Sweetwater Springs Road west Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Sweetwater Springs Road west


Secluded climb near Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary

Climbing Sweetwater Springs Road by bike - aerial drone photo of Mercury Mine and road

The Sweetwater West bike climb is up the lower middle, and middle left of the photo.


This is a very private and stout climb (a few segments hit 16% for short distances) through a wooded and secluded portion of western Sonoma County, beginning just east of Guerneville, CA.  Ride 1.4 miles east from Sweetwater’s intersection with Armstrong Woods Road where the road pitches up appreciably to begin the climb.  This is a nearly private, and very challenging, albeit brief, climb in west Sonoma County.  The more popular Sweetwater route begins off Westside Road near Santa Rosa, to the east, but the west side Sweetwater ascent is just as challenging, although without the classic Sonoma County vineyard scenery leading up to it.

Cycling Sweetwater Springs Road - cyclist riding past road sign at start

Beginning of Sweetwater West bike climb.

A very scenic loop that gives us two classic Sonoma County experiences, vineyards (of course!) and redwoods, is the 30 mile Armstrong Woods loop -- with 3,200' of climbing, and some exceptional vineyards views (note that three miles of this loop are along River Road which is busy, with fast moving vehicles, but there is a good bike lane along this stretch).

Bike climb Sweetwater Springs Road - road and cougar crossing sign

Climbing Sweetwater Springs Road by bike - slow and danger sign, roadway

Traffic/Roadway Surface:  The roadway is very narrow and bumpy (no problem at all ascending, but a bit rough descending).  There is next to no traffic and we rate this as a very safe road for cyclists.

     Climbing by bike Sweetwater Springs Road - PJAMM Cycling John Johnson at finish with bike on road



Cycling Sweetwater Springs Road - Mount Jackson Mine

Mt. Jackson Mine, Sweetwater Springs Road, Guerneville, CA.

This abandoned mine is at the beginning of the climb.  The Mount Jackson Mine is the only remains that can be seen in Sonoma County today of the once vibrant mercury (quicksilver) mining in Sonoma County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hundreds of mining claims were filed in the 1870’s, resulting in many mines opening in Sonoma County with “colorful names like the Rattlesnake, the Blue Jacket, the Red Cloud, the Flaming Star and Robert Louis Stevenson's hideaway, the Silverado. Miners named them for women — Edith, Emma, Georgia — and for their homes — Illinois, Missouri, Chicago”  (Pressdemocrat.com).

Cycling Sweetwater Springs Road - aerial drone photo of Mount Jackson Mercury Mine

Mount Jackson Mercury Mine operated from 1889 until 1972.

The town of Mercury surrounding  the Mount Jackson Mine consisted of a post office, church, community hall, school, and 57 company homes.


cycling Sweetwater Springs Road - barn and road

This western Sonoma County climb takes us through a private, wooded, and secluded area.  Nearly the entire route is covered by a canopy of trees and the smell of redwood accompanies us for part of this climb.  Rarely do we encounter motor vehicles on this route and, while the roadway is barely over one lane, the ride is comfortable (well, maybe not during the 16-20% sections) and safe.  This has a #459 Strava Segment, meaning it was one of the first of millions created over the years.

An extremely scenic and very remote 100 mile ride with nearly 9,500' of climbing  that includes two Sonoma County jewels (Sweetwater Springs Road and Kings Ridge Road) is found at the PJAMMCycling RideWithGPS Map.  Note that there are provisions in Guerneville at mile 12 and Cazadero at mile 25, water at Camp Liahona  Redwoods at mile 52, and Dry Creek General Store a 1/2 mile off West Dry Creek Road at mile 87, but be prepared because this is an isolated and very hot route during summertime.

Traffic/Roadway Surface:  The roadway is very narrow and bumpy (no problem at all ascending, but a bit rough descending).  There is next to no traffic and we rate this as a very safe road for cyclists.

That’s a wrap!