Cycling Parks Creek Summit East and West - a very remote and scenic Northern California bike climb.
From the east ride 11.8 miles gaining 3,837’ to elevation 6,859’ at 5.9% average grade.
This is definitely an "out of the way" climb in a rugged area of Northern California. These are less scenic climbs than the other Top 100’s in the area, yet they are certainly worth a go if you are in the area, have the time and have already climbed Shasta/Etna/Ashland. The climbs can be accomplished as an out-and-back from the town of Mt. Shasta (map) and done by the ambitious on the same day as Mt. Shasta, or as day 1 / day 2 climbs.
Parks Creek Summit East
This is #90 on the U.S. Top 100 Climb List. This climb is along a single lane road in an alpine setting in remote Northern California. We ride along a ridgeline for some of the climb and have a couple nice views of Mt. Shasta to the east. There are views of distant peaks and ridges of the Cascade Mountain Range along the way and the climb ends at the summit which the Pacific Coast Trail crosses. This climb is deceivingly steep over the second half (the first 5 miles are at 5.2% and the next 4 are at 7.2% before relaxing to 4.5% over the final 3 miles).
Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 5.2 (10.3%) and steepest mile at 5 (8.7%)
The roadway surface on this side of the summit is much better than the west side - there are a few potholes but otherwise the one lane road is in decent shape. Traffic is very light and this is a safe climb.
Parks Creek Summit West
This climb begins at Hwy 3 on the west side of Parks Creek Road (also marked as Forest Route 42N17). We follow Trinity River for the first 10 miles (although it is not always visible from the road) as we slowly ascend towards the summit. This is a long climb with not much grade to it. Looking back to the south as we climb through a broad canyon, we have some spectacular views of heavily forested mountains in the distance. This is the more scenic of the 2 Parks Creek ascents.
This roadway is in poor condition, although paved, the entire way. The descent is hazardous due to loose gravel and shaded spots which conceal potholes that can cause pinch flats, or worse, if not avoided. There is little traffic on the road, and other than the roadways condition, this is a safe climb.
Some rough patches out here.
PJAMM contributor Bryan Fox writes:
It's a little rough. Totally fine going up but you need to keep an eye on it going down. I ride it with 23's all the time. There is a short segment of about 30 or 40 yards that is gravel towards the bottom. It's a great climb though...I much prefer the loop in the counterclockwise direction. Also keep in mind that it's not plowed...some years you can't even drive through until very late spring.
PJAMM contributor Paul Higley says:
Hey John, ya the entire road between the summit & Hwy 3 is paved... But there are sections of potholes and lousy pavement towards the bottom, with one 50' section that's really broken up but rideable.. Be careful at that spot because I had a sidewall blowout on a rock there once and it's a pretty remote spot. Generally it's fine though
 #59 Mt. Shasta 12 miles south, Etna Summit 73 miles west (via a roundabout route - not many direct routes in those parts) and #95 Mt. Ashland 60 miles north, just across the southern Oregon border.