Dante's View Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

24 mi
5,465 ft
4.3 %


Page Contributor(s): Bruce Hamilton, La Quinta, CA; Stacy Topping, Tacoma, WA; Luke Hise, Phoenix, AZ


"This is a long climb from sea level that heads up scenic Route 190 for 10.6 shallow miles and then turns right on the road to Dantes View.  From here the grade gradually increases as you climb.  Toward the top the road enters a canyon over more challenging grade which cut off views for the first time in the ascent.  Near the very top the road includes a ramp of 12% within the last quarter mile.  The climb finishes (5,475 feet) at a parking area with one of the best views around.  The author rode this hill on a cool mid November day with temperatures around 85 degrees so summer is an oven." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in California, pg. 137.)
The fiets score is deceptive - this is a much harder climb than its numbers lets on. The first 19 miles are mild, mostly between 3% and 5%, but there's often a discouraging headwind. The last 5 miles the grade gets gradually steeper until culminating into the last half mile, which seems to stay in the mid-teens the entire time. 

 74% (17.7 miles) is at grade 0-5%, 22% (5.2 miles) is at 5-10%, and 3% (0.8 mile) is at 10-15%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 13% and steepest half-mile 11.5%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the Profile Tool above.
Roadway: Excellent condition.  The first 10.8 miles are on Highway 190 and traffic passes at 50-60 mph and there is not much, if any, shoulder.  However, line of site everywhere in Death Valley is excellent and the three times we've ridden this route, we have not been bothered by the traffic. 

Traffic:  Mild.

Parking:  Ride from your hotel if you are staying nearby at either The Ranch at Death Valley (mile from start) or Oasis at Death Valley (at the start) or park on Badwater Road which intersects Hwy 190 at the start of the climb - MapStreet View.  Alternatively you can park almost anywhere off the pavement with a national park pass. 
Provisions:  There are no provisions on this ride so be absolutely certain to bring enough water and food. The closest provisions are at The Ranch at Death Valley General Store 1 mile northwest of the climb start - Route Map; Google Map + Reviews - the store has a lot of food options, but is pricey. 

Weather:  It is torturously hot in Death Valley during the hot season - average high temperature is 109 to 116.  Consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for temperatures at the start and finish of your climb to be well prepared for the ride. 

Even if its cool out, bring more water than you think you'll need - the dry air even on a cool day can lead to dehydration very quickly.
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.
We have always stayed at the Ranch at Death Valley for our climbs, although there is a very high end hotel a mile away, the Oasis at Death Valley.  Also see our Climb Area page for other bike climbs and places to stay in the area:  Death Valley National Park.  There are also a few unique vacation rental options in the Death Valley area.

You must stop at Zabriskie Point on the right at mile 3.5 and enjoy the colorful rock and sediment formations - Google Map + Reviews. Also be sure to spend time at the finish enjoying the views of Badwater (lowest point in the US) a mile below - Google Map + Reviews



Difficulty: Strenuous



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Mar 21, 2022
I rode this on a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, which was perfect. I last 1/4 mile I walked up (saved the knees). The last few miles involve a VERY narrow road and if there's traffic (Spring and Fall are the worst) it's not the safest ride around. The view from the top is worth the climb. The entire Death Valley is spread out before you with Badwater, the lowest point in the 48 contiguous states directly below you. Beware of the wind. Although the climb is well protected at the top the wind can be blowing close to 50 mph - yet you won't know this until you get RIGHT to the very top. Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you're lucky, and the wind isn't too strong, you'll see Death Valley Ravens flying / hovering in the currents. I've seen them do actual loops. Amazing birds.
Feb 24, 2022
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
Feb 24, 2022
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
I love this climb! Did it midweek and traffic didn’t seem too bad because the cars are respectful and give you right of way. One car of Indian tourists filmed me going down the last section because they “inspired.” Personally enjoyed the scenery as when you get to the top you are rewarded with beautiful views. You also ride by some interesting features. I have to stop at Z point for example. I think doing it in February is key because temps were perfect.
Jun 7, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Jun 7, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
This is a great climb with a very moderate grade until the last section. Its very misleading as the grade goes from easy to 13%+ all of a sudden. Do not fret, you are almost there. The views from the summit are unparalleled.
Apr 26, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 4
Apr 26, 2021
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 4
This is a tough climb without heat and wind (which are both frequent in Death Valley!). The gradient increases the higher you go with the toughest at the very end. Great views from the top though!
Apr 20, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Apr 20, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Road: Solid shape. No complaints. No shoulder on the road off the turnoff for Dante's from the highway. Generous shoulder on the highway with rare exception for erosion damage. Traffic: Moderate, hwy speed traffic on 190. From the turnoff, volume tapers as it is a dead end road. Scenery: Best views accessible via bicycle of the entirety of Death Valley. Sweeping vista of Badwater, the Dunes, and the Oasis.

Climb Profile Not Found

Biking up Dantes View Death Valley - Icy Road sign in death valley 

Note the sign in the above photo, it’s one of our all-time favorites.  

It was 110 degrees when we took that photo -- we could have used a little cool in the desert that day.  

Felt pretty ironic . . . 😈 

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

Cycling Dante’s View, a California Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb, is an absolutely epic Death Valley bike climb.  Ride 24 miles gaining 5,495’ to elevation 5,467’ at 4.3% average grade. Visit our Death Valley National Park page for more climbs in the area.

Death Valley -- one of our favorite places in the world to visit on a bike.

Dante’s View (5,454’ elevation)

Directly above Badwater (-282’ below sea level)

Looking down over 1 mile to Death Valley from Dante's View.

On an extremely clear day, with extremely good eyesight . . .

. . . to the northeast is the Eastern Sierras (near Mt. Whitney).

In our opinion, this is the jewel of the five Death Valley Top 100 U.S. Climbs.  Dante’s View is epic and a must climb for any adventurous climbing cyclist.  First, we start just across the highway from the "Sea Level" sign at the intersection of Badwater Road and lightly traveled Highway 190, and then begin a 24-mile journey that offers some of the most exceptional views in Death Valley.  

Bicycling Dantes View Death Valley Elevation sign at start of climb 

Start of climb on our first trip -- gonna be a long day!


One of the great benefits of this climb is that while there is very little in the way of lodging in Death Valley, there are two resorts in close proximity to the beginning of the climb.  The Ranch at Death Valley is just a mile from the the start of the ride and right at the start is a very upscale and beautiful resort (too rich for our blood), called the Oasis at Death Valley.  Both resorts are owned by the same company and share a website.

This ride is separated into two distinct segments.  First is the 10.7 miles on Highway 190 which has a mild 3.3% grade (gaining 1,980').  The shoulder is decent and there is minimal traffic along this stretch -- it actually doesn’t feel too unsafe along this segment, but be forewarned if you are
fast traffic averse.  

Stopping at Zabriskie Point is a must.  This viewpoint is unbelievable, "surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and vibrantly colored badlands, this spectacular view is one of the park’s most famous. Zabriskie Point is a popular sunrise and sunset viewing location." (AllTrails).  Zabriskie Point is also a good alternative start point for this climb.  If you use Zabriskie point as your beginning, you’ll be starting at mile 3.2, cutting off only 617' of climbing, and will have great parking.

Mile 3.2 - Zabriskie Point bottom center.

Point of interest just past Zabriskie Point

As we frequently say, there is a LOT of straight in Death Valley.

PJAMMers did this ride from Badwater on an 80 degree day in March 2017.  This is an outstanding 81 miles/6,743' out-and-back.  Another -- less intelligent -- PJAMM group started in July 2016 with the intention of riding from Badwater to Whitney Portal and then hiking to the top of Whitney.  Only one of four made that one!

Turn off Highway 190 at mile 10.7.

Minimal and slow moving traffic here out.

Last ¼ mile is 15%.

Segment two is the more strenuous, but just as scenic, part of the climb at 3,450'/6.2% (final two miles at 9.3% and final 1/2 mile at 10.6%).  Save enough time to spend soaking in the 360 degree breathtaking views at the top of the climb, Dante's View.  Looking west we look down at Badwater (279' BELOW Sea Level).

Aerial view of the approach to Dante’s View.

(Badwater is  5,733’ below the parking lot middle left of photo 5,454’ to -279’).

PJAMM finishing the ride.

That’s a wrap!

Death Valley Weather

Do NOT attempt these climbs in the summer,

when the average​ temperatures range from 101-116 between May and September.

July is not the best time to be riding through Death Valley . . .  😓

Traffic and Roadway Report: As of September 2014, the roadway surface was excellent throughout this climb and traffic on Highway 190 is minimal (the first 10 miles of the climb) and extremely sporadic after turning onto Furnace Creek Wash Road at mile 11.

Visiting Death Valley National Park

Don’t let the name fool you.  Though Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest (below sea level!) National Park, this stunning landscape is home to a great diversity of life.  It’s a land of extremes:  “towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans” (Death Valley National Park).  Use the National Park Service’s “Plan Your Visit” webpage to learn more about must-see sights, places you can stay, best times to visit, and general accessibility of different landmarks and locations in this vast and beautiful Southern California National Park.


The Dante’s View climb is about 16 miles south of Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, and provides stunning panoramic views of the southern portion of the Death Valley basin.  A fun piece of trivia is that Dante’s View was used as a filming location for the 1977 version of Star Wars, as the “characters overlook the fictional Tatooine spaceport of Mos Eisley” (Wikipedia).  

The other four of the Top 100 climbs that fall inside of Death Valley are: #50, Townes Pass East; #56, Wildrose;  #73, Daylight Pass; and #90, Townes Pass West.

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