3 Car Free Gravel Climbs in Southern California
There are few things we love more than a good climb on a bike that leads to a beautiful vista. The only thing that would make it better is if it were car free! Amazingly, Southern California has some awesome gravel climbs that are completely car free, allowing you to enjoy the vista at your own pace without constantly having to look behind your shoulder. These three are our favorites!
1. Verdugo Mountains – Tree of Life
The Verdugo Mountains are a small transverse mountain range just north of Burbank, CA. As a kid, they were literally in our backyard and I never bothered exploring them. Now, whenever I visit the parents we make sure to take bikes and ride up to the iconic Tree of Life.
2. Sulpher Mountain Road
Ask any local cyclist in Ojai what ride to do and invariably Sulpher Mountain Road will be mentioned. It is a long gradual ascent that can be easily accessed from the Ojai-Ventura bike path (a gem in of itself). Closed off to traffic and generally hard pack dirt, it will have you climbing for hours and reward you with an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean at the top.
3. Mt. Lowe Road
This is probably one of the most epic gravel climbs in Southern California! The first three miles are an absolute gut buster with the grades rarely dipping below 13%. If you can tough out those first few miles, you will be rewarded with an absolutely mind blowing ascent up to an old abandoned railroad tunnel. Be sure to stop and read the interpretive signs to learn about the rail service that use to climb up to the mountains.