Challenging Santa Monica Rides

Check out this site weekly for updates. Also, if you ever get a chance to ride in LA, try some of these climbs, you won't forget the beauty and the challenge.

The Saddle Peak Five Challenge (El Muertito)

Park at the top of Saddle Peak Rd. Descend and climb all 5 roads.

1.Tuna Canyon Rd ( descend Saddle Peak and make sharp! Right turn on Tuna )

2.Las Flores Canyon Rd (descend Schueren Rd , Lt.on Ramblo, Lt. on Las Flores)

3.Stunt Rd

4.Piuma (descend Schueren Rd, Rt on Piuma)

5.Fernwood Pacific ( descend Saddle Peak and make Left turn on Tuna)

61.7 miles.

10,220 ft vertical gain.

approx. 4 1/2 hours riding time. (Gower's note: if you take 6 hours don't be disappointed! This ride is not for the faint of heart. If you have a triple bring it!)

WARNING: Steep and treacherous descends on Las Flores and especially on Tuna Canyon.

WARNING: Tuna is closed for uphill traffic. Use extreme caution climbing. Do not zig zag. Do not mention my name when you get a ticket

Route slip by Dave "Big Ring" Evans:

0.00 @ Start East on Saddle Peak Rd 3.20
3.20 R Tuna Cyn Rd 4.22
7.42 @ PCH    (U Turn) 2.87
10.29 @ Start of two way road 1.39
11.68 L Saddle Peak Rd to cars 3.21
14.89 @ Start West on Schueren Rd   2:25 1.81
16.70 L Rambla Pacifico 0.63
17.33 L Las Flores Cyn     3.38
20.71 @ PCH    (U Turn) 3.41
24.12 R Rambla Pacifico 0.64
24.76 R Schueren Rd to cars 1.81
26.57 @ Start North on Stunt Rd          4:05 3.87
30.44 @ Mulholland Hwy    (U Turn) 3.52
33.96 @ Drinking Fountain 0.49
34.45 @ Start West on Schueren Rd   5:07 1.82
36.27 R Piuma Rd 0.80
37.07 @ Summit of Piuma Rd 4.90
41.97 @ Cold Cyn Rd 0.73
42.70 @ Las Virgenes Rd    (U Turn) 5.62
48.32 @ Summit of Piuma Rd 0.81
49.13 L Schueren Rd to cars             6:46 1.83
50.96 @ Start East on Saddle Peak Rd 7:03    3.20
54.16 L Tuna Cyn / Fernwood Pacific Dr              2.76
56.92 @ Topanga Cyn Blvd    (U Turn) 1.34
58.26 @ Bainum Dr 0.09
58.35 @ Fernwood Pacific bcms Tuna Cyn 1.33
59.68 R Saddle Peak Rd to cars 3.20
62.88 @ Finish            (Thank God)  
        10,800 feet of elevation gain  


Santa Monica Mountain Climbs

Click for Peter's personal best time

Tuna Canyon Rd. (update Oct 2000) 7.5 miles, 2410 ft climb.

Just north of Topanga Canyon Rd., Turn off PCH to the top of Saddle Peak Rd.: the "saddle", which offers a beautiful view of the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. The 1st mile of pavement is very rough and narrow due to landslides. This is a beautiful, rustic canyon, which except for the paved road is untouched by man. No wires, no lights, no signs, no houses for much of the climb; all within a few miles of PCH and Malibu. The steep climb ( 15% + ) starts right after the crossing of the wash. After 1000 ft of vertical gain the climb flattens out somewhat. Watch for loose dogs. Watch for steep dropoffs and little if any shoulder. Keep alert because a mistake here could cause a lot of trouble. The saving grace is that there is next to no traffic. Tuna Canyon Rd. is now and probably for the foreseeable future closed for uphill traffic. Stay to the right and do not zig zag. This climb can often be made without seeing a car on week days, weekends however there is some traffic. Make left turn on Saddle Peak Rd. There are two false summits before you get to the actual summit of Saddle Peak Rd. Continue about a mile beyond the summit to the "saddle"; which is where Saddle, Stunt and Schueren Rd come together. Views to the north valleys, south to the Ocean.

Fernwood Pacific (update 20 Feb) 5.8 miles,1580 ft climb

From Topanga Cyn, make left turn onto Fernwood at the fire station. Steep part (10% +) starts immediately! Make right turn on Saddle Peak to the "saddle ". Although this climb is perhaps the most populated climb in the Santa Monica Mountains, it's certainly worth the effort. Traffic is usually not bad. Watch for sprinkler runoff in the turns. The views at many of the switchbacks are quite nice.

Las Flores Canyon Rd. (update 20 Feb) 8.8 miles, 2250 ft climb

Across from " DUKES " turn right on Las Flores .Watch out for busy traffic, many blind turns. First 1000ft are steepest. Watch out for somewhat friendly but nevertheless obnoxious dog on very steep climbing turn near beige colored house on the right. Turn right on Ramblo Pacifica and right on Schueren Rd. Next to Tuna, one of the real 'gut busters'.

Stunt Rd.4 miles, 1230 ft climb.

From Mulholland Hwy. to the "saddle". Gentle grade < 5% but can be very hot.


Piuma Rd.

(5miles, 1640 ft climb). From Malibu Canyon Rd. to the Y at Saddle Peak Lodge (btw great, very romantic restaurant), continue right to the top, turn left descending towards Ramblo Pacifica, make a left turn on Schueren Rd to the "saddle ". Beautiful views of the ocean, Catalina, Malibu and Santa Monica Mtns.


Malibu Canyon Rd

Not recommended, dangerous truck traffic through one tunnel without shoulder.


Corral Canyon Rd.

Approx. 0.5 miles from PCH one starts the steepest climb in Malibu, 17% plus, which ends at the fire hydrant at the El Nido housing development. After approx. 4 miles Corral Cyn. dead ends after encountering the occasional chasing canine.


Latigo Canyon Rd.

(7 miles, 1850 ft climb). Make a right turn on PCH, 0.5 miles north from Corral Cyn. First turn is steep but then the road flattens out. Great easy climb with grades not exceeding 6%. Top of the climb is the yellow "no smoking" frame. To connect to Kanan Rd. there is a descent and then a gentle climb to the 2nd summit. Beware of deer foraging along the road especially descending the steep blind turns after the 1st summit


Kanan Rd. (5.3 miles, 1610 ft climb to Latigo Cyn Rd.). 6-8% climb. Road has reopened. Watch for drunks and other obnoxious punks leaving the beach. Fastest way of escaping the marine layer on PCH


Encinal Canyon Rd. (5.2 miles, 1450 ft climb). 5% climb. Good shoulder, little traffic and gentle grade make this a great ride. Connects to Westlake via Mulholland and Westlake Blvd. Connects to Yerba Buena via Little Sycamore Canyon.


Yerba Buena Rd. (7.9 miles, 2410 ft climb). 5% grade Very little traffic and beautiful scenery After approx. 3.5 miles you can make a left turn on Cotherin to get back to PCH while descending Deer Creek Rd or continue via Circle X Ranch which is a good place to get water and to make a restroom stop. Lately there have been packs of loose dogs midway.


Deer Creek Rd. (2.3 miles, 1355 ft climb). Approx. 1 mile north from Yerba Buena. First 1000ft of climbing are the hardest with grades up to 15%. Beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands.

Please click here to view record times and to enter your best time.

Please contact me, to submit your favorite climb and record time as well as any for updates, such as new hazards, potholes, etc.

Specifics of start and finish:

LOCATION Start Finish
Deer Creek Rd 1st sign on Rt. Mailbox on Lt.
Mulholland Hwy 1st sign on Rt.  
Yerba Buena 1st sign on Rt. 1st summit of two
Decker Rd    
Encinal Canyon Rd 1st utility pole on Rt. Last utility pole on Rt near Decker Rd
Kanan Rd 1st sign on Rt Mailbox 501 on Rt.
Latigo Canyon Rd "no smoking " sign on Rt. mailbox no.1875 on Lt.
Corral Canyon Rd "no smoking " sign on Rt. Fire hydrant at El Nido
Las Flores Canyon Rd "no smoking " sign on Lt. Last utility pole on the saddle
Tuna Canyon Rd barricades Last utility pole on the saddle
Stunt Rd 1st sign on Rt. Last utility pole on Rt.
Piuma Rd Fire station near Saddle Pk.Lodge Fire hydrant-water main on Rt.
Fernwood Pacific Fire station on Rt. Last utility pole on the saddle
"Rockstore" switchback 1st sign on Rt. Fire hydrant on Lt. Not the water main











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