Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.
In our opinion, this is the jewel of the 5 Death Valley Top 100 U.S. Climbs - it is epic and a must climb for any adventurous climbing cyclist. First, we start just across the highway from the "Sea Level" sign at the intersection of Badwater Road and lightly traveled Hwy 190 and then begin a 24 mile journey that offers some of the most exceptional views in Death Valley. One of the great benefits of this climb is that, while there is very little lodging in Death Valley, there are two resorts in close proximity to the beginning of the climb (Furnace Creek Resort - just across the street from the start of the ride - a very upscale resort [too rich for our blood] , and The Ranch at Furnace Creek a couple miles down the road [great spot - we've stayed there three times).
This ride is separated into 2 distinct segments. First is the 10.7 miles on Hwy 190 which has a mild 3.3% grade (gaining 1,980'). The shoulder is wide and there is minimal traffic along this stretch. Stopping at Zabriskie Point is a must - the National Park Service summarizes this area nicely "Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and vibrantly colored badlands, this spectacular view is one of the park’s most famous. Zabriskie Point is a popular sunrise and sunset viewing location." (National Park Service Furnace Creek Area webpage). Zabriskie Point is also a good alternative start point (mile 3.5; cuts off only 617' of climbing and great parking).
PJAMMers did this ride from Badwater in March, 2017 (80 degrees) - this is an outstanding 81 miles / 6,743' out-and-back (Map). Another (less intelligent) PJAMM group started in July, 2016 with the intention of riding from Badwater to Whitney Portal and then hiking to the top of Whitney - 1 of 4 made that one! ( Badwater to Whitney Summit).
Segment two is the more strenuous, but just as scenic, part of the climb at 3,450' / 6.2% (final 2 miles at 9.3% and final 1/2 miles at 10.6%). Save enough time to spend soaking in the 360 degree breathtaking views at the end/top of the climb - Dantes Views. Looking west we look down at Badwater (279' BELOW Sea Level).
The other Top 100 climbs in Death Valley are #50 Townes Pass East, #56 Wildrose , #73 Daylight Pass and #90 Townes Pass West.
Weather: Do NOT attempt these climbs in the summer when the average temperatures range from 101-116 between May and September.
Traffic and Roadway report: As of September, 2014, the roadway surface was excellent throughout this climb and traffic on Hwy 190 is minimal (first 10 miles) and extremely sporadic after turning onto Furnace Creek Wash Road at mile 11.
Viewspoints at Dantes View
Viewpoints at Dantes View
Start(click and drag map; double click to move forward)
Note: Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Dantes View 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.