Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.

Start (click and drag map; double click to move forward)

​ Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Monitor Pass East RideWithGPS page.  Hover over the distance line at the spot you would like to begin a sub-  segment for this climb.  Click your mouse on the start point and drag the vertical graphing line the distance you wish to obtain sub-detail from, then release the  mouse at the end point.  This will give you the following sub-detail for the selected segment in the “Metrics” window top right of the page:  (a) distance, (b)  Elevation gained and lost, (c) max grade, (d) average grade (e) that segment's climb category – e.g. Cat 1, HC, etc., and (f) FIETS score for the segment.

Hover cursor over segment slices (left) for exact  grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.

Top Monitor Pass East

Cycling the Sierras:

Monitor Pass EAST, CA


  • Distance:                                          9.5 miles

  • Beginning elevation:                       5,101

  • Ending elevation:                             8,330

  • Average Grade:                                6.7%

  • Fiets Index:                                       7.91
  • Location:  Climb begins at the intersection of Highways 395 and 89  (38.64263, -119.52776 latitude and longitude), 127 miles east of Sacramento International 
    ​Airport and 63 miles south of Reno/Tahoe International Airport.  

​​Ride Description

This climb begins about 12 miles southeast of the tiny Sierra town of Markleeville (home of the annual 5 pass/15,000' Death Ride). While the climb does have some sustained pitches in the 8-9% range, for the most part it is a smooth 5-7% climb from bottom to top. The first half of the ride covers about 1,650' at 6.9% and the second half about 1,550' at 6.4%. 

The roadway surface is exceptional and while this is a state highway and traffic does whiz by at considerable speed, there is a decent bike lane for most of the climb and a light to medium flow of traffic. The descent is smooth and fairly straight once a couple of large hairpins are negotiated at the top. The landscape is desert-like, similar to the high desert of Arizona. However, the western side of Monitor Pass and Markleeville area is softer in climate and appearance (alpine forest, grassy meadows, bordered by dramatic sierra cliffs/mountains).

Provisions and lodging can be found in Markleeville (a couple of restaurants, general store and ice cream shop), Woodfords (motel) and Sorenson's Resort (cabins and nice cafe).