffic:
Absolutely pristine tarmac (freshly paved in 2019). Traffic is light, slow moving and one way, a pleasant experience.

Parking is available at Furnace Creek or south at Badwater but you may have to pay the National Park fee. You may also park at the scenic Artists Palette overlook at the top of the first Artist Drive climb and do a short loop (our recommendation)
The only provisions you'll find in Death Valley are at Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells, which is all the way across the park. Death Valley is on record the hottest place on earth, so be careful and go prepared! Bring more than enough water, as temps even in the spring and fall can get into the 90s and 100s. 
Summer temperatures regularly soar into the 120s F, so be sure to check the PJAMM weather report to stay safe.

Even if its cool out, bring more water than you think you'll need - the dry air even on a nice day can lead to dehydration very quickly.

Wear bright or neon colors if you can - the glare of the sand and the mirages from the heat make it hard for motorists to see cyclists on the road.
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.
Death Valley is truly an epic place to ride, and is one of our favorite places in the world to get away from gloomy winter weather. There are some rustic resorts central to most of the climbs in Death Valley, but you'll most likely still have to drive from climb to climb unless you're into 100+ mile rides. We recommend the Ranch at Furnace Creek as the closest hotel to Badwater, Artists Drive and Dante's View. Check out other hotels and rentals near the National Park to plan your trip to this otherworldly landscape.

There is also free camping almost anywhere in the park. Check out the NPS Death Valley backcountry camping page for more details



Difficulty: Challenging



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Apr 26, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 4
Apr 26, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 4
This is certainly not as long as some of the other Death Valley climbs but it will make you work (especially on a hot day). The actual Artist's Palette is best viewed later in the day, if you decide to stop. It's a one way road, so you descend down to the North end of the drive. You can do this from Furnace Creek.

Climb Profile Not Found

Artist Drive, Death Valley, California

Cycle three miles gaining 1,064’ at 6.8%.

The shortest Death Valley bike climb, but one of the most scenic.

Along with Dante’s View, this is our favorite bike climb in Death Valley.  First, its short (we’ll never complain about that!).  Second, at Artist Pallette, located five miles up the climb -- past the finish, you will see the most colorful hillside in Death Valley. The vibrant colors here are due to a unique set of oxidized minerals (iron, aluminum, magnesium and titanium) in a concentrated area.

The climb begins at the T intersection of Artist Drive and Badwater Road.

12 miles south of Furnace Creek.

One mile up the climb -- adjacent to the first viewpoint on Artist Drive.

First viewpoint -- Mile 1.

The road is pristine as of October 2019.

Near the finish -- Artist’s Pallette is upper center of photo.

Google satellite view of Artist Palette -- parking lot bottom center of image.  

We highly recommend this bike climb, even for the cyclist seeking greater challenge than this short climb can give, because it can be added on Dante’s View for one of the best cycling adventures you can experience in the US (Map; 72 miles gaining 7,770’).  

It isn’t unlikely to encounter the occasional coyote in Death Valley.

We’ve seen them on Emigrant Pass, Paniment Grade, and Artist Palette.

That’s a wrap!


(From west to east)

Cycling Death Valley - Map with all bike climbs in Death Valley

Diamonds designate Top 100 US bike climbs (red 51-75 / orange 76-100 rank).

 The climbs from Panamint (Death Valley’s western entrance) to Furnace Creek (eastern exit) are:


We have entered Death Valley both from the west (via Lone Pine Whitney Portal, and Horseshoe Meadows; 50 miles to Panamint Springs) and Las Vegas (Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon; 140 miles to Furnace Creek).

There are three areas with hotels in Death Valley:

  • Panamint Springs:  this is the closest hotel to the western entrance to Death Valley, which is near the southern part of the top world bike climbing area of Owens Valley.  Panamint Springs is the most rustic and least expensive of the options for accommodations in Death Valley.  We have stayed at the Panamint Springs “Resort” but prefer Stovepipe Wells and The Ranch at Death Valley.  Panamint has one restaurant, a sparse store, and a gas station.  

Sign at Panamint Springs Resort.

The birds to the left are real.

  • Stovepipe Wells: The Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel is our choice of places to stay in Death Valley for a couple of reasons.  First, it is less expensive than the two hotels in Furnace Creek, although a little more expensive than Panamint Springs.  Second, it is the hub for bike climbing in the valley -- all climbs are within a 25 mile straight line radius of Stovepipe (see map, below).

Entrance to Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel.

Cycling Death Valley - map with climbs in relation to Stovepipe Wells

Distance from Stovepipe Wells to all climbs.

  • The Ranch at Death Valley (Furnace Creek):  If you don’t mind paying roughly $100 more for lodging and don’t mind driving a little further to your Death Valley bike climbs, this is a great place to stay.  The restaurant and store are better and the compound is very nice.  The Oasis at Death Valley is the most luxurious accommodations in Death Valley and if price is no object at about $450-$500 a night, stay there.  The Oasis is just a mile from The Ranch at Death Valley, and the two hotels are owned by the same company); it is the Four Seasons of Death Valley -- but, at a price -- it is twice the cost of The Ranch and thee to four times more than Panamint and Stovepipe.

Entrance to The Ranch at Death Valley.

The Ranch at Death Valley has by far the nicest store in Death Valley.

The only locations to get gas in Death Valley are at Panamint, Stovepipe and Furnace Creek.

Buyer beware: the math on the above picture is $5.99 per gallon (2015 prices; 2019 were slightly less).


National Park Service Death Valley Weather Chart.

As you may expect, Death Valley is dangerously hot during the day from June through September with average monthly highs during that time ranging from 106° to 116.5°.  Cycling is not recommended during the summer and certainly never without good SAG support.  The heat can be stifling (if not truly dangerous) and supplies are few and far between.  

The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth was in Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913 (134℉/56.7℃) and, while that record has been challenged, the “alternate” record is also held by Death Valley (2013 in a tie with Mitribah, Kuwait in 2016 at 129.2℉/54.0℃).

July 2017 -- Badwater to Mt. Whitney Summit.

Cycling Death Valley - pjamm cycling ride bikes through death valley

Okay...I didn’t take my own advice in July 2017.  😨

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