USA's Highest Cycling Climbs

#1
Mount Evans
USA, CO
#2
Pikes Peak
USA, CO
#3
Mauna Kea
USA, HI
#4
Trail Ridge West
USA, CO
#5
Trail Ridge (Estes Park)
USA, CO
#6
Trail Ridge
USA, CO
#7
Independence Pass East
USA, CO
#8
Cottonwood Pass
USA, CO
#9
Independence Pass West
USA, CO
#10
Loveland Pass from Keystone
USA, CO

Climb List: USA
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

Cycling the USA

Mt. Evans is the highest paved road in North America.

Boy are we fortunate to have had the opportunity to climb so many spectacular mountains around the world, including all of the US Top 10 Highest Bike Climbs.  Truth be told, it hasn’t been that difficult -- getting to them at least!  Of the 10 highest bike climbs in the US, nine of them are in the high state of Colorado, and the other is one of our all-time favorites, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, which we have climbed four times by bike. We present five of the Top 10 US highest climbs below.

THE HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US

MT. EVANS, COLORADO

Cyclist and Mountain Goat at Summit of Mount Evans, Colorado 

You cannot cycle any higher than this in North America.

Photo is taken at the viewpoint at the end of the climb.

Mt Evans, Colorado is the highest paved road in North  America!  For all that strive to climb the hardest, the longest, the steepest, the highest, this bike climb is a must-do! This is the highest high-altitude cycling you'll ever get on a road bike in North America, so be prepared: you’ll encounter  3% less oxygen for every 1,000' of climbing.

Cyclist and Mountain Goat at Summit of Mount Evans, Colorado 

Mt. Evans Road leading to Summit Lake, six miles below the summit.

THE SECOND HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US

PIKES PEAK, COLORADO

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks 

Pikes Peak, Colorado #2 Highest US Bike Climb.

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks

42% less oxygen at the top of Pikes Peak than at sea level.

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks

The summit: official elevation 14,115’.

We have ridden Pikes Peak three times and consider it one of the most epic climbs in the world.  If we use the traditional and common definition of “epic” to equate to “legendary” or “monumental”, you would be hard pressed to ignore Pikes Peak.  This mountain is well known, if not famous.  It has been host to The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (aka Race to the Clouds) every year since 1916, the Pikes Peak Peak Ascent and Marathon (since 1956), and the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb.  Pikes Peak leaves nothing off the Most Epic Bike Climb Checklist: difficulty (#4 US/#23 world), elevation (#2 US), distance (#19 US) and varied scenery -- forests, lakes, hairpins, and unobstructed views of surrounding mountains and the Colorado Plains 8,000’ below.

THE THIRD HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US

MAUNA KEA, HAWAII

 

Hardest bike climb in the world.

Third longest climb in the US/Sixth World.

Third highest bike climb in the US.

Mauna Kea is the most difficult bike climb in the world.  Distinguished by the highest Fiets Index in the world, Mauna Kea is a monstrous, nearly impossible ascent.  In addition to the daunting climb, cyclists must be mentally and physically prepared for changing weather conditions, altitude sickness and varying terrain on this extremely challenging 42 mile climb.  

THE FOURTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US

TRAIL RIDGE, COLORADO

Cycling Trail Ridge, CO

43.9 miles (70.6 km)  to 12,151’ (3,704m)  gaining 7,770’ (2,367 m) at 3% average grade.

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks

Trail ridge has the distinction of being not only the fourth highest bike climb,

but also the second longest US/fifth longest World.

At a finish elevation of 12,151’ (3,704 meters), Trail Ridge is the fourth highest bike climb and the highest continuous (i.e., not a dead end) paved road in the United States.  Traversing Rocky Mountain National Park, this climb offers spectacular views along the giant switchbacks 20 miles below a summit that tops out at just above 12,000'.  

THE FOURTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US

INDEPENDENCE PASS, COLORADO

Independence Pass is yet another Colorado bike climb above 12,000’.

Indepence Pass is the highest pass in paved actual pass in the US at 12,095’. Mt Evans, Pikes Peak, Mauna Kea are higher but end at the top. Cottonwood Pass is a bit higher, but is not paved on one side. Trail Ridge is slightly higher, but its high point is not marked as a “pass” (Iceberg Pass is down from the Trail Ridge high point at 11,827’).   Thus, Indepence Pass claims the prize for highest paved pass in the US.