​​Ride Description

 Sherman Pass is a challenging climb in a remote region of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain  range in the Sequoia National Forest.  As can be seen from the elevation profile below, unlike the  Central Sierra climbs (Owens Valley), the strong pitches are more evenly distributed throughout the ride (e.g., the violet [8-12%] segments appear intermittently from beginning to end).  The views  throughout the ride are initially of distant mountainous terrain as we are surrounded by an arid  landscape which gives way to a more alpine setting as we reach the 9-10 miles mark.  Sherman  Pass has been victim to forest fires that have destroyed much of the forest we would otherwise  enjoy through the climb, yet this is a wonderful and challenging ride that is a must on any  California climbing bucket list.   Beware that the heat during the summer can be stifling (the  temperatures when we first climbed Sherman in August, 2011 hit 106 at the bottom of the climb).

 Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface is rough, but major potholes and cracks had  been patched within a week of our climb in August, 2014.  Descend with caution as there is  gravel/dirt/sand in locations which create a real hazard for the unwary.  The road is narrow with no  shoulder, bike lane or center line, although the very few vehicles you will encounter along the way generally travel at  low speed.     

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

Cycling the Sierra Nevada - Sherman Pass


  • Distance:                                          15.5 miles

  • Beginning elevation:                       3,786

  • Ending elevation:                             9,169'

  • Average Grade:                                6.4%

  • Fiets Index:                                       12.29
  • Location:  Climb begins at the intersection of Kern River Hwy (Mtn Hwy 99) and Sherman Pass Road,  19 miles north of Kernville, 79 miles northeast of Bakersfield, and 170 miles northeast of LAX (35.96737,-118.48555 latitude/longitude).  

Photos are in order from top of climb to bottom.  Thanks much to PJAMM collaborator cyclist and author Ron Hawks for his photo contributions to this page. 

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

 Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Sherman Pass 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.

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