Mt. Fuji, Japan
Shield and Stratovolcanoes form some of the hardest bike climbs in the world. We have documented the hardest bike climbs in the world that ascend volcanoes. The Top 5 most difficult bike climbs up volcanoes are as follows:
#1 of 5
MAUNA KEA, HAWAII, USA
Mauna Kea shield volcano as seen from Mauna Loa
Mauna Kea is the world’s hardest bike climb.
World #1 bike climb.
Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, Mauna Kea is the most difficult bike climb in the world and one of the most epic. 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.
#2 of 5
MOUNT ETNA, SICILY, ITALY
This climb takes us to the top of that volcano.
This photo was taken along our route to Mt. Etna -- it is a LONG climb!
World #10 bike climb.
The Mighty Mount Etna: Just behind the incomparable Scanuppia, this is the third hardest bike climb in Italy. This cycling climb is manageable for the very strong and technically accomplished riders, but very, very difficult. In some corners I lost traction and had to walk to a more mellow pitch to get started again.
#3 of 5
HALEAKALA, HAWAII, USA
Haleakala Crater as seen from the road near the top of the climb.
World #15 climb by bike.
There’s nothing quite as incredible as road biking Maui. Haleakala is an epic and challenging volcanic climb that takes you into a beautiful Hawaiian Island National Park. The 35 mile climb from Paia to the Haleakala Lookout and the Visitor Center (located half a mile below the lookout) shares its first eight miles with another US Top 100 Climb (Baldwin Avenue/Olinda Road). From Paia (a small town of just over 2,000, with several restaurants and small shops to occupy your time pre- or post-ride) you’ll ride eight miles on Baldwin (which turns into Olinda Road at Makawao Avenue at the seven mile mark), turn right onto Hanamu for one mile, then turn left onto Haleakala Highway for the remaining 26.8 miles to the top.
#4 of 5
PICO ARIEIRO, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
Portugal’s most difficult bike climb.
Pico Ariero, the third highest peak on the island of Madeira, is the setting for this most difficult bike climb in Portugal and one of the Top 20 in the world. From the top of the volcano’s peak, visitors can look down and see clouds.
#5 of 5
VILLAS PICO, VERACRUZ, MEXICO
Mexico’s hardest bike climb.
This most difficult climb in Mexico is an 18.2 mile climb, with an average grade of 7.1%. Locals tell us that ith the exception of the final 300-400 meters, this is a paved road and is manageable on a road bike.
LONGEST WORLD BIKE CLIMB
MAUNA LOA, HAWAII, USA
Top of Mauna Loa in the background.
At 62.2 miles, Mauna Loa is a good distance in front of the world’s second longest climb, Alto de Letras in Colombia (52.1 miles). While this climb is not as “hard” as its neighbor Mauna Kea, 124 miles round trip is sure to still do a number on you. Train very seriously for this climb. The climb begins in Waikoloa Hilton Village by riding east (and yes, uphill) on Waikoloa Beach Drive, across Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (mile three) then on up Waikoloa Road. We rise to 11,000’ so it is best to altitude train if at all possible.
HIGHEST BIKE WORLD BIKE CLIMB
World’s highest bike ride outside of Tibet.
This ride is an experience like no other. If you ride your bike to the Uturuncu Saddle then hike to the top of the volcano, you will have accomplished something only a handful of cyclists/hikers can say they have done.
MOST DEADLY VOLCANO
MOUNT VESUVIUS, ITALY
Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 killing over 1,000 citizens of Pompeii
Climb is not a Top 100 World Bike Climb.
Italy’s Mount Vesuvius volcano ride is a 6.5 mile climb at an average 7.6% grade. While this is not a Top 100 World Bike Climb, we couldn’t make a list of Volcanos to climb and not include this most notable and infamous volcano.
MOST RECOGNIZABLE VOLCANO
MT. FUJI, JAPAN
There are four primary ascents of Mt. Fuji, to each of four “Fifth Lines.”
World’s #39 most difficult bike climb -- Fujinomiya Line approach.
Cycling Mt. Fuji’s Fujinomiya Line to the Fujinomiya 5th Station is the longest and most difficult road bike climb in Japan. This extremely challenging bike climb is ranked #1 in Japan and #40 in the world for good reason -- we ride 30 kilometers (18.7 miles) to 2,381 meters (7,811’) gaining 2,044 meters (6,707’) at nearly 7% average grade. Fujinomiya 5th Station is the highest of the four Mt. Fuji 5th Stations (a 5th Station is where the hike to the summit of Mt. Fuji beings). The summit of Mt. Fuji is 3,776 m (12,388’). An excellent summary of what is necessary to hike to the Mt. Fuji summit is found at Japan-guide.com.
The steepest volcano in the world.
½ kilometer: 32%
1 kilometer: 29.5%
2 kilometers 20.6%
Words don’t describe this one – it was truly a unique and epic experience – how often can you climb the steepest 2.5 miles in the world? The average grade for the full 3.8 miles from Nic 18 to the top is 14.21%, but the 2.5 miles beginning at mile 1.2 averages 18.1% which is the steepest paved portion of road in the world for that distance that we thus far located.
It’s one thing to climb that damn thing in good weather . . .
But, forget it in the rain!
It gets a lot steeper . . . but . . .
No way I’m goin’ one-handed on 30%!