Cycling Shearman Pass - this is one of the most remote, challenging and hottest road bike climbs in California. At 15.6 miles, gaining 5,460’ to an elevation of 9,130’ at 6.5% average grade, this is the 13th toughest cycling climb in the US.
Sherman Pass is a very challenging bike climb in a remote region of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the Sequoia National Forest. Before you get to excited when seeing Sequoia National Forest (alla Bear Creek Road, Whitaker Forest, Hwy 198 and the like) do not 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/World, then this is a good climb for you. If views precede challenge on your priority list, you may rethink this one. We have climbed this brute twice and know it fairly well. Its landscape has sadly been decimated by wildfires over the years and it lacks a bit on the forest side.
Climb begins at Hwy 99 adjacent to the Kern River
Most of our surroundings are high desert and dry
Our cycling friend and frequent contributor, Ron Hawks, towards and at the top of the climb.
Ron Hawks at Sherman Pass.
Although the views throughout the majority of the ride 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 in August, 2011 hit 106 at the bottom of the climb).
Traffic and Roadway 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 locations 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.