Lake Tahoe - Top Bike Climbs

#1
Mt. Rose East
USA, NV
#2
Monitor Pass East
USA, CA
#3
Monitor Pass West
USA, CA
#4
Mt. Rose West
USA, NV
#5
Kingsbury Grade - East
USA, NV
#6
Ebbetts Pass East
USA, CA
#7
Carson Pass East
USA, CA
#8
Old Clear Creek
USA, NV
#9
Ebbetts Pass West
USA, CA
#10
Luther Pass East
USA, CA

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

Cycling Lake Tahoe

Rainbow bridge near Donner Summit - Donner Lake in background.

THE HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE LAKE TAHOE AREA

MT. ROSE EAST

Ride 16.7 miles gaining 4,350’ to 8,900’ at 5% average grade.

This is a rugged ride to altitude beginning off Hwy 395 just south of Reno.  Traffic for the first half of the climb is brutal.  We recommend doing this climb as an over-and-back from Incline Village (starting on Mt. Rose West), and riding down Mt. Rose East only to Galena Creek Visitor Center (6.8 miles short of the start).  The climb from the Visitor Center to Mt. Rose Summit is a challenging 10 miles at 5.4% with less traffic than starting at Hwy 395.  Regardless, this is a major route from Reno to Lake Tahoe, so you will encounter many trucks along the way, but there is a good bike lane the entire route.

THE SECOND HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE LAKE TAHOE AREA

MONITOR PASS EAST

Cycling Monitor Pass East - aerial drone photo of long straight stretch of road looking west from the pass

Cycling Monitor Pass, home of the Death Ride - an epic Sierra Nevada bike climb.

Photo - Aerial view west from location directly above Monitor Pass markers.

California Top 10 Most Epic Climb 

From Markleeville, ride up and over Monitor Pass West then down to Hwy 395, turn around and come up this epic bike climb.  The start of Monitor East is the outer boundary of our Lake Tahoe Climb area - it is 54 miles from South Lake Tahoe - 108 miles and 12,200’ of climbing to do the South Lake Tahoe to Monitor East and back route.  Monitor East is the backbone of Alpine County’s annual Death Ride.

THE MOST SCENIC BIKE CLIMB IN THE LAKE TAHOE AREA

DONNER SUMMIT 

Cycling Donner Summit (Donner Pass).

Scenic Hwy 40 is bottom center of photo and Donner Lake top center.

Railway right center; Hwy 80 upper left.

Start this ride at the western edge of Donner Lake and ride a gorgeous 3.2 miles to the high point of Scenic (it is!) Route 40, just past the spectacular Rainbow Bridge.

The iconic Donner Summit (Rainbow) Bridge - top right/bottom left.

WOW!  This is an iconic and gorgeous climb out of Donner Lake near Lake Tahoe, California.  We begin in a cool and sweet smelling alpine setting at the western end of Donner Lake by riding up (you’ll know!) Donner Pass Road from its intersection with South Shore Drive. This is one of the California 10 Most Scenic Bike Climbs.

The climb is on . . . you guessed it . . . Scenic Rte 40

RIDE AROUND LAKE TAHOE AREA

Ride 74 miles gaining 4,065’.

I have ridden around Lake Tahoe 3 times - all in the winter (one of the only advantages of 10 years of drought in California).   The winder ride is spectacular and with much less traffic (I am told) than riding during the winter.  I prefer riding clockwise around the lake (you are on the lake side going in this direction).