Glade Hill Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

1.9 mi
1,259 ft
12.4 %


Page Contributor(s): The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) 2nd Ed.; Ties Arts, Bussum, Netherlands


OH MY!!!!! 12.3% average grade - this is a B R U T E!!! This is the second highest ranked hill climb in New York and has the steepest grade of any ascent over one mile in length (NYCC Steep Hill webpage). This is one of the five New York top climbs in the Catskill Mountains - the primary climbing zone in New York State.

"Glade Hill Road is a super steep ascent in the Catskills Mountains and likely the steepest in New York over any appreciable length.  Its most severe grade near the bottom, the hill is severe almost all the way up however.  At one point it crosses between 2 farm buildings where the slope eases a bit.  The grade soon rears back to double digit over a straight stretch..." (This quote provided with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 138.) 
There are few views but much GRADIENT on this climb which boasts the steepest mile in all of New York State. The average grade for the climb is a startling 12.4% with zero descent.  78.4% (1.5 miles) of this climb average between 10-15%, and 13.8% (0.3 miles) average 15-20%.  None of the climb is above 20%.  

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Narrow, no center stripe with good pavement.

Traffic:  Little to none. 

Parking:  Park at the beginning of the climb - MapStreet View
There are no provisions on this climb or in the immediate vicinity.  The closest food and drink is in Grahamsville three miles to the southwest - Route Map;  Google Map - Stores-Deli in Grahamsville.
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.
Visit the Grahamsville Little World's Fair three miles from climb start during your visit to the area if you are riding in the area in mid-August during the three days of the fair; Route MapGoogle Map + Reviews.  You may wish to stay in the Grahamsville area, where there are many options for both hotels and some adorable vacation rentals.



Difficulty: Challenging



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Mar 25, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 3
traffic: 5
road: 4
Mar 25, 2021
scenery: 3
traffic: 5
road: 4
Short and sweet, Glade Hill Road is almost perfect and at 12% average grade it makes an impression. Riding through the farm buildings is a unique experience as well, just keep that in mind if you descend the hill. Lots of nice climbing routes in this area. Perhaps my favorite climb in New York.
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Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - stone gazebo in a green space

Cycling Glade Hill -- a brutal New York State bike climb!

Ride 1.9 miles gaining 1,261’ at 12.4% averager grade.

This is the steepest mile in New York State at 13.5%.

“One of the steepest hills in the Northeast as well as the entire United States, Glade Hill Road is a severe ascent located within the scenic Catskills Mountains.  A moderate start soon gets very steep as you encounter an S bend with severe grade.  On top, the torture continues as you gain altitude on the isolated road.  A field and farmhouse soon appear.  The double digit grade eventually eases just before the roadway crosses quite closely between 2 farm buildings.  Severe pedaling quickly returns however but then eases slightly as the road now heads along a ridge with a drop off (and views) to the left.  You then head into the woods for a time as slightly more challenging pedaling returns.

Continuing uphill as the trees thin a bit, you quickly encounter the maximum grade on the hill through a semi right hand turn.  As you approach a shelf the grade eases but remains double digit.  It then gradually increases as the road straightens up the hill.  Towards the very top the slope finally eases and the climb ends at its junction with Moore Hill Road.  Needless to say, Glade Hill Road is a quick and challenging descent (it may be better to descend Moore Hill Road instead).” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 138.)

Before heading out to tackle New York state’s steepest mile, 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.

Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in front of various old and country buildings, one-lane country roads

OH MY!!!!! 12.3% average grade -- this is a B R U T E!!!  This is the second highest ranked hill climb in New York and has the steepest grade of any ascent over one mile in length (NYCC Steep Hill web page).  This is one of the five New York top climbs in the Catskill Mountains, the primary climbing zone in New York State.  

Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in front of various old barns

Climb begins in a very rural farming and ranching section of the Catskills.

Thanks much to PJAMM contributor Ties Arts of Bussum, Netherlands for his contributions to this page.  Ties writes:

We did Glade Hill as the final climb of the day, after already climbing six steep climbs in the Catskills mountains (total tour of that day 129km/80.2 mi 2900hm).  That didn’t make it easier. 12.4% for 3km/1.9 mi is by design a tough job to be done.  From the first hairpin it was tough. I had to go to my lowest gear (34x32) and use the postman technique to find a good rhythm climbing up Glade Hill.  All that said, it is a beauty of a climb with lot of open sections going up. Most steep climbs in the Catskills are 90% in the woods, but this one is not, which makes it more special.  Significant views going up. But again it was hard work championing this wall.

Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked along wire fences along steep hillside surrounded by farmland, stone gazebo

Views along the climb.

 Here are some more great ride reports for this climb:

 From PJAMM contributor and our New York Connection, Matthew Staller:

Glade Mountain is the second most difficult climb in New York, and the hardest in the Catskills. This challenging ascent travels on frighteningly difficult grades up hillsides so steep that the nearby city of New York condemned large portions of the area to be a part of its massive water supply system.


There are no views to speak of (well, there's one, but you'll not want to stop to enjoy it); and it can be impossible to descend (use adjacent Moore Hill Road for that).


This is a remarkable little climb. For starters (see Google Streetview map, below) it looks like nothing at the beginning; it never presents a view of itself for very long either. It begins off the side of another climb (Sugarloaf Road) so it's hard to take seriously as a stand-alone. Ha! Take it seriously or pay the price!!


I have ridden it twice, most recently earlier this week (September 1, 2015). The first time, I went with support, so I didn't have to descend. This time, I went alone; the descent is challenging =- I used Moore Hill instead of the treacherous Glade Hill descent and even that is daunting.  Moore Hill is less steep and a bit straighter than Glade Hill.  Glade has little if any vehicle traffic as over its 1.9 miles it services only three residences -- your own private torture chamber!!

Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - climb's finish at a sign next to evergreen trees, informational posters and signage

Climb’s Finish.


 Roberts Websites: (Hudson Valley Steep Roads)

“Tough climb with some pretty scenery along the way, and interesting variety of steepness and curves.  About 1250 vertical feet in 1.9 miles for an average steepness grade around 12.5% -- but there are sustained sections which are steeper. If stop in the middle, can look back to a big view to the southeast. The steepest climb on a paved road over 700 vertical feet that I know of so far in the Hudson Valley south of Albany.

The climb is in Sullivan county, north from the west end of the Rondout Reservoir near Grahamsville. (Could use the nearby Sugar Loaf climb as a warmup for Glade Hill -- also close by are Moore Hill + Denman Mt)[ see Map ]

[not checked by us since 2007]

Directions: From Rt 209 near Ellenville, take Rt 55 going northwest, then turn Right on Rt 55A and go northwest along the north side of the Rondout Reservoir. Turn Right to go northeast on Peekamoose Rd (Ulster county Rt 42), then soon turn left to go north on Sugar Loaf Rd. Soon turn left onto Glade Hill Rd and climb that up to Moore Hill Rd (which has a big climb of its own). (on some older maps it might be called "Furman Rd").

Warning: all roads down from the top of this climb are very steep.”


We add this farm in our summary because it is a beautiful working ranch and farm straight out of centuries past.  A testament to the seriousness of its owners is that you cannot find much about it on the internet.  The sign says it has been family owned since 1820!!  I stopped and took photos at the farm, but did not get the impression that this is a public area -- one rancher was loading hay and did stop to put his dog in the truck as I passed, but clearly not interested in visiting -- he was polite, yet very serious.  

Cycling Glade Hill Road, Grahamsville, New York - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, Furman Farms, bike parked at various locations at a a working farm established and family owned since 1820