Wuling Pass - our #4 most scenic world climb.
We have traveled the United States and the world since 2013 with the express purpose of documenting the hardest, most scenic and epic bike climbs. Below, in ascending order is our admittedly subjective (and of course debatable) list of Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climbs in the United States World - #10 to our #1.
#10 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
SVETI JURE, CROATIA
Cycling Sveti Jure
Ride 28.7 kilometers gaining 1,759 meters at 6.1% average grade.
Stunning views of the Adriatic Sea
Sveti Jure is the highest peak in the second highest peak in Biokovo which is the second highest mountain range in Croatia. Sveti Jure is the highest road in Croatia. This bicycle climb is exceptional, along a narrow winding road with many giant hairpin curves, some with blind corners - so, beware.
#9 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST SCENIC BIKE CLIMBS
Ride 34.5 kilometers gaining 2,553 meters to elevation 4,751 meters at 6.5% average grade
This is the highest paved pass in the Americas at 15,578’. In contrast to Central and Northern South America (e.g. Colombia), this is a stark, yet unique and beautiful, desert climb in the high Andes desert with exceptional distant and spectacular views. .
PJAMM June, 2017
#8 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
MT. LEMMON, ARIZONA, USA
Mt. Lemmon is the most popular bicycle climb in the US.
Cycling Mt. Lemmon - Ride 29 miles gaining 7,160’ at 4.2% average grade.
If you have to pick only one bicycle climb in Arizona, Mt. Lemmon should be the one. This is an exceptionally scenic bike ride beginning at the northeastern edge of Tucson, Arizona (the desert!). You begin in the heat of the high desert at just under 3,000' and climb into the cooler regions of Mt. Lemmon (just above 9,000'). The grade for most of the climb is as steady as you will ever find – generally within the 4-6% range, until turning right onto E. Ski Run Road from N. General Hitchcock Highway at mile 25.8. The last 3.2 miles of the climb average 7.5%, and the final push past the ski resort up the final 1.7 miles to the observatories (the gate at the end blocking the last 200 yards has only been open on one out of our four trips to the top) is 8%.
This mountain, this climb, is truly an out-of-this-world, unique experience . . .
#7 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
Cycling to Jausenstation from Hippach
13.6 kilometers gaining 1,400 meters at 10.4% average grade.
This gorgeous bike climb is in the Zell am Ziller area of Austria which includes 3 other Top 100 World bike climbs (, in addition to Hippach. This is a little known cycling area, but well worth the trip. You could spend several days in the Hippach/Zell am Ziller area climbing some of the most challenging and scenic bike climbs in the world.
Jausenstation - wonderful pastries and even better views!
#6 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST SCENIC BIKE CLIMBS
COL DU GALIBIER, VALLOIRE, FRANCE
Col du Galibier - one of the world’s epic cycling climbs.
The, or one the the, most spectacular cycling climbs in France. One of the world’s great cycling climbs.
Col du Galibier is part of the Route des Grandes Alpes, a tourist itinerary that begins in Thonon-les-Bains and travels over many of the most spectacular passes in France and Europe, including Col de L’Iseran, Galibier, d’Izoard, and Bonette; alternate route includes Croix de Fer and Col de la Madeleine.
#5 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
Wow! How many times can we say Bucket List on this website?? We don’t want to overuse the phrase, but this is simply a magnificent climb - stunning.
We begin this Top 100 World Climb in the very quaint village of Grindelwald (population 3,818 in 2016 - at the foot of The Eiger) in roughly the center of Switzerland. The climb is tough from the outset and overall is 8.9 miles, 4,465’ at 9.55% average grade (¼ mile 17.4%, ½ mile 14.5%, 1 mile at 13% and 2.5 mile stretch at 12.25%).
A pleasant surprise at the “top” (what we thought was the top, anyway) is that you can continue up a dirt path to an observation platform which is actually on Mannlichen Peak. From there, you can observe on a clear day (our day sadly was not clear) the likes of the mighty Eiger as well as many other powerful mountain peaks in the area.
Cloudy view from the top on the day we visited.
#4 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
WULING PASS EAST, TAIWAN
While the challenge of this climb alone justifies its inclusion on all road bike climbing bucket lists, it is Taroko Gorge that separates Wuling East from nearly all other climbs in the world. Taroko Gorge is within Taroko National Park (est. 1986; 355 square miles/227,000 acres), one of nine National Parks on the island of Taiwan. Taroko Gorge is composed of metamorphic rocks, including marble. It is the smooth polished marble walls carved by the Liwu River which is absolutely remarkable. We’ve never seen anything like it -- stunning!
There are many tunnels along the route.
The climb continues to inspire awe as we climb out of the gorge and to the top, 87 km ( 54 miles) from our start point.
Photos: Top left - Taroko Gorge; Top left and bottom is middle section of climb.
The gorge, bridges, tunnels, jungle and one heck of a challenging bike climb 👍👍
#3 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
PASSO GARDENA, DOLOMITES, ITALY
Passo Gardena may have more extraordinary massifs in sight during our bike climb than any of the other Dolomites climbs. Passo Gardena is an exceptional and bucket list cycling experience.
Photo: Top left - Brunecker Mountain; Top right Murfelt Spitze;
Bottom right Langkofel Group; Bottom left Pizes de Cir;
Center - Passo Gardena - extraordinary!!
Passo Gardena is also the second pass of the Sella Ronda starting from Arabba and going counter-clockwise. We believe the Sella Ronda is one of (if not THE) greatest cycling loops in the world. This loop circles the Sella Gruppo and can be ridden by bike in during the cycling season and skied during the winter using the Sella Ronda ski lift carousel.
Sella Ronda Bike Day is in June each day and climbs in this order: Sella-Pordoi-Campolongo-Gardena.
Reverse the Route - Pordoi-Sella-Gardena-Campolongo loop.
We cannot say enough about the Dolomites and, in particular the passes around Passo Gardena - this area simply must be on every climbing cyclists bucket list. While the Dolomites climbs are fairly mild compared to some of the more difficult climbs in Northern Italy, Switzerland and Austria, none as a group surpass the Dolomites in terms of pure beauty and breathtaking massifs. See PJAMM’s Dolomites Climb Page here.
#2 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
VZPON NA MANGART, SLOVENIA
Cycling Vzpon Na Mangart
A Top 100 US Bike Climb
One of the most stunningly beautiful bike climbs in the world.
It’s beauty is almost equaled by its difficulty - it is nearly 10 miles in length, gaining 4,430’ over that distance at 8.5% average grade with the steepest ¼ mile 12.5%, ½ mile 11.4% and a double digit mile at 10%.
It is simply so beautiful at times it does not even seem real - we LOVE Vzpon!
We were fortunate to cycle both Vzpon na Mangart and Col de Nivolet in July, 2017
#1 OF 10 WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIKE CLIMBS
COL DE NIVOLET, ITALY
Cycling Col de Nivolet - Our #1 Most Scenic and Beautiful Climb in the World
OH MY!! Yes, this is a MUST DO climb, no doubt about it. This route has been described as one of the most beautiful climbs you have never heard of. However, judging from the many cyclists we encountered on the route on an early September Monday, the secret is out! The last third of this climb is among the most spectacular and breathtaking you will ever find. We were blessed with perfect weather, clear skies and blooming wildflowers for our one shot at this jewel.
That’s a wrap. We understand and appreciate that our list is subjective and subject to disagreement. We doubt there would be few Top 10 World’s Most Scenic Bike Climbs that would line up precisely. However, at least for our last 2, we would strongly disagree with any Top 10 list that did not include at least one of the breathtakingly gorgeous climbs of Nivolet and Mangart.
We welcome feedback regarding our list via our Contact Us page.