San Diego County - Top Bike Climbs

#1
Nate Harrison Grade
USA, CA
#2
Palomar Mountain
USA, CA
#3
Montezuma Borrego Highway
USA, CA
#6
Palomar Mountain East
USA, CA
#7
Pine Creek Road
USA, CA
#8
Kitchen Creek Road
USA, CA
#9
Sunrise Highway
USA, CA
#10
Honey Springs Road
USA, CA
#12
Banner Grade
USA, CA
#13
Cole Grade Road
USA, CA

Climb List: San Diego County
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Palomar Mountain
United States (CA)
4 ROUTES
20 POIs
ROUTE STATS (TOTAL)
42.7
mi
DISTANCE
12,975
ft
ELEV. GAIN

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FULL SUMMARY

Mt. Soledad, San Diego

San Diego is one of the great biking areas in the United States.  The residents of this county tend to be very health conscious and many love cycling.  Luckily, they have exceptional weather which permits bike riding year round.

Cycling in beautiful San Diego County.

Photos clockwise from top left:

Nate Harrison Grade; Montezuma Borrengo Hwy; Palomar Mountain; Mt. Soledad and Nate Harrison Grade (center).

I have cycled dozens of times in San Diego -- for the four years my daughter played soccer for UCSD, I would travel down for every home game.  For the first year, I always brought my bike with me, and for the last three years that she lived off campus, I kept a bike at her apartment.  

Our favorite climbs in San Diego County are:

ALL TIME FAVORITE - NATE HARRISON GRADE 

MORE ADVENTURE THAN BIKE CLIMB

Drone photo of Nate Harrison Grade and orange groves

Placing Nate Harrison Grade above Palomar Mountain as our favorite San Diego County bike climb was not an easy decision.  Palomar is by far the most popular bike climb in the county (Palomar has been ridden by 7,012 Strava members vs. Nate Harrison’s 771).  However, Nate Harrison Grade is such a unique and epic climb that we like to think of it as more adventure than bicycle climb. The majority of the climb is on dirt and gravel but it is manageable on a road bike (recommend at least 28mm tires; descending on road bike not recommended -- take the loop route suggested on our Climb Page).

There are about 19 switchbacks for seven miles at 9.4% from miles 1-8.

Amazing backdrops on this ride -- no obstructions of the hairpins or valley below as we ascend.

In our two climbs up the mountain we have never encountered a cyclist or motor vehicle.

It’s all about the hairpins on this climb.

#2 - PALOMAR MOUNTAIN, SOUTH GRADE

THE ALPE D’HUEZ OF THE US

It’s all about the switchbacks on Palomar.

We’ve climbed Palomar Mountain six times, and always encounter multiple cyclists on our rides here, especially on the weekends.

Menu board at Mother's kitchen at finish of Palomar cycle climb.

Mandatory rest stop.

#3 - MT. SOLEDAD, VIA CAPRI

360° VIEWS OF SAN DIEGO

Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial

Honors veterans from the Revolutionary War to present.

~2,400 plaques.

The 360 degree views from the top of Mt. Soledad are the most spectacular in the San Diego area. San Diego, the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla, UCSD, Miramar, and more can all be seen from this lookout point.  There are several routes to the Veterans Memorial at the top of Mt. Soledad, but the short and incredibly steep route from La Jolla and Hidden Valley/Via Capri Roads is by far the most challenging.

IMG_0124.JPG

July 4th at Mt. Soledad.

La Jolla, Pacific Ocean and Scripps Pier.

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