Sierra Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

3.6 mi
1,822 ft
9.5 %



Cycling Sierra Road - the thirteenth steepest 2.5 mile segment in Northern California and second steepest in the South Bay/Santa Cruz County (behind Alba Road). 
At 9.4% this is one of the steepest climbs of its length in California.  41% of the climb is at 5-10% grade and 49% is at 10-15%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 13.4% and steepest mile 11.1%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Excellent condition in 2019.

Traffic:  Minimal.

Parking: On Onslow Way just at the start of the climb (MapStreet View).  
There are no locations to get food or drink on the climb. 
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.
This climb is one of the Big Three on the annual grueling Devil Mountain Double ( that includes 200 miles and 18,500' of climbing.  The Big Three are:  Mt. Diablo - South GateMt. Hamilton East and Sierra Road. 

When you get to the finish, be sure to take a minute to enjoy the wonderful views from Sierra Vista Point (Google Map + Reviews). 

There are several hotel options in the area to make as your home base to tackle this and the other great climbs.  If you're staying a bit longer there are many great homes and condos to choose from in the area. 



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Cycling Sierra Road, the steepest bike climb in the San Jose area.

Ride 3.7 miles to 2,037’ gaining 1,841’ at 9.5% average grade.

Aerial drone photo of Sierra Road (seen right-center) and Calaveras Reservoir (seen upper left).

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

Sierra Road is a beast -- it’s one of the steepest climbs in Santa Clara County.  The climb hits you right at the start at 10.2% for the first half mile to the sharp left hand turn.  

Riding bike up Sierra Road  - view of start and road - PJAMM Cycling cyclist on bike

 Climb start.

Riding bike up Sierra Road  - view of start and road - PJAMM Cycling cyclist on bike

Looking down at the first ¼ miles @ 12%.

     Climbing Sierra Road by bike - turkey in roadway

Yes, this climb is “fowl” -- I did slow for the turkey crossing however . . . 

Cycling Sierra Road - cyclists riding up road framed by oak trees with San Jose and Silicon Valley behind hime.  

A lot of scenic pasture and grazing livestock on Sierra Road.

This is the last of three major climb segments of the popular but brutal Devil Mountain Double, hitting you at mile 160 of that ride -- ouch!  There are excellent views of the Silicon Valley to the west as we ascend and there is a nice open-space lookout view area at the top.  

Cycling Sierra Road - cyclists riding up road framed by oak trees with San Jose and Silicon Valley behind hime.

Just finishing the steepest ½ mile segment.

Photo at mile 1.8 - steepest ½ mile segment begins mile 1.3.

Roadway Surface and Traffic: The roadway is in excellent condition and there is very little traffic on the roadway as it enters open space area around mile 1.5.

Bike ride of Sierra Road - aerial drone photo of road and fields

Just completing steepest segment - San Jose in background (¼ mile @ 13.4%).


Wide open space on the second half of the climb.

Bike ride up Sierra Road San Jose, roadway, trees, steep drop - aerial drone photo


Last quarter mile to the top -- San Jose in background.

Hiking trail at the finish.

Bicycle ride Sierra Road - Sierra Vista Open Space Reserve sign - Mt Hamilton and Lick observatory in background

Sierra Open Space Preserve parking lot and sign at top of climb.

Mt. Hamilton’s Lick Observatory -- background left of sign.


Sierra Road was the most consistently-included climb during the early years of the Tour of California, having been included five straight years from 2007 through 2011.  However, the Tour has not returned to this difficult though brief climb since 2011.

  • 2007 Stage 3:
  • Queen stage - Stockton > San Jose;
  • 103 miles, 8,039’;
  • Stage winner Jens Voigt (GER).
  • 2008 Stage 3:
  • Queen stage - Modesto > San Jose;
  • 103 miles, 8,039’;
  • Robert Gesink (NED).
  • 2009 Stage 3:
  • 2010 Stage 4:
  • 2011 Stage 4 - Mountain-top finish:
  • Livermore - San Jose;
  • 81 miles, 8,337’;
  • Chris Horner (USA).

Mountain-top finish 2011.

Sunset - view of sun setting to the west from Sierra Road.

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