Top cycling climbs in Sonoma County and Wine Country inlcude Pine Flat, Geysers Road, Trinity, Cavedale, Bald Mountain, Ida Clayton Road, Fort Ross Road and many more. Cycling, riding and climbing the top, most difficult, hardest, challenging, extreme, best, scenic, inspiring, bucket list bike climbs in the Sonoma County and the Wine Country. Wonderful views of vineyards, the Pacific Coast, dairy and farmland and the rural beauty of our county.
Sonoma County, California
Our own backyard! We are incredibly lucky to have all the cycling options we do in our home of Sonoma County, and consider ourselves uniquely qualified to offer opinions on the area’s top bike climbs, having done all of them 10+ times over the years. We LOVE cycling in Sonoma County!
#1 OF 5 MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB
BALD MOUNTAIN, KENWOOD, CALIFORNIA
This climb has the only 360 degree Sonoma County mountaintop views accessible by bike. The author Jack London himself looked out from Bald Mountain and was inspired to write, “my life has indeed fallen in pleasant places. Not a hundred men in a million have been so lucky as I…”. We’d have to agree with Jack on this one, as the views from the top of Bald Mountain really are inspiring.
This is a short but stout climb in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in near Kenwood off of Highway 12, just southeast of Santa Rosa. The average grade for the entire 4.1 miles is nearly 10% and ¼ mile of the final ½ mile of gravel averages 16% (spiking to 20% briefly).
The climb is manageable for exceptionally strong cyclists, but a gravel bike with 34t chainring + 32t cassette with 33mm knobby tires is recommended (e.g. Specialized Roubaix).
#2 OF 5 MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB
GEYSERS, ALEXANDER VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
The Geysers Road climb offers the best views of vineyards in Sonoma County’s famously beautiful Alexander Valley of any other local bike climb. The climb is also challenging at 8.7% over 4.1 miles with a couple brief stretches at 16%. There are a few short segments of gravel, but nothing unmanageable to the experienced cyclist.
Two short stretches of gravel -- no problem on a road bike.
#3 OF 5 MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB
IDA CLAYTON ROAD, CALISTOGA, CALIFORNIA
Beautiful views back at the Knights Valley on this climb.
Ida Clayton Road offers the closest views on a paved road of Mt. St. Helena.
This climb is located in very close proximity to Geysers Road and Pine Flat. At 4.1 miles and 8.5% average grade, it is ranked barely below Geysers Road.
#4 OF 5 MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB
FORT ROSS ROAD, CAZADERO, CALIFORNIA
The first half of the climb is through a fern bordered one-lane road surrounded by towering Redwoods.
The climb opens up for the last ½ mile with views back towards the Pacific Ocean.
This scenic west county climb is very short at 2.4 miles, making it the shortest of our Sonoma County rides. That being said, it makes up for its brevity with an extreme gradient averaging 11% for the duration of the climb.
#5 OF 5 MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB
PINE FLAT, ALEXANDER VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Pine Flat -- The Wall (averages 16%; last 2 miles is at 10%).
Take away the 2.1 miles of -0.8% from mile 6.8 to 8.9, and Pine Flat rivals Bald Mountain for #1 on the Sonoma County Top Climbs List. This is one of the more popular and well-known bike climbs in Sonoma County. It is rare not to encounter cyclists on this climb, in spite of its remote Sonoma County location.
If climbing Ida Clayton, Geysers, or Pine Flat, be sure to stop at the Jimtown Store
for delicious food and local Sonoma County charm.
6706 Hwy 128, Healdsburg
UNIQUE/BEAUTIFUL CLIMBS OUTSIDE THE TOP 5
COLEMAN VALLEY ROAD, OCCIDENTAL, CALIFORNIA
Ride from the Pacific Ocean just north of Bodega Bay on Coleman Valley Road into Occidental for one of the great Sonoma County cycling experiences. The views coming down Coleman Valley Road toward the ocean will truly take your breath away. Nothing like cycling through majestic scenery and breathing in that crisp, salty air!
PJAMM’s John Johnson and Mark Hoffenberg (right in PJAMM World Champ jersey).
Mark is World Masters and four-time National Masters Champion (Montgomery High class of ‘75).
KING RIDGE, CAZADERO, CALIFORNIA
King Ridge is the centerpiece for Levi’s Gran Fondo and one of the most scenic rides in the North Bay. The 50 miles stretching from Cazadero, to Jenner, and back to Cazadero is our favorite Sonoma County bike loop.
CAVEDALE ROAD, SONOMA, CALIFORNIA
It didn’t get its name for nothin’!
This is a narrow and rough road with little traffic but significant challenge at 4.9 miles and 7.4% average grade. The first half of the climb boasts spectacular views of the Sonoma Valley below.