Once one of the top 15 steepest paved gradients in the world (we keep finding new ones, so it keeps getting pushed down the list…)
(Sam Lyons; @sam.lionman):
As an Arizona State University alumnus, I have a sentimental attachment to this climb. Maybe it’s the fact that its one of the few climbs I couldn’t complete on my first try, and had to walk my bike back down it because it's just about too steep to descend. Or maybe it’s that I spent an incredible two years of my life living at the foot of it. Either way, if you find yourself in the Phoenix Valley with a bike, you MUST do this climb.
Although I lived within a mile of this climb for 2 years, I’ve actually only done it a handful of times: Unless you go riding in San Francisco, this may just be the most horrible, painful two minutes of your life on a bike - a good deterrent. On the other hand, if you want to test your 2-minute max power and still somehow manage to have fun while doing it, this ride is perfect!
Technically named “Hayden Butte”, this mountain is known as A Mountain among ASU students due to the giant plaster A representing the university, which is painted white each August by the incoming freshman class. There is another “A Mountain” climb down by the University of Arizona in Tucson, but trust me - as an ASU graduate, I can assure you this is the real A Mountain! 😉 🔱
Be careful on the descent! It’s easy to lose control. Walk your bike back down if you're not comfortable!
Reaching a deadly 29% for a tenth of a mile, this is easily the steepest gradient in Arizona (and possibly the Southwestern US) , although a couple of the Camelback Mountain climbs come close.
The ASU football stadium sits on the East slope of the mountain. You can see the field from the summit, making this mountain a great place to catch a PAC-12 football game!
I never knew how much personality could be packed into a mere third of a mile. After the popular South Mountain and the scenic Canyon Lake, this is my favorite climb in the Phoenix area.
The historic flour mill of which Mill Avenue is named after.
Views from the top:
Views from the top, just a mere 250 feet above the start. You can hike up another 200 feet or so to the summit on foot - it’s a very popular, well trafficked hike, and you’ll rarely find yourself alone.
This climb is barely 3 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, and right in the flight path! The airplanes feel like they’re skimming your hair.