Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.
This is the preferred route to the high point of Hwy 168 on the way to Shaver Lake. The first 7 miles are on a two lane road that is in good shape and little traveled. We begin the climb just past Tollhouse where the road begins to bend right. This climb is quite challenging and is best ridden early in the day, before the heat appears (as it will with a vengeance during the summer months). As we climb away from Tollhouse, there are some distant views of the Sierra Foothills and we enter Sierra National Forest at mile 1.5 (sandwiched between Yosemite National Forest and Kings Canyon). We are surrounded by oaks and scrub brush along the lower portion of the climb yielding to a more alpine setting over the last 5-6 miles - providing welcome relief from the heat by shading the roadway in many places over the final few miles.
There is good reason this climb is in the U.S. Top 100. The first 6.5 miles are at 7.2% average and the final 3 after turning onto Hwy 168 are at 6.6% average grade. The alpine setting, sweet smell and shade offered by the conifers over the final few miles are very pleasant. However, we were surprised by the continuous traffic flow in both directions for the three miles we were on Hwy 168 on July 5, 2015 (when we traveled this route on a late afternoon in summer 2014 the traffic was not nearly as heavy). We think that a Sunday, July 5 (day after July 4) may have explained the insane traffic during our climb up Hwy 168.
Food/fluids - can be obtained in Tollhouse at the beginning of the ride and at Cressmans Market at mile 6.5 just after we turn onto Hwy 168.
Note: Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Tollhouse Road 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.
Start (click and drag map; double click to move forward)