Cycling Towne Pass West
Ride 9.3 miles gaining 3,405’ at 6.9% average grade.
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This is one of the more scenic (along with Dantes View) Death Valley climbs. The first 1.5 miles of the climb are mild but miles 1.5-5.25 average 7.9% (there is a mile stretch from about mile 4.25 to 5.25 that averages 9.7%). The start of the climb is pure Death Valley - what seems to be an endless stretch of straight, flat pavement in front of us (but it's not flat!).
Riding from Panamint towards start of Towne Pass West climb.
Ground view looking towards beginning of the climb.
Looking back ½ mile from the start.
By the 3 mile mark we begin to leave the desert floor behind and enter more hilly/mountainous terrain with exceptional views of the valley to our left and behind us as we climb. By mile 6 we are entering canyon-like terrain which is stark and without any appreciable vegetation and certainly no greenery - but these stark Mars and Moon-scapes are part of the allure and beauty of Death Valley. See YouTube video for a true sense of this climb.
Colorful surroundings as we climb.
There is a ½ mile 11.5% segment from between miles 6 and 7
Well . . . after the torture comes the fun!
Towne (or Townsend in the distant past) Pass is named after a man named Townsend who saved emigrants stranded in Death Valley in the mid 19th century. THE BIKE CLIMBS OF DEATH VALLEY
(From west to east)
Diamonds designate Top 100 US bike climbs (red 51-75 / orange 76-100 rank)
The climbs from Panamint (Death Valley’s western entrance) to Furnace Creek (eastern exit) are:
WHERE TO STAY IN DEATH VALLEY
We have entered Death Valley both from the west (via Lone Pine Whitney Portal and Horseshoe Meadows; 50 miles to Panamint Springs) and Las Vegas (Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon; 140 miles to Furnace Creek).
There are 3 areas with hotels in Death Valley:
Sign at Panamint Springs Resort
The birds to the left are real . . .
Entrance to Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel
Distance from Stovepipe Wells to all climbs.
Entrance to The Ranch at Death Valley
The Ranch at Death Valley has by far the nicest store in Death Valley
The only locations to get gas in Death Valley are at Panamint, Stovepipe and Furnace Creek - but, buyer beware:
The math on that is $5.99 per gallon (2015 prices; 2019 were slightly less)
DEATH VALLEY WEATHER
Dangerously hot during the day from June through September with average monthly highs during that time ranging from 106 to 116.5. Cycling is not recommended during the summer and certainly never without good SAG support. The heat can be stifling (if not truly dangerous) and supplies are few and far between.
The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth was in Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913 (134℉/56.7℃) and, while that record has been challenged, the “alternate” record is also held by Death Valley (2013 in a tie with Mitribah, Kuwait in 2016 at 129.2℉/54.0℃).
July 2017 - Badwater to Mt. Whitney Summit.
O.K.! I didn’t take my own advice in July, 2017 😨