Mt. Baldy Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Mt. Baldy


Mt Baldy Bike Climb: One of the Toughest in Southern California

Page Contributor(s): Bruce Hamilton, La Quinta, CA, USA; Stacy Topping, Tacoma, WA, USA

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Climb Summary

Cyclist on Mt. Baldy Road - bike, sign, PJAMM

Cycling Mt. Baldy - one of Southern California’s toughest bike climbs.

Ride 13.1 miles gaining 4,748’ at 6.7% average grade.

This is one of three routes to the top of Mt. Baldy:

  • Mt. Baldy Road (traditional route) - 13.1 miles at 6.7%
  • GMR to Mt. Baldy (the climb summarized on this page) - 27 miles at 3.8% (7.4% w/o descents)
  • Hwy 39 to Mt. Baldy - 27.3 miles at 3.5% (5.7% w/o descents)

Cycling Mt. Baldy - aerial drone photo of Glendora Mountain Road and Mt. Baldy Road and canyon.

Aerial drone photo:  View southwest from hairpins above mile hairpins mile 9.5.

Most Challenging Route:  This is the most challenging but not the most scenic of ascents to the top of Mt. Baldy (see GMR, below and
GMR Climb Page).  The main Baldy route travels from North Mills Road 13.1 miles to Mt. Baldy Resort parking lot -- the mountain finish for many Tour of California stages. The fifth hardest bike climb in the US is accessed by turning left onto Falls Road about 100 yards from the Mt. Baldy Ski Resort sign a half mile from the finish and then riding to The Notch at the top of the ski mountain 3 miles up a gravel road (Mt. Baldy to the very top).

Begin climb by riding up Mt. Baldy Road from its “T” intersection with N. Mills Ave.

Cycling Mt. Baldy - cyclist on bike riding up to Mt Baldy Resort sign

Enter Angeles National Forest (est. 1908; 655,387 acres) at mile 2.6.

The first eight miles of this ride are unspectacular and through arid, high desert landscape with dry grass during the summer and scattered desert shrubs.

We have to cycle through two tunnels at about Mile 5.2 to 5.4 which are about 50-100 yards in length and, although they are lighted, can be treacherous – flashing red lights for this part of the ride are highly recommended. Traffic is fairly heavy and fast over this section of the climb.

Open ...Open ...

We enter Baldy Village at Mile 8, and the remainder of the ride is more scenic.  Once we turn from Mt. Baldy Highway at the Icehouse (Mile 9.8), we begin the crux of this climb. The final 2.9 miles of the ride to the Mt. Baldy Ski Resort sign at the top of the steep climb is 9.5% average grade and an elevation gain of 1,442’.  The final segment of this ride from the Village to the Ski Resort is low traffic and more scenic.  

Mt. Baldy Village -- Mile 8.  

We highly recommend you have a meal at Mt. Baldy Lodge.

They are definitely bike friendly.

There is a water fountain at the Mt. Baldy Post office just before Mt. Baldy Lodge.  

Bear crossing sign Mt Baldy Road, Southern CA

Though we’re only a few miles from LA, it gets rural quick.

Saw a coyote a mile south of Baldy Village August, 2019

Bear left and stay on Mt. Baldy Road at mile 9.7 where the hairpins begin.

     Hairpin curve on Mt Baldy Road

5 of the 12 switchbacks on the last three miles.

We hit 5,000’ soon after beginning the hairpins.

Riding up one of 12 hairpins over the last 3 miles.

Cycling Mt. Baldy - cyclist on bike riding up to Mt Baldy Resort sign

Cycling Mt. Baldy - cyclist on bike riding up to Mt Baldy Resort sign

Sign just before the left turn to the ski resort parking lot.

Ski resort ticket booth 4/10’s mile further

The ¼ mile leading to the Mt. Baldy sign is the steepest of the entire climb (13.3% average).

You WILL encounter snow during the winter . . .

. . . the climb ends at a ski resort, after all.  🙂


Bear crossing sign Mt Baldy Road, Southern CA 

Andrew Talansky wins Mt. Baldy Stage 5 of the 2017 Tour of California.


Stage 6 2019 Tour of California - PJAMM Cycling cyclists with bike and partiers on mt baldy

It is always a raucous crowd during a ToC Mt. Baldy stage.

After Stage 6 of the 2019 Tour of California is complete, Mt. Baldy will have been a stage finish five of the 18 years the Tour has been held (each year since 2006).  The route on the Mt. Baldy stage is always the same route, as follows:

The route for all five ToC Mt. Baldy mountain-top finish stages (2019 Map).

The General Tour of California Mt. Baldy Route is:

  • Start in Ontario and ride to Mt. Baldy Road.
  • Ride climb Mt. Baldy Road to the town of Mt. Baldy.
  • Turn left at town of Mt. Baldy onto Glendora Ridge Road.
  • Ride Glendora Ridge Road to its intersection with Glendora Mountain Road.
  • Turn right onto Glendora Mountain Road and ride to East Fork Road.
  • Ride East Fork Road to Highway 39.
  • Ride Highway 39 south towards Azusa, past San Gabriel Reservoir to Sierra Madre Road.
  • Ride Sierra Madre Road to Glendora Mountain Road.
  • Climb Glendora Mountain Road to Glendora Ridge Road on to the village of Mt. Baldy.
  • Turn onto Mt. Baldy Road and continue five miles to the finish of the climb at Mt. Baldy Resort.

Chris Horner wins 2011 ToC, but Levi gets stage 7!

Robert Gesink wins 2012 Stage 6.

After Mt. Hamilton in Northern California (East Bay/Silicon Valley), Mt. Baldy has been included in more Amgen Tours than any other mountain climb.


Tadej Pogačar wins 2019 Stage 6.

Beginning 16 seconds behind at the beginning of Stage 16, Tadej Pogačar won the Queen Stage (Stage 6) on May 17, 2019 and held on for the overall win in 2019 making him at 20 the youngest winner of the ToC ever.

2015 -- Jullian Alaphilippe.

Stage Profile for all Glendora Mountain / Mt. Baldy ToC stages.

Summary from 2015 Tour of California Website:

            “Route Information: May 16, 2015 - Stage 7 Finish

The climb up to Mt. Baldy is an integral part of the Amgen Tour of California’s nine-year history. Since 2011, when it was first introduced as the race’s first true mountaintop finish, the steep switchbacks up to the Mt. Baldy Ski Area at 6,500 feet elevation have served as the deciding factor in crowning the overall champion. Due to overwhelming demand from the fans, Mt. Baldy is back for the Amgen Tour of California 10th Anniversary after a two-year hiatus!
Mt. Baldy is located 45 miles from downtown Los Angeles and is a popular location for hikers, sightseers and cyclists. During autumn, spring, and summer you will find hundreds to thousands of outdoor enthusiasts traveling Mt. Baldy every week to summit the tallest peak in Los Angeles County, Mt. San Antonio (Elevation 10,068 feet), which is accessible from a trail network originating at the Mt. Baldy Ski Area. For those who prefer a two-wheeled adventure, cyclists from far and wide visit Mt. Baldy to climb the challenging switchbacks, which ascend over 2,000 in only 4.3 miles (9% average gradient). In the winter months Mt. Baldy is known for its steep ski terrain and easy access from the big city below.”  See also -
2019 ToC summary of Baldy Stage.


Glendora Mountain Road:  This is the more scenic alternative to the Mt Baldy Road route.  This version of the Mount Baldy bike climb begins at the corner of E. Sierra Madre Avenue and Glendora Mountain Road in Glendora, California.  We did not include this ride on our Top 100 list because it has 1,115' of descent which takes it out of the "nearly all" continuous climb category. It would rank #97 on our list if included, with a Fiets Index Score of 7.33.  GMR (as it is referred to in Southern California) begins its ascent between Mt Baldy Road to the East and Highway 39 (Dawson Saddle and Crystal Lake) to the West.  This climb shares its last 4.5 miles with the Mt Baldy climb.  Distance:  26.69 miles, 6,646’ ascended, -1,115’ descent, average grade 3.4%.


Top Southern California Road Bike Climbs - clockwise from top left to middle:

Nate Harrison Grade, San Diego; Gibraltar Road, Santa Barbara; Palomar Mountain, San Diego

Glendora Mountain Road, Los Angeles; Mt. Baldy, Los Angeles

That’s a wrap!