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Folsom Bike's Top Local Climbs Vol. 5

Another spring rolls around and, just as predictably, here are another five top local climbs. Just for good measure, we have included a couple of gravel brutes that are sure to provide a challenge. Let us know what your favorite of these five are over on Facebook, Instagram, and Strava.


Paramount Pass, Sly Park  - 1.49 Miles, 7.1% Average Gradient - 5/10 Toughness

Coming after a long and fast decent, this 1.5-mile climb offers sweeping views down the valley and a consistent gradient. The wide road can be busy but there is plentiful shoulder space to ride on. 

The climb emerges in Pleasant Valley, which is a good spot to refill bottles before heading on up towards Sly Park or back down towards Placerville. 

Happy Valley Road, Sly Park - 1.7 Miles, 8.3% - 6/10 Toughness 

A hidden gem of the Placerville region, this 1.7-mile climbs offers brutish gradients on a quiet, very European feeling road. Happy Valley Road also makes for a superb decent thanks to its twisting nature. 

We would recommend and out-and-back on this hill as the road shortly turns to gravel at the top. If you have a gravel bike, well, then there is an almost infinite labyrinth of forest roads that lay beyond. 

North South Road, Sly Park - 1.5 Miles, 8.8% - 7/10 Toughness

Another struggle near Sly Park, This steep climb through trees emerges onto Mormon Immigrant Road. There is not really any easy way around it; this climb is a straight-up slog with the first mile averaging over 10% in gradient before a short flat respite and the final push. 

With some route planning cunning this can be combined with the two above climbs for a big elevation day. Also worth noting is that this climb is challenging to access when Mormon Immigrant Road is closed in the winter. 

Ponderosa Way, Foresthill - 2.6 Miles, 9.1% - 9/10 Toughness

Now for something a little different. Ponderosa Way is a notorious gravel climb that rises from the North Fork of the American River up towards Weimar. If anything the climb as become slightly easier this year as the road has been graded and is smoother than it was previously. 

This climb ramps up aggressively from the outset before curving its way up the valley. Eventually you will reach pavement and a reprise in gradient before the climb's conclusion. 

Shirttail Canyon to Sugar Pine Reservoir, Foresthill/Colfax - 9.3 Miles, 4.5% - 7/10 Toughness

Shirttail Canyon is another extensive gravel climb out of the Yankee Jims crossroads at Mexican Gulch. the gravel section, which makes up the first 5 miles of the climb is the steepest and is mercifully shaded. Nevertheless, this climb can be stiflingly hot in the summer months. 

 Once you reach the paved road the climb turns into more of a false flat up to the Sierra setting at Sugar Pine Reservoir. From here, one can loop around the the east and down towards Foresthill or to the west towards Iowa Hill and Colfax. 

Check out our other top local climbs