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Cycling and Climbing Death Valley

Emigrant Pass East


  • Distance:                                          20.7m

  • Beginning elevation:                      0'

  • Ending elevation:                            5,303'

  • Elevation gained:                            5,017'

  • Average Grade:                               5.0%

  • Fiets Index:                                       7.63

  • Location:  Climb begins at the Sea Level sign in Stovepipe Wells, CA, 158 miles northeast of Las Vegas International Airport and 265 miles northeast of LAX (36.60709, -117.14599 latitude/longitude).  

Ride Description


Emigrant Pass East begins in Stovepipe Wells, CA and is an extremely remote climb in Death Valley . The first several miles of this climb seem almost flat and we are definitely in an arid, desert-like setting. We begin to climb into more mountainous, yet barren, landscape around miles 7 and 8. As of October, 2014, there was water at the 9 mile point at Emigrant Campground. There is very little vegitation along this climb and no trees. As with most Death Valley climbs, the views are, not surprisingly, very stark and desert to high desert-like.

After riding 9.3 miles and just after passing Emigrant Campground, turn left onto Emigrant Canyon Road (9.3 miles at 4.5% average grade and 2,187' climbed to this point).  The next 7.6 miles are initially through a canyon and then into open upper desert space to the end point at Emigrant Pass.  Be careful on this one as there is no support anywhere along the climb and, while you will encounter traffic along Hwy 190 up to the Emigrant Canyon Road turn off, you may not see another sole after that. 

Weather: Do NOT attempt these climbs in the summer when the average​ high temperatures range from 101-116 between May and September. (See Weather summary, below, for more details.

     Traffic and Roadway report:  As of October, 2014, the roadway surface was excellent throughout this ride but there is minimal to no shoulder and traffic can zoom by at highway speeds.   Traffic after the turn off at Emigrant Canyon Road is effectively nonexistent. 

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