Lee Canyon  Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

11.2
FIETS
17.3 mi
DISTANCE
5,388 ft
GAINED
5.9 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Ron Hawks, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A

INTRO

Lee Canyon is the most difficult bike climb in Nevada and #22 in the US.  This bike climb begins in a fairly desolate and desert-like setting about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The average grade on this climb is 5.9%.  25% (4.3 miles) is at 0-5% and 74% (12.8 miles) is at 5-10%. The steepest quarter-mile is 8.4% and steepest continuous mile 7.3%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Excellent.

Traffic:  Mild but travelling at highway speeds of 55-60 mph.  The climb is to a dead end so there are not a lot of commercial trucks on the road.

Parking:  At climb start - MapStreet View.  
Provisions: None on the route.

Weather: This climb is in the Mojave Desert and the average high for June-August is 99-104. Additionally, you finish the climb nearly 5,000' above your starting altitude. Therefore, be sure to consult the PJAMM "Full Forecast" feature for the time you expect to arrive at climb start and finish to assess what clothing to bring on your ride.
Also consider climbing Kyle Canyon as part of your cycling day.  You can cut across to Kyle Canyon, Highway 157 via Highway 158, at the 14 mile mark of this climb (or 3.3 miles back down from the finish). 

We stayed in Las Vegas when we did these climbs and drove the 18 miles from Vegas to this climb for our long riding day.

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Lee Canyon-Hwy 156 is a Top 25 US Bike Climb

#24 in the US at 17.3 miles, 5,380’ gained to elevation 8,681 at 5.9%.

Nevada’s most difficult bike climb.

This bike climb begins in a fairly desolate and desert-like setting about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Beginning of Lee Canyon Bike Climb - Hwy 156 long, flat and straight

This climb can be extremely hot and probably should be avoided between June and August when the average high temperature ranges from 99 to 104.   The first 11 miles are through high desert landscape with many Joshua Trees, which turns gradually to pine and fir forest beginning around Mile 12.  

Bicycle ride up Lee Canyon - Joshua Trees

Many Joshua trees along the first segment of the bike climb.

Climbing Lee Canyon Bike Climb (Hwy 156) by bike - view of desert and plains below - hwy 95

Desert gives way to alpine surroundings as we cycle up Hwy 156.

By the time we top 8,000', we are in a completely different climate zone made up of pine forest and scenic mountain formations.  The climb ended at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in 2015 when we rode to the top, but Google Street Views as of December 2018 suggest the climb now continues another quarter mile up the mountain.

Bike up Lee Canyon Bike Climb - end at Upper Bristlecone Trail Head

Finish

Thank you Ron Hawks, Las Vegas, NV, USA

​The climb is fairly steady, between 4-7%, and with very few higher extended grades throughout.

The Lee Canyon bike climb can be done in conjunction with 3 other climbs in the immediate area (the Hwy 156-158 #34 cycling route shares its first 14 miles with the Lee Canyon climb; #49 Hwy 157-158 and ​ #70 Kyle Canyon/Hwy 157). Be careful if doing this ride without support as the only provisions are likely to be at the Mt Charleston Resort at the end of Hwy 157. Support is highly recommended for any effort involving Lee and​ Kyle Canyons in the same ride.

Roadway Surface and Traffic: This climb is primarily along a Nevada state highway (Hwy 156) which does not have a shoulder or bike lane to speak of, yet traffic is minimal, making the ride much less nerve-wracking than riding on the busier state highways.