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

Bonus Route - Includes rough 4 miles stretch of gravel a end of irde

See RideWithGPS map below for 17.2 mile route that includes the last 2 miles on gravel at 9.7% average grade.

Each elevation segment is ~ 1/6 mile. 

 Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Wildrose Rd 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.


Cycling and Climbing Death Valley

Wildrose / Charcoal Kilns Roads


  • Distance:                                          14.6 miles

  • Beginning elevation:                      1,371'

  • Ending elevation:                            5,917'

  • Elevation gained:                            4,445'

  • Average Grade:                               6.2

  • Fiets Index:                                       8.64

  • Location:  Climb begins in the middle of nowhere!​  16 miles south of Panamint Springs, CA, 200 miles west of Las Vegas International Airport and 213 miles northeast of LAX (36.17544, -117.30403 latitude/longitude).  

​​Ride Description


This climb is quite a ways up there on our WOW scale. This climb is best defined as "an adventure." You begin in Death Valley in a remote location that greets you with a "Road Closed" sign. As we were getting ready to ride our road bikes up the road, a jeep came rumbling down towards us. We stopped the driver and asked what the road was like and were told "don't do this road on that bike." Well, we'd come too far to turn back and headed on up Wildrose Canyon on road bikes (mine was a Roubaix with compact chain rings, 30t and 28mm tires). Yes, the 9.4 miles from the start to the intersection is very rough and broken pavement, but quite doable (See YouTube Playlist). The roadway surface from the "intersection" of Wildrose and Charcoal Kilns Road to the End of the pavement on Charcoal Kilns Rd (5.2 miles) was fresh and smooth pavement in September, 2014 when we did this climb. You may encounter all manner of wildlife along this remote climb, from tarantulas crossing the road, wild burrows milling about on the roadway and hillsides and coyotes wandering along the desert landscape.

Bonus points for making the final 4 miles from the end of the pavement to the top of Charcoal Kilns Road which is very steep and very rocky. We made it 2 miles up but ran out of daylight and had to turn back. (Map of full climb / Youtube of gravel section). The last 2.1 miles is at 9.9% average grade.

Weather: Do NOT attempt these climbs in the summer when the average​ temperatures range from 101-116 between May and September (see weather chart at bottom of Death Valley Home Page).

Traffic and Roadway report:  As of October, 2014, the roadway surface for the first 9.4 miles was very poor, but excellent for the last 5.2 miles.  As you would expect on a "closed road", there was minimal traffic (we saw a couple rogue jeeps along the way).  The final 5.2 miles is an excellent roadway surface.