The Sherman Pass bike climb in California is a very challenging climb in a remote region of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the Sequoia National Forest. Before you get excited about seeing Sequoia National Forest, a la Bear Creek Road, Whitaker Forest, Highway 198, and the like, don’t be misled. While this climb will surely test your climbing abilities, it should not be mistaken for climbs on the southwestern side of the Sierra with much lusher surroundings, not to mention actual Sequoia Redwoods along the routes.
Sherman Pass is a hot, dry, private climb on a narrow road with minimal traffic. If you are one to check off the toughest climbs in a state/country/the world, then this is a good climb for you. If views precede challenge on your priority list, you may rethink this one. Its landscape has sadly been decimated by wildfires over the years and it lacks a bit on the forest side. We have climbed this brute twice and know it fairly well.
Climb begins at Highway 99 adjacent to the Kern River.
Most of our surroundings are high desert and dry.
Our cycling friend and frequent contributor, Ron Hawks, toward and at the top of the climb.
Thank you Ron!
Although the views throughout the majority of the Sherman Pass bike climb are generally of arid landscape and distant mountainous terrain, we do enter an alpine setting for the top last third of the climb.
Beware that the heat during the summer can be stifling. The temperatures when we first climbed Sherman Pass in August 2011 hit 106°F at the bottom of the climb.
Traffic and Roadway Surface Report: The roadway surface is rough, but major potholes and cracks had been patched within a week of our climb in August 2014. Descend with caution, as there is gravel/dirt/sand in places, which create a real hazard for the unwary. The road is narrow with no shoulder, bike lane or center line, although the very few vehicles you will encounter along the way generally travel at low speed.