Sugarloaf Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Sugarloaf Road


One of 3 great Catskills climbs in close proximity to each other.

Page Contributor(s): Ties Arts, Bussum, Netherlands

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Climb Summary

Cycling Sugarloaf Road, Catskills

Ride 4.1 miles gaining 1,624’ at 7.6% average grade.

Climb Summary - Ties Arts, Bussum, Netherlands

Another great  Catskills climb.  This climb can (should?) be linked to the #2 Most Difficult New York State Climb - Glade Hill.  One can link many of these climbs together in the Catskills to create one heck of a climbing adventure  (e.g. Doug Jansen’s “Catskills Climb Fest” of 14,000’).  

Ties Arts (Netherlands) summary from his 2016 trip:

““What a beast this is.  I starts with a beautiful section in a valley surrounding (kind of gravel very good rideable) and then you go into the woods and it becomes steeper and steeper.

From km 4.4 up to the end it never goes below 11% so hard work. As well no hairpins so straight up. And like you will experience often in the  catskills mountains not all roads go up straight.

The line is straight but the sections are ‘rolling’ – very steep followed by flat/not so steep. This make a 11% 2.2km section even tougher.  Up on the top the view is magnificent”.

Ken and Sarah Marsh Roberts’ excellent website - Roberts Website -  Hudson Valley climbing page.  

Sugar Loaf Rd -- in Sullivan and Ulster county, north from Rt 55A and the Rondout Reservoir.  Total climbing on Sugar Loaf around 1650 vertical feet in 4.5 miles (or 1700 vertical feet if finish with a sharp left turn onto Red Hill Rd), including 850 vertical feet around 11% grade (with several sections even steeper -- if that's not steep enough for you, consider nearby Glade Hill -- also nearby is Moore Hill Rd).  The second-tallest climb on a paved road we know in the Hudson valley south of Albany. [not checked by us since 2007]  Warning: all roads down from the top of this climb are very steep.[ see Map ]

Doug Jansen (

Catskills Hill Fest Page:  

Sugar Loaf Rd (1647 ft) After descending Glade, we take the other fork and go right into the Sugar Loaf Climb.  At least it started out gradually.  But this climb would entail just as much vertical as Platte Cove and was occurring much later in the ride when we were becoming very tired. The average grade is not that serious, but the climb entails about 3 miles of 9%, including 0.3 miles of 13% near the end.  Our route made a lollipop loop out of this climb.  After cresting the high point, we went right on Red Hill Knolls Rd, then followed a counter-clockwise loop down Red Hill Knolls/Denning until reaching the next moderate climb of the ride, Red Hill Rd.  I think it was somewhere along this stretch that a deer jump out right in front of me, like slam on my brakes in front of me.  We saw deer many times during the ride.  We don’t have that many deer in NH or eastern Mass.  On way home after the ride, we saw large herds of deer at dusk, just like I used to see in Michigan.

 By this point, we were all running out of water again.  I was still ok, but I started with a full 100oz Camelbak.  I think on epic rides like this, everybody should carry Camelbaks.  Two small water bottles might be good for one hour on a warm afternoon.  We did not plan on returning to Grahamsville again, a 6 mile out and back.  Our plan was to catch somebody in their yard and ask if we could have some water.