Onyx Summit Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

30.3 mi
6,701 ft
3.6 %



At 30.4 miles Onyx Summit is the second longest bike climb in California, and eighth longest in the US.  We also gain more elevation (6,734') on this climb than all but four others in the state.   For most of the climb we are in an alpine setting on one of the routes to popular Bear Mountain Ski Resort.
 Average grade is 3.6% (5.1% climb only).  18% of the climb is descent, 38% 0-5% grade and 42% 5-10%.  The steepest quarter mile is 11.2% and mile 7.3%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Good condition with a very wide shoulder for the first half of the climb, narrowing to a moderately wide, but existent shoulder during the second half. 

Traffic:  Can be moderate to heavy.

Parking:  Park at the climb start at the Mill Creek Visitor Center - Map; Street View.
Provisions:  There are plenty of food and beverages at The Oaks restaurant and Country Store just off the road in Angeles Oaks at mile 11, otherwise there are no provisions on this 30 mile ride: Google Map + Reviews; Street View

Gear:  Consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for the time you expect to arrive at the finish to assess what clothing to bring on your ride. We have ridden this route during early winter and encountered a fair amount of snow at higher elevations.  Be aware that since you finish this ride nearly 6,000' above your start elevation, and above 8,000', the conditions can be much windier and colder at finish than start. 
Also consider riding the shorter Highway 38 - Valley of the Falls if you have travelled to the Redlands area to climb by bike. 

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar above to see other bike climbs in this area. 



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Climbing Onyx Summit by bike - cyclist on bike with steep grade sign.

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)

 Start of Onyx summit bicycle climb - San Bernardino National Forest sign and visitor center entrance.   

  Start of Onyx Summit climb by bike - flower and National Forest sign.

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)

Riding bike through canyon at start of Onyx Summit bicycle climb.   


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.

Cycling up Hwy 38 to Onyx Summit  - cyclist and road sign to Valley Falls     

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!).  

 Biking up Hwy 38 to Onyx Summit  - The Oaks Restaurant sign and parking lot.

Nice place to eat at mile 11.5 in Angelus Oaks.

Onyx Summit bike ride - summit sign

Mile 30.5.

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.