Fiddlers Elbow from Roxburg Hill Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

1.3 mi
718 ft
10.6 %


Page Contributor(s): Dan Razum, San Jose, CA


“Almost mythical in some cycling circles, Fiddlers Elbow Road in western New Jersey is short and very steep towards its end, a perfect combination. Through thick woods for much of its length, after a shallow start the grade soon kicks up. What follows is an extremely steep half mile that includes a stretch of 20+% grade just before the summit. The slope then eases just before the unmarked top. The entire climb (Ridge Road plus Fiddlers Elbow) is 1.4 miles at 9.9% average grade. This is one of the steepest maximum grade climbs outside of the super short hills in Pittsburgh, PA and San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson, from his book The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition; page 93.)

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Difficulty: Strenuous



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Oct 28, 2023
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 4
Oct 28, 2023
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 4
Roxburg Hill Rd does not have a sign at Rte 620. Tipton’s Tavern is on the NW corner. Notice the old stone house on the SE corner. Pavement was fresh today (Oct 2023). The first hill offers a mild taste of the pain in store. Left onto Ridge Rd gives a bit of rest after the effort. In 1/4 mile take the R onto the F-ng Elbow, and prepare for the suffering just ahead. You will climb tough ramps paced by brief shelves that only serve to set up yet another ramp, even harder. The last one is the final exam. Cars use this road, more often to descend, so keep your eyes open and observe the center line. The summit comes just past the house on the right. Two loose dogs went nuts at me, and one came a bit out on the road, but she was just bluffing. Fiddlers Elbow is a well engineered piece of tarmac. It rewards you with deeply cambered switchbacks and lovely views as it curves through a forest. Park in Belvidere NJ and head out of town on 620.First R onto Foul Rift to S F Rift. L at T.
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Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - bike parked against sign for Mile 37 on roadside

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow

The steepest and hardest bike climb in New Jersey.

Ride 1.3 miles gaining 718’ at 10.6% average grade.

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - photo collage, greenish and yellow fall foliage, two PJAMM Cyclists standing on one-lane roadway with bikes waving, Garmin device showing 23% grade, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Don’t mock the “speed”!!

You try riding with one hand up 23% taking photos of your Garmin and send me a photo! 👍👍

This is the steepest bike climb in New Jersey.  The steepest quarter mile is at the end of the climb and averages 16%.  

Traffic and Roadway Report:  This is a narrow rural road with minimal traffic and a great surface as of September 2020.

Climb report by PJAMM ambassador Dan Razum.

The climb starts on Roxburg Hill Road, at the intersection with Belvidere Road.  Belvidere is a busy road, with significant traffic but Roxburg Hill and Fiddlers Elbow are small roads with little traffic. Roxburg Hill is steep from the beginning. After we turn onto Ridge Road we get a small breather before we reach Fiddlers Elbow.

After we reach a big tree on Ridge Road we turn left onto Fiddlers Elbow and the steepness returns. Fiddlers Elbow doesn't look too bad but after the first curve the steepness kicks in and it just gets steeper as we climb further. It tops out above 20% near the summit so make sure you have proper gears for this one. The top isn't marked but it is obvious when the steep gradient is finally finished.

The road surface is good throughout the climb.  It is a two lane road with no shoulder but traffic is light so there is no safety concern. Care should be taken on the descent as it is easy to pick up speed quickly on the steep slopes.

That’s a wrap!!