Mt. Lassen South Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Mt. Lassen South

CA, USA

Climb out of the tiny town of Mineral on a gradual ascent through Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Climb Summary


Cycling Mt. Lassen South - NPS sign for Almanor District Mineral Work Center, Lassen National Forest 

Cycling Mt. Lassen South

Ride 16.6 miles gaining 3,637’ to elevation 8,457’ at 4% average grade.

Cycling Mt. Lassen South - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, road sign for Lassen Volcanic National Park, Highway 89, Elevation 7,000, bike parked in front of NPS sign for Lassen Volcanic National Park, view of stretch of two-lane road boarded by tall walls of snow, aerial view of road surrounded by snow

This ride enters Mt. Lassen National Park (Est. 1916, 106,452 acres, ~500,000 visitors per year) from the south, beginning in the tiny Northern California town of Mineral (population 120), climbing northeast on Highway 36.  Mt. Lassen is the largest Lava Dome[1] volcano in the world.

Cycling Mt. Lassen South - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, views along first 10 miles of climb, two-lane stretch of freeway, toll booth, logging truck, road signs   

First 9.8 miles from the start to the park entrance.

The first 4.4 miles on Highway 36 are a bit stressful, with not infrequent encounters with logging trucks and no appreciable shoulder to permit a little breathing room.  Once turning onto Highway 89, traffic is mild and not a safety concern.   We are in Lassen Volcanic National Park the entire climb.  

Cycling Mt. Lassen South - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, snow-lined roadway, stretches of straight roadway, sign for Brokeoff Mountain

Second half of the climb, after entering the park.

Beware that there is no fee exemption for cyclists and we were charged $15 to enter in 2020 -- the toll booth is at about the 9.8 mile mark, so don't forget your entrance fee!  We suggest filling up with water here as there is no water access past this point.  We misfired on this, but fortunately had snow available to fill our water bottles on the way up the volcano.  We travel through pleasant alpine settings in the lower portion of the slope which eventually gives way to a more stark, barren and rocky landscape.  The views along the top third of the climb of Mt. Lassen, the surrounding mountain ridges (snow covered in the early season), and the plains far below are exceptional and make this climb well worth the effort if you are in the area, or as a destination climb.    

Cycling Mt. Lassen South - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, deep blue lake surrounded by mountains, views of mountainous terrain, evergreen trees on rocky ground along hillside, selfie of Taylor Hocket on summit

PJAMM Cycling’s Taylor Hocket

Fastest Known Time Lassen Bike Ride South + Run to Summit, August 6, 2020:  

Ride 16.6 miles gaining 3,637’ to elevation 8,457’ at 4% average grade,

Run 2.4 miles gaining 1,770’ at 15.2% average grade.

Roadway Surface and Traffic Report:  The roadway surface is excellent throughout the ride.  Big rig traffic for the first four miles on Highway 36 is a bit harrowing, but we have smooth sailing for the last 12 miles of the climb on Highway 89.


[1] “In volcanology, a lava dome is a circular mound-shaped protrusion resulting from the slow extrusion of viscous lava from a volcano. Dome-building eruptions are common, particularly in convergent plate boundary settings. Around 6% of eruptions on earth are lava dome forming” (Lava Dome).