Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.
Start(click and drag map; double click to move forward)
Note: Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Hwy 156-Lee Canyon 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.
Lee Canyon is a Top 25 U.S. Climb which begins in a fairly desolate and desert-like setting (beginning of climb) about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas. This climb can be extremely hot and probably should be avoided between June and August when the average temperatures range from 99 to 104. The first 11 miles are through high desert landscape with many scattered Joshua trees which gradually give way to pine and fir forest beginning around mile 12. By the time we top 8,000' and are at the 14 mile mark, we are in a completely different climate zone made up of pine forest and scenic mountain formations. This contrast is dramatically emphasized when (after riding approximately 10 miles through desert landscape) we finish at mile 17.3 at a ski resort!
The climb is fairly steady, between 4-7% with very few steeper grades throughout.
This climb can be done in conjunction with 3 other climbs in the immediate area (#33 Hwy 156-158 which shares its first 14 miles with Hwy 156 climb, #49 Hwy 157-158 and Hwy #66 Hwy 157 - Mt. Charleston). Be cautious if doing this ride without support as the only provisions are likely to be at the Mt Charleston Lodge at the end of Hwy 157 - support is highly recommended for any effort involving Lee and Kyle Canyons in the same ride.
Roadway Surface and Traffic: This climb is along a Nevada state highway (156) which does not have a shoulder or bike lane to speak of, yet traffic is minimal, making the ride much less nerve racking than riding on the busier state highways. The roadway surface is excellent.