Bear Camp West Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

7.9
FIETS
16.5 mi
DISTANCE
4,624 ft
GAINED
5.3 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

This is a well deserved Top 100 US Climb. The ascent is brutal and the descent one of the most difficult and even treacherous we have ever encountered. We initially ascended from the east for the 20 miles to Bear Camp Overlook, then began the 16 mile descent to the Rogue River and beginning of the western ascent.  Beware the sign at the beginning of the ride: "Remote Road System Ahead: Danger: You Could Get Stranded and Die." 
"One of the most isolated climbs in this guide, the west side of Bear Camp Summit is very scenic and single lane in places. Winter storms wash this road out occasionally so check with the ranger station before you go. The grade eases before the top..." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 207.)
The average grade of this climb is 5.3% with 38% (6.2 miles) in the 0-5% range and 60% (9.8 miles) at 5-10%. The steepest quarter-mile is 8.5% and steepest continuous mile is 7.9%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Paved the entire climb, but in poor condition in areas.

Traffic:  Next to none. 

Parking:  The least of your worries . . . 
Provisions:  None along the route. 
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.
The recreation community of Agnes is a mile south of the start of our climb, on the Rogue River.  Six miles north is Foster Bar which is is the finish of the "Wild and Scenic" section of the Rogue River - MapStreet View.  Come for the river (Northwest Rafting), stay for the epic bike climb - note, this rafting trip ends at Foster Bar so you would need to have left your second vehicle and bike at Foster Bar and driven to the launch spot 35 miles (by river, 67 by car) north at Grave Creek - Map - Foster Bar to Grave Creek

This climb is fairly remote and you may want to consider rental options in Bagnell Ferry, OR which is 30 miles west of the start of the climb.  

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Apr 7, 2021
I was going to ride this climb, but I decided to not do it alone after I drove it in the car. It is very remote with almost no traffic. The road on the west side was in especially bad condition when I saw it. There were at least five gravel stretches that seemed to be mainly on the steeper parts. The east side was in better condition. Maybe I'll come back some time as part of a group...
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File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ... File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ...File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ...File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ...File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ...File:Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Other Dangers.svg ...

Sign reads "Danger Remote Road System Ahead, Danger you could get stranded and die!!! Danger"

Cycling Bear Camp West, Oregon

Ride 16.5 miles gaining 4,624’ at 5.3% average grade.

See our US Top 10 Most Epic Bike Climbs page for more amazing and epic climbs.

Cyclist rides at beginning of climb near sign that says "Bear Camp Coastal Route Travel Beyond This Point Not Advised Nov 5 thru May 31

Climb start.

They don’t leave much doubt about the remote and risky nature of these climbs!

Cycling Bear Camp West is a Top 100 U.S. Bike Climb and that ranking is well deserved. The ascent is brutal and the descent one of the most difficult (dare we use the “T” word?? . . .Treacherous) we have ever encountered.  We initially ascended from the east for the 20 miles to Bear Camp Overlook, then began the 16 mile descent to the Rogue River and beginning of the western ascent.  The “roadway” has by our rough estimate six short gravel sections and several extremely slick mossy patches that can prove quite perilous to the unwary, particularly in damp and/or rainy conditions. The roadway is single lane, very narrow and windy.

Many warning signs along the climb, aerial drone photos show alpine coastal views

The Climb begins on the NF-23 (just east of the Rogue River) in an extremely remote section of southern Oregon at  the "intersection" of Agness Road and NF-23, 30 miles along the Rogue River east of the Pacific Ocean and Gold Beach, OR.

Wide Roadway intersection at climb's start 

Climb start.

Rural Road - "Road Sign" is just a spray painted "23" on roadway signifying Forest Road 23

This is a road sign in these parts - Forest Road 23.

However, what we lose on the rating scale for hazard-of-descent, we gain on the ascent – the term “Epic” was created to describe climbs such as Bear Camp West.  For those with a profound sense of adventure who are not risk averse, this is a must-do climb.  Caveat:  the sign at the beginning of the eastern approach (photo) may be a bit of an exaggeration, but only by a slight margin – this is a climb that is best done with one or more other cyclists and SAG support.  We have good views of the heavily wooded coastal mountains as we ascend up a very narrow roadway that is often bordered by a steep cliff on one side (of course there is no guard rail).  The climb alone would warrant the trip at 16 miles, 6% average grade, gaining 4,600’ in that brief distance, and make this a Grade “A” HC category climb.

Views along the climb including alpine setting, wildflowers, sign for falling rock, snow lined roadway

Views along the route.   

Bike with PJAMM Cycling jersey draped over it parked next to sign for Bear Camp Overlook, Siskiyou National Forest

Top of the climb.


Final note:  It’s not easy to get to, but it’s worth the effort!  It’s a Bucket List Climb.

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Source:  The Weather Channel and Wikipedia.