Colorado Hill Climbs

There are lots of great bike climbing routes in Colorado. Here are a list of some of the classic hill climb races and just classic hill climbs in Colorado. If you think the course records are incorrect or know of some of the records I missed please feel free to contact us with the record and some documentation of the record.


Flagstaff (Boulder, CO)

Classic must do climb for fit cyclist visiting Boulder! The climb starts right at the base of the beautiful Chautauqua Park but don’t start your watches just yet, most folks start the clock right as you pass over the stone bridge just feet before the road really kicks up. The first few miles of the climb is very hard but the views can be inspiring to those who are not use to riding in the mountains. Once this section of the race was part of the prologue for the Coors Classic race starting at the park and finishing at the Flagstaff restaurant. Next section until the amphitheater is kinder with many riders turning up to the amphitheather and calling it a day but for those who want bragging rights don’t stop now, finish it up at the top which is less than 5 miles. If you can make it through the “snake” section without stopping or dieing and the next half mile will kill you, make it through that and is “smooth sailing” the rest of the way. Good Luck!
See more detailed information on Flagstaff Climb

Flagstaff to the Amphitheater
– Difficulty:
– Gregory Canyon turn off (Baseline Rd.) to Amphitheater Road junction
– Course Record Scott Elliott 11:59

Super Flagstaff (Boulder, CO)
– Difficulty:
– Gregory Canyon turn off to the mail boxes
– Course Record Tom Danielson 22:10
L’Alpe d’Flag
MayMyRide (Not the exact starting location)

Sunshine Hill Climb

Make this a quickie out of Boulder or turn it into an all out epic ride. Sunshine Canyon starts where Mapleton street in Boulder ends and pretty quickly things turn upwards fast. You can cheat our early and make a left turn on Poorman which will return you back into Boulder. The first 5 miles are difficult but kindly this road changes a lot afterwards with some decents and some climbing but all with varying pitch. Many stop at the pavement but the brave continue on up to the town of Gold Hill. This section of gravel is steep so be prepared to melt your lungs. Once at Gold hill you have a ton of choices, go west and you end up on the peak to peak Hwy, go North and end up in Left hand canyon, go South and end up back in Boulder and turn around and return to Boulder. I personally recommend going South but you have to feel comfortable on gravel because you will have a lot of miles of it.
– Difficulty:
– Average Ascent Grade: 7.6%
– Maximum Ascent Grade: 23.1%
– Start Elevation: 5509 feet
– Finish Elevation: 8426 feet
– 9.1 miles
– 3226 feet of elevation gain
– 4+ miles of dirt road
– Course Record Trent Lowe 41:19 Mara Abbott 47:31

See full details of Sunshine Hill Climb

Magnolia Hill Climb

Magnolia has been called the steepest paved road in the greater Denver metro area with switch backs that almost touch 13+% grade. To get to Magnolia road requires riding up the Boulder Canyon, while not the friendliest road to travel on by bike, it is Boulder County so if you ride with respect chances you won’t experience any problems and avoid the 3-6pm commuters too. Magnolia starts about 5 miles up the canyon and the majority of those miles do a good should on them and the entrance to the road starts about a mile after the brief tunnel you ride through.

Once on the climb the base is the hardest so just muscle through it at it gets better… relatively speaking. Once at the top of the road turns to gravel and lessens in grade a lot with a few mild descents and climbs along the way to the Peak to Peak Hwy. From the Peak to Peak Hwy way you have many options, head south to Coal Creek and descent, north to Nederland or continue on to Sugarloaf or Ward or….

This road is part of the famous Mike Horgan Hill Climb Race named after the a great rider Mike Horgan. The actual race course starts at the Boulder County Justice Center on 6th and Canyon and finishes at the Eldora ski pond. The course usually alternates between the Magnolia version and the Sugarloaf version… The Sugarloaf version finishes at the Nederland School just north of town (1- miles) on the right side.

Magnolia Race Version
– Difficulty:
– 18 miles
– 3800+ feet of elevation gain
– 7 miles of dirt road
– 13% grade on lower Magnolia section
– Course Record: Marc Gullickson 1:23:15
Full Details

Magnolia Ascent
– From base of Magnolia (Magnolia and Boulder Canyon) to summit just before the end of the pavement.
-Total elevation – 2,170 ft Length – 4.5 miles
– Average Grade – 9.1% (17%) Rating – 2.40 (cat 1)
– Course Record Mark Schwab 30:25


Mt Evans Hill Climb

One of the few roads in the United States where you can ride a bike above 14,000 feet! Mt. Evans is like no other hill climb, consider it the Mt Ventoux of Colorado! While the bottom of the climb is pretty typical to any other mountain ride the top with its above tree line road and super thin air can lead cause one to have religious moments if completion is desired.
Details on Mt Evan’s Climb
– Difficulty:
History and Details on Mt. Evans Hill Climb Race
– 28 miles
– 7540 feet of elevation gain
– Course Record Tom Danielson 1:41:20 Jeannie Longo 1:59.19


Olde Stage

– Difficulty:
– Starting from North Broadway in Boulder, North on 36, Lefthand, Olde Stage
More Information


Lee Hill

– Difficulty:
– From Broadway and Lee Hill Road to the intersection of Deer Trail Road
More Information


Jamestown Hill Climb

You can’t find a road in Boulder with more riders per mile than this one on a Saturday morning. This ride follows a creek bed for 8 miles so the grade is never really that intense and given the popularity of this route the road has a kind shoulder for those who want to move away from traffic….

Learn more about Boulder to Jamestown Bike Ride

– Difficulty:
– From Hwy 36 and Left Hand Canyon to the stop sign in Jamestown
– Watch the ride in action

– Course Record 28:01 from Greenbrier restaurant to stop ahead sign in Jamestown.

Lookout Mountain Hill Climb

Lookout Mountain Hill Climb is a extremely popular ride that heads west straight out of Golden Colorado. This road is steeper than your typical canyon road but not impossible for the intermediate rider with grades around 5-6%, but the extra effort will be worth it as the road gives the rider spectacular views back onto the Colorado Front Range including the Denver skyline. Each year there is a bike race up the road so if you feel like you are strong then consider giving this years 2010 Lookout Mountain Hill Climb Race a shot this May 1, 2010!
Lookout Mountain Climb Details
– Difficulty:
– 4.3 miles, 5 to 6 percent grade
– 1300+ feet of elevation gain
– Course Record Tom Danielson 16:02

Learn more about the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb and Ride


Rist Canyon Hill Climb

– Difficulty:
– 3000+ feet of Elevation Gain
– Last 1/2 mile 12% to 14% grade
MapMyRide (From downtown Ft. Collins to the top)


Fourmile to Poorman

This is the Boulder “quickie”, from downtown Boulder you can get up, over and back into Boulder in less than 1 hour while along the way getting some sweet trails and hard climbs. Part of this ride is on gravel and it can be done on a road bike but for many a Mountain Bike might be a better choice since you might want the smaller gears… but many locals do use cross bikes and road bikes. The ride starts at the mouth of Four Mile Canyon which starts about 3 miles up Boulder Canyon. To reach this you can take Boulder Canyon since this section has a wide shoulder or you can take the Boulder Creek path which ends right at the start of the ride. Once on Four Mile the road is pretty tame as it follows a creek bed but about 2-3 miles into the road you will see a steep dirt road on your right, this is the FIRST dirt road too. Turn here and get it in your lowest gear because the next mile you will build up more lactate acid then the entire ride. At the “top” of the gravel (you will know) turn right and follow the nature flow of the road, this will eventually connect up with Sunshine Canyon which means your pedaling is done! Coast down and finish the day…. You just did Poorman’s Canyon bike ride in Boulder Colorado!

– Difficulty:
– 14 miles or less depending on starting place
– 1300 feet of climbing
– Some gravel but suitable for road bikes but best on cross bike or mountain bike
MapMyRide Route

Boulder to Ward

Classic! Similar roads except this one goes all the way to the high point on the Peak-to-Peak highway, Ward Colorado! Ward is a timeless town, car graveyard, and different. This grueling rides includes 16 miles of ascent with the last 1 being a killer!

More Information

Difficulty: Hard



Vail Hill Climb

– Difficulty:
– 9.7 miles
– 1400+ feet of elevation gain
– Course Record Ben Day 25:48
MapMyRide (Not the exact starting location)


Cheyenne Canon Hill Climb

– 3.1 miles
– 1250 feet of elevation gain, last 1000 meters is 10%.
– Course Record Tom Danielson 13:34


Independence Pass Hill Climb (Near Aspen)

– Difficulty:
– 10+ miles
– 2000+ feet of elevation gain
MapMyRide (Not the exact starting location)

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