Cycling Welch Creek Road
Ride 3.8 miles to elevation 2,233 gaining 2,021’ at 9.5%.
Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.
This is a fairly remote East Bay climb that travels through the Sunol Regional Wilderness Area. We are on a very narrow one lane road the entire climb that has very little traffic on it . . . most of the time . . .
Did we mention the road width . . . ?
We LOVE Welch Creek Road and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a private and challenging bike climb in remote Alameda County’s Sunol Regional Wilderness Area. This ascent is an attraction for its challenging grade (particularly 1.2 miles, starting at mile 1.7, which averages 14.2%). The roadway is a single lane and has more the feel of a bike lane as it winds its way through the canyon to a locked gate where the road turns to dirt at the top.
Most of the climb is through Coal Mine Canyon and has a canopy of tree coverage much of the way. The ride through the canyon is steep, but very peaceful.
The final mile of the climb is in the open, affording cyclists fantastic views towards the San Jose and the Santa Cruz Foothills to the south.
Before heading out on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
Drone photo of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County 45 miles northwest.
Top of the climb.
Coal Creek Canyon.
PJAMM takes a spin offroad to check out the fog bank below . . .
Welch Creek Road is paved, but you have gravel options, too.
 Note that a cyclist contacted us on January 12, 2020 advising: “Rode Welch Creek Road today. Was stopped about 0.5 miles from the top and told the road was private and asked to turn around. Wasn't given much choice as their vehicle was blocking the road and wouldn't let me pass. Was told the road was private from the park boundary sign (I think that is at about the 2.5 mile marker). Didn't get into an argument with them and turned around as asked. I have ridden this climb a number of times and this is the first time this has happened.” PJAMM has documented Welch Creek in 2015 and 2019 and never encountered any hostility (well, there’s not much traffic, truth be told) or Private Road signs. Just giving you a heads up . . .
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