Powder Mountain Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

7.2 mi
3,672 ft
9.7 %



Powder Mountain is worth the trek to get to - this is one of the steepest and most challenging bike climbs in the United States.  The scenery isn't much to speak of, but you will not regret taking a run (or slow crawl) at this beast. 

"There is a monster loose in northern Utah. One of the most difficult overall climbs and with perhaps the most difficult finish in the United States, Powder Mountain will slam you along long stretches of double digit grade, particularly over its 2nd half. Leading to a ski area, it is a tale of two climbs in a sense..." (This quote provided with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, 50 Climbs (by Bike) in Utah, pg. 54.)
Powder Mountain is all about STEEEEP!  This brute averages 9.7% for an entire 7.2 miles (10% if we adjust to remove the very brief descent). The steepest quarter-mile is 15.4% and there is a full mile that averages 14.6%.    After Mt Washington Auto Rd (12.7%), Powder Mountain has the steepest 5 mile segment (11.5%) of any paved road open to cyclists in the US. 
Roadway:  Excellent condition as of 2019.

Traffic:  Negligible - not an issue.

Parking:  We have parked near the start (MapStreet View) on a visit during the weekday and in a nearby business parking lot on our weekend climb.  Parking is not a problem. 
Provisions:  If the Hidden Lake Lodge is open, you will have food and beverages at the top - Google Map + Reviews. 

:  We'd suggest a compact chainring and large enough rear cassette to accommodate this extremely steep climb according to your ability and fitness level. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Twice we have travelled from Salt Lake City International Airport the day we flew in to climb Powder Mountain.  It is only 51 miles from the airport to the start of the climb.   We have also stayed in Ogden, Utah which is near the start and there are a few hotel options there.  There are several other climbs in the area that you could consider doing while in the area (Routes in Area). 

If your cycling adventure has you staying for a longer time house and condo rentals are also an option. 



Difficulty: Extreme



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Jul 18, 2021
I just rode this on July 17th 2021. I don't think disc brakes are must for this ride. People have been riding this for years without them. Just know your ability and your brake's limitations. I hadn't been to Powder Mountain this year since February for my last ski day. I don't remember the road being this perfect; I think they might have repaved it recently!! It was a blast for the descent. I noticed they have the parking listed here further up the canyon than I normally do. I prefer the North Arm Trailhead linked below. It has a restroom and typically has plenty of space. It also gives you about 2-3 miles of warm up before the climb. https://goo.gl/maps/9h8i58ThG2b82f4m7
May 19, 2021
difficulty: Extreme
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 3
May 19, 2021
scenery: 3
traffic: 4
road: 3
I've ridden almost all of the big climbs in Northern Utah and Powder Mountain is on a whole different level. It is absolutely relentless. Also of note, I have rim brake carbon wheels and the descent was almost worse than the climb. Highly recommend disc brakes for this one.
Mar 22, 2021
difficulty: Extreme
scenery: 2
traffic: 4
road: 4
Mar 22, 2021
scenery: 2
traffic: 4
road: 4
Climbing Powder Mountain is somewhat like having a bomb go off near you. You will likely survive it but perhaps not without consequences. One of the most challenging in the US, it contains what may be the most difficult 3 mile stretch in American cycling. Around mile 6 you turn right for the finishing 1.5 miles on a fairly new paved road. The descent is hair raising, could be the fastest in the US, and has taken lives. All in all a good day in the saddle.
Apr 26, 2021
wow, thanks for the tips, my sister-in-law lives in Layton, was thinking of doing this the next time we visit, maybe I need a bike with disc brakes for this one???
Apr 26, 2021
If its a warm day it couldn't hurt....

Climb Profile Not Found

Bike at top of powder mountain climb by bike

 Cycling Powder Mountain: One of the most difficult bike climbs in Utah and the US.

This climb averages double digits and is ranked #1 Utah/#11 US/#147 World.

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

The Powder Mountain bike climb is the most difficult climb by bike in Utah.

Just getting started -- steep from the outset!

Bring your climbing legs for the very challenging Powder Mountain bike climb near Salt Lake City, Utah.  The ride begins with a  modest 5.1% average grade for the first 1 ½ miles, and ends with 5.6  miles of 11.1% average grade, with Mile 3-4 at 13.8%.   As is dramatically evident from the elevation grid above, the orange-red sections, representing 8-15% grades, are prominent continuously through the final two-thirds of the climb. This is a very unusual elevation profile as we rarely see five continuous miles of such steep gradient.  

Cyclist passing roadway warning sign

We are most definitely in snow country in these parts.  

This climb takes us to the base of Powder Mountain Ski Resort. 

PJAMM bicyclist passing steep grade sign on Powder Mountain bike climb

Fair warning!

This is an exceptional and worthwhile cycling challenge and the top bike climb in Utah. The start point is only an hour from the Salt Lake City International Airport, and can be climbed in the same day as #30 Little Cottonwood Canyon (74 miles south),  #36 Big Cottonwood Canyon (70 miles south), or #15 Guardsman and #50 Empire Pass from Midway, which begin at the same location and are 101 miles south of the beginning of the Powder Mountain climb.

The Powder Mountain bike climb begins at the northern end of Eden, Utah and ends a little over a mile up the hill past Powder Mountain ski/board area.

Turn right onto Summit Pass Road at mile 5.8 - 1.3 miles at 9.3% to the top.                                                                                 

Road to top of Powder Mountain climb by bike

Summit Pass Road Sign with cyclist on Powder Mountain Utah bike climb.

Summit Pass -- New top of the Powder Mountain bike climb.


Start of steepest grade starts at mile 3 (15.%)

Before heading out to cycle Powder Mountain, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

Roadway/Traffic/Descent Report:  The roadway is very good and there is minimal traffic on this climb.  The descent is one of the fastest you will ever experience.  The author had a close call with high speed front wheel shimmy for the first time ever while descending this mountain -- yikes.

Summit Pass Road Sign with cyclist on Powder Mountain Utah bike climb.

That’s a wrap!


Tom Danielson (USA; Tour of Utah 2013 and 2014)  wins stage 4 2014 Tour California

Photo: Cyclingnews.com

The Tour of Utah, nicknamed “America’s Toughest Stage Race”  began in 2000 and received 2 HC status in 2011.  Powder Mountain has been featured as a stage finish twice since 2011 (2014 - Tom Danielson; 2019 Ben Hermans).  Ben Hermans was second to Danielson in 2014 and then won the stage in 2019.

Summit Pass Road Sign with cyclist on Powder Mountain Utah bike climb.

Summit Pass Road Sign with cyclist on Powder Mountain Utah bike climb. 

Ben Hermans (BEL; Israel Cycling Academy) wins Stage 2 Tour of Utah

Stage finished at Powder Mountain Resort August 16, 2019

Photo:  Cyclingnews.com

Stage 2 of 2019 Tour of Utah finished at the top of the Powder Mountain climb listed on our website on August 14, 2019.  Official Tour of Utah Stage 2 web page. Stage 2 was 84.4 miles from Brigham City to Powder Mountain Resort and included 7,316’ of climbing.  This was a beast of a climb for a stage finish - if Octave Lapize were riding this one, we know what he would say - ASSASSINS!  (See Col du Tourmalet Tour de France history at our Tourmalet Climb Page).

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