Felton Empire Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Felton Empire Road

CA, USA

A tough and fun climb out of Felton, the hub of road bike climbs in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Page Contributor(s): Mike Persellin, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Cycling Felton Empire Road, Santa Cruz County - bike parked in bark area along roadside, dense and tall redwood trees

Cycling Felton Empire Road

Ride 3.6 miles gaining 1,445’ at 7.6% average grade. 

Cycling Felton Empire Road, Santa Cruz County - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in clovers at base of redwood trees along roadside, bike parked next to sign for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, bike parked in barky area along roadside next to redwood trees, climb gradient profile, bike parked at road sign for Felton Empire Road, PJAMM Cycling jersey draped over bike seat

This climb reminds us of Alba Road, the most difficult bike climb in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Both climbs are very steep and surrounded by redwood forest throughout.

Felton Empire Grade begins from the Santa Cruz Mountain bike climbing hub of Felton (2010 pop. 4,057).  The climb is on a moderately busy road with no shoulder and it is very dark along the route, particularly near the top. We very much enjoy this climb and recommend it if you are in the area.  

Cycling Felton Empire Road, Santa Cruz County - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike handlebars looking straight forward on roadside near sign noting that bikes may use full lane, bike parked at road sign for Felton Empire Road, bike parked at road sign for Mt. Hermon, Santa Cruz, and Boulder Creek, bike parked in front of white building Felton Hotel, bike parked along road side next to sign for Trucks Not Recommended

Cycling Felton Empire Road, Santa Cruz County - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked at base of large oak tree with sign for Felton Cemetery, photos of grave stones throughout a very old cemetery with mature trees and pink and white Oleander bushes

The town of Felton dates to 1868, and the oldest grave in this cemetery is from the 1880’s.

The climb ends at one of the climbing hubs of the Santa Cruz Mountains: Empire Grade, Ice Cream Grade, and Felton-Empire Grade.

Cycling Felton Empire Road, Santa Cruz County - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked along brush/bark areas at base of large, moss covered redwood tree trunks

Felton is the bike climbing center of the Santa Cruz Mountains - here is a nice route from Felton that takes in five climbs:  Felton Empire Road, Empire Grade, Ice Cream Grade, Bonny Doon, and Zayante.  Here is a map of the 77-mile route with 9,366 of vertical feet.

That’s a wrap!!