Cycling Big Rock Drive to Stunt Road
Santa Monica Mountains, California
Ride 7.6 miles gaining 2,487’ at 5.8% average grade.
Start on Pacific Coast Highway and Big Rock Drive.
Note and Warning: A portion of this climb is on what is marked as a private roadway. However, 259 Strava members had ridden this route as of December 2020. There is a one-third mile stretch between the No Trespassing sign and the gate to enter Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Parkland (see sign, below). We rode this climb without incident, but we must advise that you undertake this route at your own risk and we cannot formally recommend this route.
PJAMM Adventure App showing gradient for climb.
View of the Pacific Ocean about one-half mile up the climb.
Views on Big Rock Road before Santa Monica Conservancy Parkland section.
Lower gate at mile 1.7.
This is the lower gate to Tuna Canyon Park, part of the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). The MRCA is dedicated to preserving and managing open space in the Santa Monica Mountain area and works in cooperation with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
Sign just past the lower gate.
“The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy was established by the California State Legislature in 1980. Since that time, it has helped to preserve over 75,000 acres of parkland in both wilderness and urban settings, and has improved more than 114 public recreational facilities throughout Southern California,” (Santa Monica Mountains).
Just past the lower gate.
We ride on the dirt portion of Big Rock Drive (turns to Big Rock Motorway, though there are no trail or road signs) for 1.6 miles at 8% average grade.
The steepest quarter-mile is on the paved portion of park land and averages 18.2%.
Between the upper and lower gates, the pavement turns to dirt and gravel at mile 2.
There is 1.2 miles of dirt-gravel at 5.7% average grade. This segment is easily manageable (to ascend, not so good descending) on a road bike - I used 25mm front and 28mm rear tires on my Specialized Roubaix for this ride.
Santa Monica as seen from mile 2.2.
The Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority says of Tuna Canyon Park, this “stunning, 1,255-acre park in the western Santa Monica Mountains above Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu parallels more than two miles of the Pacific Ocean, and provides dramatic, 360-degree views of the San Gabriel mountains to the Santa Monica Bay,” (Tuna Canyon Park).
This is our view of the finish (junction Stunt-Schueren-Saddle Roads) at mile 2.7
View looking northwest.
Mile 3.2, leaving Tuna Canyon Park.
Although this is our exit from the park given the direction of our climb, the gate at the end of the gravel road (as we ride onto Tuna Canyon Road, paved) is the entrance to Tuna Canyon Park.
If you turn right at onto Tuna Road upon leaving the park you can descend on Tuna Canyon Road to PCH on a one-lane one-way road. However, we turn left and continue our climb one mile at 5.1% up to Saddle Peak Road.
Turn left onto Saddle Peak Road at mile 4.3.
Views along 3.2 miles on Saddle Peak Road to our climb finish.
The high point of our climb comes at the true Saddle “Peak” at mile 6.6. However, we continue our route to the junction of Saddle Peak-Stunt-Schueren Roads because that is in our opinion one of the best finish point hubs in the Santa Monica Mountains. Topanga Canyon, Las Flores, and Big Rock can finish at this scenic point.
Finish at the junction of Saddle Peak-Stunt-Schueren Roads.