Santa Clara County - Top Bike Climbs

#1
Hicks Road to Mt. Umunhum (north)
USA, CA
#2
Hicks Road - Mt. Umunhum (south)
USA, CA
#3
Soda Springs Road
USA, CA
#4
Bohlman Road
USA, CA
#5
Mt. Hamilton East
USA, CA
#6
Quimby Road
USA, CA
#7
Bohlman - On Orbit
USA, CA
#8
Sierra Road
USA, CA
#9
Mt. Hamilton West
USA, CA
#10
Montevina Road
USA, CA

Climb List: Santa Clara County
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

Cycling Santa Clara County

Photos clockwise from top left

#1 Mt. Umunhum North;  #3  Soda Springs Road; #4 Bohlman Road (actual sighting)

#8 Mt. Hamilton West (most popular) and #2 Mt. Umunhum South (center)

The top 6 bike climbs in Santa Clara County are, in descending order:

SANTA CLARA COUNTY #5 BIKE CLIMB

MT. HAMILTON EAST

Cycling Mt. Hamilton East

Ride 4.5 miles gaining 1,962’ at 8.3% average grade.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY #5 BIKE CLIMB

BOHLMAN ROAD

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.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY #5 BIKE CLIMB

BOHLMAN-ON ORBIT-BOHLMAN

Bohlman-On Orbit-Bohlman

Ride 4.1 miles gaining 2,045’ at 9.3% average grade.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY #3

SODA SPRINGS ROAD

Cycling Soda Springs Road - road sign, cyclists, roadway

Ride 5.4 miles gaining 2,413’ at 8.5% average grade.

A remote bike climb due east of Lexington Reservoir.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY #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 SANTA CLARA COUNTY

MT. UMUNHUM NORTH

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?

  • Difficulty overall:
  • Santa Clara County/Bay Area: #1
  • Northern California #5
  • California:  #41
  • USA:  #82
  • Steepest 5 miles:
  • Santa Clara/Bay Area: #1
  • California:  #1
  • USA:  #8
  • World: #79

THE MOST POPULAR BIKE CLIMB IN SANTA CLARA

MT. HAMILTON WEST

Cycling Mt. Hamilton - Lick Observatory aerial drone photo of observatories and road

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 holds the KOM on Hamilton against 10,000 Stava members.