Steepest Gradient (%)
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Cycling Onyx Summit - this is the second longest bike climb in California, #7 US, #19 World.
Ride an amazing 30.5 miles gaining 7,328’ to peak elevation of 8,450 at 3.6%.
Onyx Summit is the longest and highest Southern California climb and quite a challenge. We have climbed Onyx during the spring of 2011 and 2012 for the super century “Breathless Agony” organized ride and once in late November, 2015. The climb can be quite hot during the late spring and summer and quite cold and stormy during the late fall and winter months. The first two climbs were uneventful and very manageable with excellent support provided by the Breathless Agony organizers. The climb in late November (as can be seen from the slideshow above) was quite the adventure .
Tip - park at the U.S. Forest Service Mill Creek Visitor Center (corner of Bryant Street and Hwy 38)
For the first 6 miles we climb through Mill Creek Canyon and the views east up the Canyon are good.
park at the U.S. Forest Service Mill Creek Visitor Center (corner of Bryant Street and Hwy 38)
At mile 6, we take a sharp left at the junction of Hwy 38 and Valley of the Falls Road and begin our climb in earnest up towards Onyx Summit.
Hairpin at Valley of Falls exit.
We continue up the mountain to Onyx Summit.
For miles 7-10 we have some excellent views to the west (our left) back towards Mentone and Redlands far below. At mile 11 we have the opportunity to enjoy a quick snack at The Oaks Restaurant (we suggest stopping here for a full meal on the way down - try the bacon cheeseburger and apple pie - you can't go wrong there!).
Nice place to eat at mile 11.5 in Angelus Oaks.
We are surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest for the remainder of our climb. There is 750' of descent along the long rollers and 2 long descents over the final 20 miles until we top out at Onyx Summit at 8,443', according to the summit sign.
Southern California conditions . . .
. . . in NOVEMBER!
Traffic to Big Bear was heavy and the road was pitched towards the center in
spots making the going truly treacherous. Well, that’s our excuse anyway -
we bailed 3 miles shy of the summit.
Roadway surface and traffic report. The roadway is excellent. Traffic is moderate to heavy, in our experience. During our May climbs in 2011 and 2012, traffic was light to moderate while it was moderate and fast moving for the first 6 miles on our way up to Valley of the Falls in Fall 2014. Traffic on a snow day (why were we riding then?! - good question!) the day after Thanksgiving, 2015 was extremely heavy and fast moving.