Folsom Bike's Top 5 Local Climbs
The temperature is finally heating up so it’s time to tick off some of those cycling goals! Here are our five favorite local climbs. Varying in length and difficulty, all of these climbs offer something unique and challenging and all are an impressive achievement in themselves. So go ahead, make the most of the summer and #GetOutside.
5. Mix Canyon, Vacaville - 4.7 miles, 9%
Difficulty Rating - 8/10
This climb is a brute and would make an enthralling finish to a Tour of California stage. Just outside of Vacaville on the way to Winters, the unassuming Mix Canyon Road starts off at a polite gradient and maintains this steady 5% average for the first two miles.
Then, eventually, you will climb above the tree line and this is where the real fun starts! The final mile of the climb is a true test of strength. It averages over 18% with several stretches well over 20% and a few approaching 30%. The view behind you is an amazing vista of the entire Sacramento Valley. However, at the time, this does not matter as all you will see is the black tarmac ramping up ahead of you.
Once you have conquered this brute, it’s back down the hill again. Now it’s time to take in the view!
4. Mosquito Ridge Road, Foresthill - 18.1 miles, 4.5%
Difficulty Rating - 6/10
A taste of the grand tours; Mosquito Ridge Road is a whopping 18 miles long with 4,500 feet of elevation gain. Fortunately, even with its immense length, Mosquito Ridge Road is not too steep.
This is a climb to enjoy and savor. The amazing views spread out beneath you as the road slowly works it’s way up into the hills. Check for snow and it's even more hazardous brother, black ice, on the way up, especially in the shade near the top.
The elevation tops out around 5,800 feet so bring some arm warmers and a gilet as the summit is considerably colder than the valley floor where you set off pedaling an hour and a half ago.
This is a hidden gem of the area, with just 172 attempts on Strava so get out there and enjoy it!
3. Corkscrew Wall, Foresthill - 4.7 miles, 9%
Difficulty Rating - 7/10
Just off from the first mile of the Mosquito Ridge Road lays an all the more wild beast. Corkscrew Wall, part of the longer Rubicon Road that leads all the way up to the French Meadow Reservoir, is a scribble of switchbacks.
The climb ramps up almost immediately with gradients over 13 percent out of the starting blocks. After that, the climb can be split into three sections, divided by small flat sections. The first and the shortest section takes riders up to the first switchback. From there the second and third, roughly 2-mile long sections take in the most extreme of the switchbacks.
When you reach the top you can call it a day there or head onto French Meadow or the unfortunately named Hell Hole Reservoir for a 55-mile round trip.
UPDATE: 3/20/20 - this road is currently closed due to a landslide.
2. Beatty Hill, El Dorado Hills - 0.75 Miles, 9.5% average
Difficulty Rating - 4/10
The local road that is most reminiscent of those used in Ardenne Classics, Beatty Hill is a short but sweet climb that offers amazing views from the summit. The gradient ramps up steadily with the middle section providing the sternest challenge.
After the steep middle section, the gradient levels off slightly to provide enough rest for an all-out attack on the final steep 100-meter section.
This is a great choice for any rider looking to do hill repeats to build fitness or for any rider who wants a taste of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
1. Iowa Hill, Colfax - 1.7 miles, 12% average
Difficulty Rating 8/10
A great combination of length, toughness, and beauty, Iowa Hill is a tough climb for any cyclist at any level thanks to its eye-watering gradient which ramps up from the very bottom. After a fantastic descent from Colfax, riders will cross the North Fork of the American River to greet a solid ramp of pain.
Contrary to what many think, the easiest part of the climb is the first third, where the gradient sits around 10%. The stunning view of the valley dropping away beneath you will provide some respite from what is sure to be a world of pain.
Once you reach the first switchback, the suffering really starts with the gradient rarely dropping beneath 12% and frequently ramping up to well over 16%.
The 1.7-mile Strava segment masks what can be a longer and far more epic climb if you have the time and the strength. The Iowa Hill road continues on uphill all the way to Forest Hill Road 19 miles away. The gradient eases off considerably and 45-mile there-and-back from Colfax to the Forest Hill Road provides a stern test for any rider of any ability.