Old Yosemite Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

9.8 mi
2,942 ft
5.5 %


Page Contributor(s): John Berude, Berkeley, CA, USA


This 9.8 mile bike climb is located in Mariposa County, California, USA. The average gradient is 5.5% and there is a total elevation gain of 2,942 ft, finishing at 5,476 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.
Information Not Available

If you have any information regarding this climb, we'd like to hear from you. Click the CONTRIBUTE button to share your thoughts with us.

Information Not Available

If you have any information regarding this climb, we'd like to hear from you. Click the CONTRIBUTE button to share your thoughts with us.

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.
Information Not Available

If you have any information regarding this climb, we'd like to hear from you. Click the CONTRIBUTE button to share your thoughts with us.



Not Yet Rated



No Climbs Found


Let us know what you thought of this climb. Signup for our FREE membership to write a review or post a comment.
Already have an account?

Climb Profile Not Found

Cycling Old Yosemite Road

Ride 9.8 miles gaining 2,942’ at 5.5% average grade.

Climb summary by ultra athlete and adventurer John Berude, Berkeley, CA.

Old Yosemite Road (or Old Coulterville Road) was originally constructed as the scenic route for stagecoaches of tourists destined for Yosemite Valley. The road was built to compete with Big Oak Flat Road (now CA-120), but is now an all-but-forgotten gravel byway that remains as magnificently scenic as when it was opened for travel in June 1874! The climb itself is a generally pleasant affair through oak and pine forests with some sustained brutish and loose sections mixed in. The road affords good views of the surrounding hills and peekaboo views of Pilot Peak, but the real reward comes as you near the top and are treated to an airy, open traverse with expansive views to the south! From the top of the climb you also get a stunning view of the Sierra Crest and the flowing granite of the Emigrant Wilderness/northern Yosemite area. If you're feeling strong, continue climbing a few hundred more feet to the fire lookout on Pilot Peak for the full panoramic experience! While this climb is a good ride in its own right, it's what's beyond the climb that you come for... a long, mellow, and spectacular traverse along the ridge/hillside with sweeping views to the south and east!

While it's certainly possible to do the climb and traverse as an out-and-back, it can be combined with the Burma Grade/Bull Creek climb (see separate page for details) to make a loop into Yosemite Valley for the full adventure experience! From the top of the climb, the road continues to traverse the hillside past the turn off for Turnbull Peak (another good out-and-back addition that overlooks the Merced River Canyon) and down to the town of Foresta inside Yosemite National Park. While the road surface is never terrible, it does progressively decline in quality as you approach Foresta from the Turnbull junction. From Foresta, you can join the pavement and ride up to the junction with CA-120/Big Oak Flat Rd for a spectacular high-speed descent into Yosemite Valley. At the bottom, you can either turn right and return to Briceburg via CA-140 (a ripping descent and a gorge-ous ride through the Merced River Canyon) or add on a loop of Yosemite Valley/Mirror Lake/Tunnel View (highly recommended! you're not going to make it all the way here just to skip the iconic part are you?).

Aerial view of Yosemite Valley (El Capitan + Half Dome) from just past Tunnel View

Cycling Yosemite - it does not get ANY better than this!!

For those looking for a more "pure" gravel experience, you can alternatively descend directly from Foresta to El Portal on the old Foresta road. Originally maintained as a fire escape route for the town of Foresta, a bridge washout officially decommissioned the road some time ago. As a result, the road surface is generally eroded, the brush is overgrown, one of the bridge crossings requires walking across a few 2x4s nailed together with a handline, a few bouldery hike-a-bike sections, intermittent overgrown poison oak, and apparently the rattlesnakes can be terrible on warmer days... though in keeping with the theme of the ride, the scenery is nothing short of incredible the whole way down and the road cuts a very aesthetic line across the hillside as you descend to the Merced River! All of these factors combine to ensure an epic and memorable finish to the gravel portion of the loop for the adventurous at heart and the robust in practice.

Access to full Climb Summary requires a PJAMM Cycling PRO Membership!

It takes less than a minute to sign up & with your PRO membership you can:
  • Rate climbs, post comments and share your experiences on any of our climb pages
  • Create bucket lists of climbs & mark the dates you complete them
  • Weather data for all climbs - Start & Finish
  • Upload photos to your member page to customize your PJAMM Cycling experience
  • Utilize all of our interactive tools - Profile & Routes in Area
  • Download climb route .gpx files
Sign up for a PRO Membership

Already have an account? LOG IN HERE