"A" Mountain (ASU) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

0.3 mi
251 ft
18.9 %


Page Contributor(s): Rachel Crosley Lyons, Indiana


This climb may be short, but don't underestimate it: this climb has the one of the steepest average gradients in the world (that we've discovered so far!)

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
There is a public parking lot at the base of the climb near the lightrail tracks, as well as street parking all along Mill Avenue. There is free parking across the Mill Avenue bridge, on the north side of Tempe Lake, a 5 minute ride from the start of the climb.

This is a very popular walking path. Biking is perfectly legal, but be wary of pedestrians, especially on the descent. 

The actual paved surface is horrible, but its still asphalt - you can do this climbs on 23s. 
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Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
If you're going to do this climb, don't miss out on the chance to spend the entire day in Tempe, Arizona! Here are some of our favorite post-ride hangout spots:

Brunch: Daily Jam
Local Brews (☕️+🍻): Any of the bars along Mill Avenue - party like a true Arizona State University student. Don't miss out on local favorite Cartel Coffee Lab either. 



Difficulty: Extreme



No Climbs Found


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May 6, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 2
road: 1
May 6, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 2
road: 1
Hard to grade against the likes of Pikes Peak or Palomar Mtn., but it is a brute.
Mar 17, 2021
difficulty: Extreme
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 2
Mar 17, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 2
This is more or less a paved sidewalk. Traffic is all pedestrian, but it's usually busy. Its short but it is a BRUTAL climb, I live within a mile of A mountain and only know 3 other people who've ever made it to the top - I finally did on my 2nd try. The descent is terrifying, definitely consider walking your bike down! I rode the brakes at around 2 mph all the way down (with only one foot clipped in) and felt like I was about to flip over the handlebars Great views of ASU campus, the stadium and downtown Tempe. Hang around Mill Ave and Old Town Scottsdale for some of the best nightlife in the west

Climb Profile Not Found

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.

Climb Start:

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.