Photos clockwise from top left
#1 Mt. Umunhum North; #4 Soda Springs Road; #5 Bohlman - On Orbit (actual sighting)
#3 Alba Road and #2 Mt. Umunhum South (center)
The top 5 bike climbs in the south bay are, in descending order:
SOUTH BAY #5 BIKE CLIMB
Although a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley . . . .
. . . this area has its share of wilderness . . .
Ride 4.2 miles gaining 2,006’ at 9% average grade.
SOUTH BAY #4
SODA SPRINGS ROAD
Ride 5.4 miles gaining 2,413’ at 8.5% average grade.
A remote bike climb due east of Lexington Reservoir.
SOUTH BAY #3
Ride through thick redwood forest on a minimally travelled road past historic Alba School House
Ride 3.8 miles gaining 2,040’ at 10.3% average grade.
SOUTH BAY #2
MT. UMUNHUM SOUTH
The easier route up Mt. Umunhum 😕
Ride 5.5 miles gaining 2,697’ at 9.3% average grade.
Hicks Road South up Mt. Umunhum is the second most difficult bike climb in Santa Clara County, behind only Mt. Umunhum North. Hicks-Umunhum South begins at the western end of Almaden Reservoir. At 3,486 feet, Mt. Umunhum is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Cruz Mountain Range, and is part of the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. The summit of Mt. Umunhum has been newly restored and revived by the Midpeninsula Open Space District (MOSD), and has been recently reopened for public access. From the peak beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada mountain range can be enjoyed.
THE TOP BIKE CLIMB IN THE SOUTH BAY
MT. UMUNHUM NORTH
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Cycling Hicks Road-Mount Umunhum from the north (the southern tip of Guadalupe Reservoir)
Ride 5.1 miles gaining 2,673’ at 10% average grade.
This is the most difficult bike climb in the Bay Area, and one of the most popular as well. Although the climb officially ends short of The Cube, be sure to continue another 1½ miles from the finish to the Mt. Umunhum Cube, a five story Cold War era radio building built in the early 1960’s that is now out of commission.
That’s the profile of a very difficult road bike climb.
How does Umunhum rank in Santa Clara County, California, the United States, and the world, compared to the other top bike climbs?
- Santa Clara County/Bay Area: #1
- Northern California #5
- California: #41
- USA: #82
- Santa Clara/Bay Area: #1
- California: #1
- USA: #8
- World: #79
THE MOST POPULAR BIKE CLIMB IN THE SOUTH BAY
MT. HAMILTON WEST
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Cycling Mt. Hamilton West is the most popular bike climb in Santa Clara County
Ride 18.4 miles gaining 4,300’ at 4% average grade.
Over 10,000 Strava members have climbed Hamilton as of April, 2020
Mt. Hamilton is the most popular bike climb in the South Bay and has been featured in more Tour of California races than any other climb (see Tour of California section below). On any given day, particularly weekdays, you are bound to see many cyclists on this very fun road bike climb.
Final mile to the summit.
Mt. Hamilton is the most featured mountain climb in the history of the Tour of California, having been featured six times between 2006-2019. Mt. Hamilton has never been a mountain-top finish in the ToC. (Note that ToC is on hiatus for 2020.)
Legendary hill climber Phil Gaimon hold the KOM on Hamilton against 10,000 Stava members.