Top bike climbs in San Diego County. Cycling, riding and climbing the top, most difficult, hardest, challenging, extreme, best, scenic, inspiring, bucket list climbs in the San Diego County. These climbs can be viewed via the map below (scroll in to view climbs in particular areas), by a detailed list of the climbs that can be arranged by difficulty, distance (longest climbs in the county), altitude gained, highest elevation (highest summit), average grade (sort the grades by varying distances), lowest start point, etc. Click on "Climb Page" to jump to the detail page for that particular bike climb.
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.
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 when she lived off campus, I kept a bike at her apartment.
Our favorite climbs in San Diego County are:
MORE ADVENTURE THAN BIKE CLIMB
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 of an adventure than just a 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.
THE ALPE D’HUEZ OF THE US
THE most popular bike climb in San Diego and one of the top four in Southern California (along with Glendora Mountain Road/Mount Baldy Road in San Bernardino County, and Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County).
We’ve climbed Palomar Mountain six times, and always encounter multiple cyclists on our rides here, especially on the weekends.
Mandatory rest stop.
360° VIEWS OF SAN DIEGO
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.
July 4th at Mt. Soledad.
La Jolla, Pacific Ocean and Scripps Pier.