Mt. Equinox Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.3 mi
3,212 ft
11.5 %



Cycling Mt. Equinox, Sunderland, Vermont - this is the hardest and steepest bike climb in Vermont. However, beware that Mt. Equinox is closed to bicycle traffic all but one day of the year.
"Mount Equinox in southwest Vermont is one of the most difficult climbs in the United States although it is open to bikes only during the annual race on its slopes.  The ascent includes multiple hairpin turns and extended climbing at double digit grade over a large portion of its route.  There are spacious views at and as you approach the summit as well.  This hill is simply one of the steepest sustained climbs one can find and a must do for serious climbers."  (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 184.)
But for 200 yards of mild descent, this climb is ALL up and at a very steep grade!  The average grade for the 5.3 mile route is 11.3% (11.6% with descent eliminated).  A startling 57% (three miles) of the climb is in the 10-15% gradient range and 11% (0.6 miles) is at 15-20%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 14.7% and steepest continuous mile is 13.5%.
Roadway:  This is a private toll road and the road is pristine.

Traffic:  None if you are riding a bike since the road would thus be closed to motor vehicles.

Parking:  At the toll house parking lot at the start of the climb. 
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Beware that the annual road race for Mount Equinox was last held in 2016.  The race was scheduled for 2020, but was cancelled due to COVID. Check with the sponsor each year to determine if the race will be held -

Nearby locations of Arlington, Sunderland, and Manchester have many hotel options as well as some very cute and unique vacation rental homes.



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Beginning of bicycle climb up Mt. Equinox, Sunderland, Vermont.  Toll gate and toll house.

Gate open to cyclists once per year.

Mt. Equinox, VT is the southernmost of the 5 Top 100 U.S. Climbs located in the northeastern part of the United States (#3 Mt Washington, NH, #41 Whiteface Mt, NY, #57 Mt Ascutney, VT, and #87 Burke Mt, VT).  

Ride 5.3 miles gaining 3,150’ at 11.3% average grade.

Mt Equinox is  a private road, open to cyclists only once each year during the Mount Equinox Uphill Bike Climb (2018 page) held in early August, and you are not permitted to ride your bike back down the hill after the race.  Views from the top of Mt Equinox are exceptional and unobstructed as it is the highest peak in the area.

Mt. Equinox bike climb - steep road sign

Yes - Cycling Mt. Equinox is very difficult at an average 11.5% grade!

The climb begins in Sunderland, VT (population 956, 2010).  Mt. Equinox is a mountain in the Taconic Mountain Range which is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

The authority on Northeast Road Bike Climbing, Doug Jansen ( has graciously authorized our use of his detailed analysis and description of the climb: "This course climbs Skyline Drive to the summit of Equinox Mountain. Bikes have not been allowed on this private auto road for many years. The Gear Up for Lyme race in 2004 was the first chance for hillclimbers to test their mettle on this beast. It is claimed to have a short section of 28% grade, but after racing this mountain, my hunch is I didn’t encounter anything steeper than 15 or 16%. The climb has one brief, fast descent that prevents it from being a truly monotonic climb. For the last few years, a $500 cash prime has been offered for the first ride to pass the one mile mark. $500 for a mile? How hard could that be? Oh, to collect the prize, you must also finish the race within a cutoff window. The view from the summit is spectacular. Mt Equinox is steep and one of the highest peaks around, so great views abound from several vantage points, especially from the open ridge line leading to the summit. The road is smoothly paved, tollbooth to summit. Unfortunately, like Mt Washington, cyclists are not allowed to ride their bikes back down."  Northeast Cycling Mt. Equinox Data.

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