Balch Park Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

7.8
FIETS
18 mi
DISTANCE
4,897 ft
GAINED
4.9 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

"The climb up Balch Park is a long and isolate ascent from dry hill country up to giant Sequoias. It is over moderate grade and a narrow road for most of its length. From climb start you begin over a two lane road and a shallow grade which gradually increases. At mile 4.3 the road suddenly narrows to a wide single lane with increased tree cover which remains with you for the majority of the remainder of the hill. There are several switchbacks on this section along with excellent views. Just beyond 12 miles in the grade reduces. Soon a few houses appear in an isolated and dark setting. From here the grade is mostly shallow as you twist along the flanks of the Sierra Nevada..." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in California, pg. 160.)

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ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

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CLIMB SUMMARY

CLIMB SUMMARY

Balch Park Road is a loop that includes Bear Creek Road.  Two other Top 100 climbs are within 8 miles of the start of Balch Park Road (#21 Bear Creek Road [2.8 miles] and #40 Hwy 190 [7.5 miles]).  As with Bear Creek Road, Balch Park enters the Sequoia National Forest in the first quarter of the climb (at mile ~5.7).    At 4.9% average grade, this is a fairly  tame climb and does not present the extremely steep climbing segments that Bear Creek Road just over the hill does. The first half of the climb is 5.6% average grade and the  second about 4.2%.  The Balch Park area has many recreational activities and camping to tack onto the climb trip if desired. The first 9 miles of the climb take us through  generally unattractive scrub brush, but with some dynamic views of granite mountain faces between miles 4-8.  We begin to enjoy the true Sequoia National Forest around  miles 9-10 and the scenery gets more and more dramatic as we ascend.

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Inauspicious start but spectacular finish!


Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface, other than the first few miles, is very poor,  rutted, pot-holed and with plenty of loose gravel that makes for a rough and bumpy  descent.  There is a bit more trailer traffic on this side of the mountain than the Bear Creek side, but this is still light and the motorists we encountered were always respectful  and often offered an encouraging shouts and waves.

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Climb #8 of our 4-day Southwestern Sierra climb trip.

 

Steepest ½ mile starts at mile 4.3 (8.6%)