The longest cycling climbs in the United States. From this page you may navigate to the top 10 Longest bicycling climbs in the USA. The US longest bike climbs we have documented are featured in the slideshow below. Scroll down this page to access the US Longest 10 Bicycle Climbs "Table". The cycling climbs covering the most distance in the USA, and some of the hardest and most scenic bicycling climbs this state are, in order of distance, 1. Mauna Loa, 2. Canyonlands NP, 3. Trail Ridge, 4. Mauna Kea, 5. Arches National Park, 6. Hwy 33 to Pine Mountain Summit, 7. Haleakala, 8. Hwy 31 East, 9. Onyx Summit, and 10. Hwy 143 East.
Mauna Loa, Island of Hawaii, USA -- by far the longest bike climb in the world.
We are fortunate to have documented the Top 10 longest bike climbs in the United States, located in seven different states (with three of the top four longest US bike climbs being in Hawaii). Below are a list and brief summary of each of the longest road bike climbs in the US.
LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US (AND WORLD)
MAUNA LOA, HAWAII
We have ridden this magnificent climb twice from Hilo (the southern and steeper route), and twice from Waikoloa (northern and longer route). Mauna Loa is one of the great bike climbs in the United States and the world. How often can you say you have ridden the “#1” of anything in the world? From the Waikoloa side, at just over 62 miles, Mauna Loa is the longest and most epic bike climbs in the world - it will just flat out wear you down, but it is well worth the effort you’ll put into it. And, after riding the longest climb in the world, spend another day climbing Mauna Kea which is not only the world’s hardest climb by bike, but the 6th longest as well. These two volcanoes are just across the road from each other and each are clearly visible from the flanks of the other.
Photo on taken from upper Mauna Loa Observatory Road.
Mauna Kea in the background.
#2 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
TRAIL RIDGE, COLORADO
Cycling Trail Ridge, CO
43.9 miles (70.6 km) to 12,151’ (3,704m) gaining 7,770’ (2,367 m) at 3% average grade.
At 43.9 miles, Trail Ridge is the second longest bike climb in the United States (behind #1 US/#1 World Mauna Loa), and fifth longest in the world. Trail Ridge is also the highest continuous (i.e., not a dead end) paved road in the United States. Traversing Rocky Mountain National Park, this climb offers spectacular views along the giant switchbacks 20 miles below a summit that tops out at a whopping 12,000'.
#3 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
MAUNA KEA, BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
The third longest climb in the US and sixth in the world and also the uncontested hardest bike climb in the world is Mauna Kea, Big Island, Hawaii. Mauna Kea has it all: length (42.5 miles), altitude (sea level to nearly 14,000’), and gradient (the last 10 miles are from 8,120’ to 13,779’ at 10.7% average grade).
June, 2014. A perfect day, but still very windy and chilly -- high 40’s at top.
One of our four bike climbs to the top of Mauna Kea between 2011 and 2018.
#4 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN US
HALEAKALA, MAUI, HAWAII
Haleakala Crater as seen from the road near the top of the climb.
Ride 35.6 miles/57 km, gaining 9,988’/3,069m to 10,068’/3,044m at 5.3%.
We have ridden Haleakala four times from Paia, and once up Highway 37 from near the airport in Kahului. We recommend the Paia route as it is more scenic with less traffic. This climb is so difficult because it just wears you out: 36 miles of straight climbing and generally between 5-7% average grade (the steepest mile averages only 7.8%). There are some of the greatest hairpins in the US on this climb, most of which are unobstructed (we are on a volcano after all), and the eight starting at mile 25 rival the Horseshoe Meadows Hairpins in length -- the five longest average 1.25 miles each! The wind is almost always blowing along the big hairpins, causing you to ride into the wind suffering for one leg, then turn and are loving life for the next mile and a quarter with the wind at your back.
#5 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN UNITED STATES
ONYX SUMMIT, CALIFORNIA
Cycling Onyx Summit -- This is the longest bike climb in California, #5 US, #11 World.
Ride an amazing 30.5 miles gaining 7,328’ to peak elevation of 8,450 at 3.6%.
Onyx Summit is the longest and highest Southern California climb and quite a challenge. We have climbed Onyx during the spring of 2011 and 2012 for the super century “Breathless Agony” organized ride, and once in late November 2015. The climb can be quite hot during the late spring and summer and quite cold and stormy during the late fall and winter months. The first two climbs were uneventful and very manageable with excellent support provided by the Breathless Agony organizers. The climb in late November (as can be seen from the slideshow above) was quite the adventure .
#6 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
BEARTOOTH PASS, MONTANA
We defer to the late CBS news correspondent Charles Kuralt (“On the Road with Charles Kuralt”) for this category. Kuralt referred to Montana’s Beartooth Highway (and pass) near Yellowstone National Park as "the most beautiful drive in America.” Travelling the country for 25 years in a motorhome (going through six times in all) reporting on roads, beautiful scenery and landscape, and winning a Peabody Award for his efforts, Charles Kuralt seems to be a trusted and reliable source for this US bike climb category.
Beartooth Pass from Redlands, Montana
30 miles (6th longest US), gaining 5,745’ to elevation 10,905’ at 3.3% average grade.
#7 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
MT. LEMMON, ARIZONA
Cycling back down the mountain --
Just past Windy Point.
The seventh longest and most popular bike climb in the US, in our experience, is Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. Popular because of the fantastic winter (not summer, although it is always cooler 7,000’ up the mountain than at the bottom of the climb) saguaro cactus at the start and amazing hoodoos at the midway point.
#8 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN CALIFORNIA
HWY 21-245-180-198, CALIFORNIA, USA
The first segment of this climb overlaps the Whittaker Forest Climb. After splitting from Whittaker we ride for a bit on the only unshared segment of road (Highway 245) before merging with the Highway 180 climb from the west. We later reconnect with Whittaker Forest climb and ultimately end with it at Big Baldy Ridge Trailhead.
#44 on the U.S. Top 100 list, this climb travels into both the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park and is within 30 miles of two other Top 100 climbs: Mineral King Road (#19) and Highway 198 (#26).
#9 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
MT. EVANS, COLORADO
You cannot cycle any higher than this in North America . . .
. . . nor any further except for in eight other climbs.
Miles 21-22 just before Summit Lake.
#10 LONGEST BIKE CLIMB IN THE US
Baby Bell Rock (left center) and Courthouse Butte (right center).
WOW -- what an exceptionally scenic ride! If you’re in the Sedona area with a bicycle, this is a must do, at least from the start at the Red Rock Scenic Byway to Sedona, where there is a nice bike lane along the way. The 14 miles north of Sedona to Oak Creek Viewpoint is along Highway 89A which has no shoulder and has moderate to heavy traffic.
We recommend doing this ride Sunday morning at dawn since it will take a bit at 27 miles.