South Mountain Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling






South Mountain

AZ, USA

All the cycling data and info you'll need to climb South Mountain

Page Contributor(s): Samuel Lyons, Phoenix, AZ, USA.

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Climb Summary


Cycling South Mountain, Phoenix

For the TT route:  Ride 5.5 miles gaining 1,330’ at 3.4% average grade.

See our Arizona Climb Page for the top bike climbs in Arizona.

This is the closest significant bike climb to downtown Phoenix (located nine miles from ASU Phoenix downtown campus and, 21 miles from Old Town Scottsdale).  

Phoenix and Camelback Mountain (background) as seen from about half-way up the South Mountain climb.

South Mountain may be the most popular bike climb in the Phoenix area and the focus of professional cyclists such as South Mountains KOM, Brandon McNulty (2019 UCI time trial world champion; 16:25 5-13-17) and #2 on the mountain, the incomparable Phil Gaimon (16:29 5-15-19).  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. With an almost perfect road, this is a great opportunity to practice cornering skills and higher speeds on the descent.

Nice mild and steady grade -- plenty of saguaro cacti along the ride.

The first half of the climb consists of a softly winding road along a steep edge. With an almost perfect road, this is a great opportunity to practice cornering skills and higher speeds on the descent.

Westerly view of downtown Phoenix.

Views southeast towards Tucson.

This is a popular climb for both road and mountain bikers; the park has more than 51 miles of off-road trails for hiking and biking.  Locals say the park has the best mountain biking in the Valley.  A dirt mountain bike trail can be seen winding in the lower half of photo below.

Paved and dirt roads seen in this photo. 

View west of Sierra Estrella (tallest mountain in the Phoenix Valley) ⅔’s up the climb.

It’s easy to forget you’re in the city with the beautiful desert landscape and saguaros. South Mountain Park is the 11th largest urban park in the world.

To the east you can see several local landmarks, including Camelback Mountain, Papago Butte, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, and the McDowell Mountains.

The last part of the climb has some steep hill repeats, with grades breaking 14% six different times within the last mile.

Many radio and tv towers rise from the top of South Mountain.

Summit view to the west.

View east from the summit.

No 360 degree views from the top -- view north of the towers . . . 😞

View southeast towards Tucson and Mt. Lemmon.

PJAMM and ASU’s Sam Lyons at the top.