South Mountain Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

7 mi
1,330 ft
3.2 %



South Mountain may be the most popular bike climb in the Phoenix area and the focus of professional cyclists such as South Mountain's KOM, Brandon McNulty and Phil Gaimon. There are at least two USAC races up South Mountain each year: the South Mountain Bike Classic in March, and the South Mountain Time Trial in May.  The first half of the climb consists of a softly winding road along a steep edge.

The average grade of 3.4% jumps to 4.8% when descent is removed form the gradient equation.  18% (one mile) is descent, 44% (2.4 miles) is at 0-5%, and 37% (2.1 miles) is at 5-10% grade.  The steepest quarter-mile is 8.9% and steepest mile 5.1%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  The surface is adequate. There are 1 or 2 holes in the road that mandate attention during the decent, but otherwise, the road is in good shape. Minimal shoulder most of the way.

Traffic:  Minimal. Every last Sunday of the month is known as "Silent Sunday", and the entire climb is closed to automobiles. 

Parking:  There is a large, free parking lot right at the entrance of the park by the visitor center
Provisions:  There is a vending machine, restrooms, and a water fountain at the ranger station (start of the climb)  but no facilities otherwise

Weather: Highs average 104-106 degrees in the summer.  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. 
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.
This is the top climb in the Phoenix area, less than 10 miles from downtown Phoenix where there are many places to stay.  

If you are planning on staying in Phoenix for a longer period of time a house rental may be a better option for your cycling adventure.    



Difficulty: Moderate



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May 6, 2021
difficulty: Moderate
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 3
May 6, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 3
Great views at the top, but overall not that bad of a climb, lots of downhill interwoven into the steep pitches.

Climb Profile Not Found

South Mountain (Affectionately called “somo”) is a favorite climb among Phoenix cyclists, right in the south Phoenix metro area about a 20 minute ride from downtown.

South Mountain bike climb gradient profile PJAMM Cycling in phoenix arizona for cyclist and climbing cyclists

A mild gradient makes for a great beginners climb - although the steep sections at the end make for a great workout.

Great Sonoran desert views

Definitely check out Holbert Lookout on the way up (closed to cars)

Gentle winding turns = great place to practice descending skills! However, the road is cracked in numerous places due to heat expansion, and can be a mildly bumpy ride.

The heat can be a real issue on this one. We’ve climbed it in the dead of summer in 105 degrees, and can confirm that it’s MUCH more enjoyable between October and April. There is water at the ranger station right at where we start the climb, but other than that there is no water on the mountain, so bring plenty and be careful, as heat stroke can be a real danger.

The radio towers at the top are visible from anywhere in Phoenix.

Every last sunday of the month is “Silent Sunday”, a day where no cars are allowed on the summit road - only cyclists!

That’s a wrap!

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