Palomar Mountain East Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling






Palomar Mountain East

CA, USA

Scenic but easier route up Palomar Mountain

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Beginning of bicycle climb up Palomar Mountain - East Grade Road sign

Cycling Palomar Mountain East - Ride from Lake Henshaw into the Cleveland National Forest

Ride 10.9 miles gainine 3,200’ to elevation 5,370’ at 4.7% average grade.

    Riding East Grade Road by bike - cyclist and silos 

Silos at mile 7.7 on East Grade Road

Palomar East Grade is the shorter and easier of the 3 Palomar ascents (Palomar South Grade and Nate Harrison Grade).  The scenery along this route is quite nice and includes pastures with grazing cattle and views south to Mt Laguna and mountain peaks in Mexico just south of the border.  

This San Diego County road bike climb enters Cleveland National Forest (created in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt and named after Grover Cleveland; 460,000 acres).

Cycling up East Grade Road - views of distant mountains 

    Climbing Palomar Mountain east by bike - views of open fields and cattle.

We begin the climb near Lake Henshaw (a shadow of its former self) and begin our gradual and steady 11 mile climb towards the top from there .As is seen in the slideshow above, this is a climb that justifies the effort to get to.

Lake Henshaw Dam on Palomar Mountain bike climb.

Lake Henshaw Dam

Lake Henshaw on Palomar Mountain Bike Climb

Lake Henshaw Overlook near start of the bike climb.


​Points of Interest:  There is, “Jilberto's Taco Shop” at the start of the climb (decent spot for lunch at the end of the descent) and a store there for provisions.  At the top of the climb continue straight for about a half mile to the
Palomar Mountain General Store and Mother's Kitchen (nice cafe with great pastries and pie).  4.8 miles beyond Mother's Kitchen (800' climbing to and 451' back) along Canfield Road takes us to the Palomar Observatory.  

Roadway and Traffic:  The roadway is a little rough in spots towards the top – 6.5 of 10 on our Roadway scale.  There is mild traffic along the climb – safe ride.