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

Start (click and drag map)

Ride Description

 White Mountain is the 9th most difficult climb in the United States (per Fiets Index) and one of    the 9 Top 100 rides that begin in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada  mountain range in the central/eastern portion of California.   The climb begins at the  intersection of Hwy 168 and Death Valley Road, Big Pine, CA - guess what the temperature is  like during the summer for the lower portion of this ride . . . 

 This ride can be broken into two segments - Hwy 168 (10.5 miles, 3,347', 6.3%) and White  Mountain Road (9.5 miles, 3,029', at 6.2%).   The climb ends about .3 miles south of the  Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center (home to the world's oldest living tree)  and  there are some breathtaking views of the Eastern Sierras to the west as you near the summit.    The lower portion of the climb is arid and desert-like (as you would expect for a ride that  begins at "Death Valley Road"), but it gives way to a more high sierra alpine setting as you  climb into the Inyo National Forest.  

 Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface is excellent.  The first 10.5 miles is on U.S.  Hwy 168 which has moderate to light traffic, although it can whiz by at 50-60 mph.  The final  9.5 miles on White Mountain Road are very safe and low traffic - we have encountered very   little traffic during our 5 ascents of this mountain.  

Very cool mini-canyon at 8 mile mark.

Photos are in order from bottom of climb to the top.  Also, much thanks to author/cyclist  Ron Hawks for his photo contributions to this page.

Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the White Mountain  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, below, for exact  grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.

 Elevation 14,246' / 4,342m

Cycling the Sierras and California: White Mountain


  • Distance:                                          20.1 miles

  • Beginning elevation:                       3,944'

  • Ending elevation:                             10,109'

  • Average Grade:                                6.3%

  • Fiets Index:                                       12.8
  • Location:  Climb begins at the intersection of Hwy 168 and Death Valley Road, Big Pine, CA 37 (37.18501, -118.25297 latitude/longitude), 255 miles northeast of LAX and 395 miles southeast of San Francisco International Airport.