Bohlman Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Bohlman Road


Rural climb at the eastern edge of Saratoga.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - a mountain lion standing in grassy area on hillside looking over it's shoulder to the camera, overlooking the sprawling Silicon Valley

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California.

Although a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley,

this area has its share of wilderness.

Ride 4.2 miles gaining 2,006’ at 9% average grade.

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, cyclist riding on smooth narrow roadway next to road sign noting that the Road Narrows, view looking downhill with San Jose in background, bike parked against a bench under large oak trees in valley, looking toward the tree-covered hillsides, Garmin device showing 18% grade, mountain lion looking over shoulder toward camera

This portion of the multi-segmented Bohlman Road Climbs begins at the southwestern edge of the quaint Silicon Valley town of Saratoga.  While we begin in a neighborhood (upscale!), we are quickly into rural and forested surroundings with some views of thousands of acres of open space and state park land to the west.

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked against brick signage for Madronia Cemetery, plaque for Madronia cemetery, bike parked against road sign noting bikes yield to pedestrians

Climb begins by riding up Bohlman from its beginning, adjacent to the Madronia Cemetery.

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, climb's gradient profile, bike parked against various road signs, bike parked in brush along roadside and hillside with red chicken coop in background   

Views along the climb.

The first 1.9 miles at an 11% average grade are shared by multiple Bohlman Road Routes.  The rural nature of the climb is highlighted by the chicken coop towards the end of the ride, and wildlife such as the bobcat we encountered near, you guessed it, the chicken coop! (Warning: we had a mountain lion sighting as of February 23, 2019 -- see below.)

Climbing Bohlman Road by bike - view of Santa Clara Valley through trees

Mt. Diablo to the northeast.

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - sharp hairpin turn on roadway overlooking Moffett Field and Mt. Diablo

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in foliage along roadway with views of Moffett Field and San Jose

Left photo:  Moffett Field.

Right photo:  San Jose.


Top Left: PICRYL Collections

Top Right and Bottom: Wikipedia

We have amazing views of the Silicon Valley and the South Bay along this climb, including the retired Naval Air Base, Moffett Field. Moffett Field is home to some of the largest freestanding buildings in the world (the old dirigible Hanger 1 covers eight acres).  I have fond memories of Moffett Field, having flown into it from Midway Island when I was stationed there (1976-1977) and serving as a Naval Judge Advocate General Corps during breaks from Santa Clara Law School (1981-1984).

Hanger One’s history:

“Built in 1931-1932, designed by German airship engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein for the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation, Hangar One covers 8 acres and can accommodate six American football fields.

It measures 1,133 feet (345 m) long and 308 feet (94 m) wide and 198 feet (60 m) high. The hangar's interior is so large that fog sometimes forms near the ceiling. The "orange peel" doors, weighing 200 short tons (180 metric tons) each, are moved by their own 150 horsepower (110 kW) motors.

At the time this was built, it was the largest building in the world without interior supports, providing an unusually extensive room for the construction of "lighter-than-air" airships. It was significant for U.S. Navy coastal defense capabilities during the peacetime era between 1932 and 1941 and construction of USS Akron and its sister ship, USS Macon, built in 1931 and 1933. These two airships were 785 feet (239 m) in length” (read more here).

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - red chicken coop on hillside during golden hour, chickens outside of coop

A very scenic chicken coop (AKA a wildlife magnet).


Roadway Surface and Traffic Report:  The roadway is excellent and there is very little traffic along this road, which dead-ends at the end of Bohlman Road.  This is a safe, pleasant, and challenging climb.

Bike climb up Bohlman Road - up close shot of mountain lion looking directly at camera.

An actual mountain lion sighting at the intersection of Bohlman and On Orbit, February 2019.

Cycling Bohlman Road, Saratoga, California - John Johnson in PJAMM Cycling jersey standing with bike and waving in front of road sign for End of road (and climb)

That’s a wrap!!