Cycling Mission Ridge, a northern Washington Top 100 US Bike Climb.
Ride 11 miles gaining 3,954’ to elevation 4,586’ at 6.5% average grade.
Climb begins in Wenatchee (pop. 31,925 as of 2010; elevation 780’).
Sections of this climb are very steep -- 11% for a full ½ mile at mile 8.
The 5 Top 100 U.S. Climbs in the Northwest are spread far apart -- Mission Ridge is 268 miles from #51 Hurricane Ridge, and 183 miles from #100 Mt. Spokane, the two Top 100's closest to it. This climb starts in the small Washington town of Wenatchee and ends at the Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort 11 miles up Squilchuck Road.
We begin this one smack dab in the middle of Washington in the town of Wenatchee, which is known as the “Apple Capital of the World” and, sure enough, the lower portion of this climb travels through apple and pear orchards. In spite of the moderate average temperatures during the summer, the Wenatchee area can be very hot (over 100 degrees for our climb in August), so be prepared for that -- although the temperature will be 10-20 degrees cooler at the top of the climb.
Our first two miles include some scenic travel through apple and pear orchards, then another four to five miles of generally unspectacular scenery up to the turn onto Mission Ridge Road at mile seven, where the real scenic -- and difficult -- part of this climb begins. The final four miles of the climb after turning onto Mission Ridge Road are at 8.2% (versus 5.6% for the first seven miles). We enter Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at mile eight and have great views back towards Wenatchee to the north along the several switchbacks towards the top. We enter an alpine setting that surrounds us with trees and gives a little shade from mile seven to the ski resort at the finish.
Orchards at the bottom of the climb.
Seven miles to the turn to the ski resort -- four miles to go!
Incredible views of the northern Washington plains 4,000’ below.
The below summary is from PJAMM contributor Scott Gault, East Wenatchee, WA:
Mission Ridge is my favorite climb in Wenatchee, with an elevation of 4,000'. It has a convenience store at the bottom for food and water. The climb starts out gradual -- for the first five miles its about a 6% grade, then the last six are around 8%. The first half is very open with few trees, but the last six miles have the most amazing scenery with trees all over, the air feels so refreshing, it makes you feel alive! There are quite a few cars but they are mostly friendly, waving and encouraging you. At the top is a very beautiful rewarding view of Wenatchee. There are also trails at the top to hike or mountain bike, and a Ski Lodge that is open in the winter. It will be about 10 degrees colder at the top, so you will want to bring a jacket for the way down. Going down the first few miles are very steep with a lot of corners, although the trees do block the wind nicely. Around half-way down as the grade softens, the trees fade away, the road straightens, and you can fly down the hill -- but watch for deer. I wouldn't do this ride in the winter because of the weather, particularly snow. Overall the ride is great, feeling the road and nature, struggling and using every drop of strength to get to the peak.
Steepest ¼ miles begins at mile 7.3 (11.3%) and mile begins at 6 (9.8%).