Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.
Note: Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Hwy 39-Crystal Lake 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)
34.2385, -117.85815 latitude/longitude). 51 miles from LAX, 35 miles from Ontario International Airport (ONT).
This climb begins at the San Gabriel Off Highway Staging Area which can be very crowded on weekends with a parking fee charged. Although the area can be very crowded on weekends, during the weekdays (and some weekends) the traffic is moderate for the first few miles up the mountain and mild thereafter. The first several miles of this climb are unimpressive, but miles approximately 7 to the turn off to Crystal Lake at mile 11.8 are dramatic, with views back to the south of the big switchbacks just navigated.
This first section of the climb from start to the turn off to Crystal Lake is at 5.5% average grade ascending 3,700'. At about mile 11.8 you turn right and climb the final 2.3 miles (6.0% grade) to the dead end parking lot at the top. The Crystal Lake Cafe and store are about 1.9 miles up the hill from the turnoff at Hwy 39 (great grilled sandwiches).
Roadway and Traffic Report: Although the first 12 miles of this climb are on a highway, it is mildly traveled as you ascend towards the switchbacks and canyon several miles from the start. The road for the most part is wide and has a good bike lane and shoulder. After turning onto Crystal Lake Road you will encounter minimal traffic along a well maintained road for the remainder of the climb.