A few of our local favorites.
We've gone ahead and given the LUFT stamp of approval.
🥓 : Slight Sizzle
Tour De Palisades
Road / 21 mi / 1,446 ft
The go-to alternative to Mandeville Canyon.
Mandeville Canyon is by far the most popular road climb in the Santa Monica Mountains, but it can become old pretty quick. With a lot of the other climbs nearby featuring grades above 20%, finding a fun road route that avoids PCH can be a challenge.
Behold the beauty of the Palisades. This route is great for riders of any level and takes you through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in L.A. You'll even sneak through some hidden back roads and a walk bridge.
LUFT TIP: Demo a Hammerhead Karoo 2 for the ride. It will keep you on track as this route is filled with twists and turns.
Gravel / 19 mi / 1,212 ft
A great intro to gravel ride.
Beginners will find a mix of backroads, groomed gravel, a eucalyptus grove, and an ocean view overlook.
Advanced riders love this one for mid week sunset recovery rides.
*Extra credit 1 mile skill session available up the Backbone Trail to The Bridge.
LUFT TIP: It’s a busy loop with families and horses – so best for chill days
Road / 33 miles / 1,830 ft
A 50/50 tour through Los Angeles city and wilderness.
Heading east, you’ll make your way through the LA city streets and into Beverly Hills 90210 before entering Franklin Canyon Park.
Climbing up you’ll find rough, bumpy roads echoing the cobbles of Roubaix. The climb is just over 3 miles long averaging 3.6% with only a few short pitches of 10-20%.
Turning left onto the famed Mulholland Drive, you’ll get peak-a-boo views of the city and valley before a fast descent down Sepulveda Blvd.
Ease off the gas as you pull onto Ocean Ave for a well deserved cool down.
LUFT TIP: Franklin Canyon Park is an oasis in the center of LA. Take a moment to clear the stress from the week.
Road / 40 mi / 2,406 ft
The renouned LA weekly ride.
One of the most often overlooked climbs up to Mulholland Drive, Sunset Plaza is truly a hidden gem. Enjoy the twists and turns as you make your way through one of the most posh neighborhoods in LA.
Once you cross over Laurel Canyon you'll notice the sharp contrast in scenery. If you're a history buff, do some quick Google searches about this area and you might find some interesting stories.
Eventually you will find yourself at a familiar intersection on Nichols Canyon. Yup, that's where that road goes and now you know! Turn left on Nichols and make your way up to Mulholland. But don't get too comfortable because you'll be taking the "NEW" Nichols climb (If you're in the fast group that is) up to Runyon Canyon.
Turn left and ride the Mulholland wave all the way back to Sepulveda!
LUFT TIP: Mulholland is busy with fast care. Ride single file.
Baldwin Hills > Spruce Goose
Road / 41 mi / 1,758 ft
Hill and crit training all in one.
This is a ride with two parts – You can do each segment individually or combine them together for the full experience.
Part 1 takes you up Baldwin Hills, one of the best "bang for your buck" climbs in LA. It's a short 0.5 miles but it definitely gets spicy towards the top. If you have it in you go for the 5 lap segment. Make sure to be careful on the descent as there are a lot of pedestrians that like to use the road as well.
Part 1 brings you to the Spruce Goose Loop. Undoubtedly one of the West Side's best kept secrets. It's exactly 1 mile long, so do as many laps as necessary, just don't lose count! The segment to shoot for here is the 20 lapper. Make sure to always check traffic when turning right.
LUFT TIP: At the Spruce Goose loop you will come across a famous statue by the artist KAWS.
Sullivan > Westridge
Gravel / 27 mi / 2,463 ft
The go-to loop for the local gravel gang.
Sullivan Ridge is a 5.6 mile climb that, while only averaging 4.5%, is pretty punchy. Pros knock it out in close to 20 mins so it’s a great fitness benchmark you can come back to throughout the year.
Checkout the decommissioned Nike missile site at the top for 360 degree views of the Los Angeles area. On a clear, winter day you can see the snow capped peaks to the east.
*Extra credit single track mirrors the fire road.
LUFT TIP: Watch out for off leash dogs on the descent.
Topanga > Saddle Peak
Road / 48 miles / 3,811 ft
This route has the best of all worlds: A shady, twisty and steep climb up Fernwood and beautiful views of both the ocean and rolling hills from Saddle Peak.
Straight into a ripper of a descent down Rambla Pacifco. But don't go too far or you might find yourself climbing back up to Hume road.
Once you're on Hume you'll notice the road starts to narrow. Don't be shy, instead double down and drop that outside foot through the smooth chicanes.
At last you will find yourself flying down Las Flores to the PCH. Enjoy a fat tailwind all the way back to Santa Monica!
LUFT TIP: There's a water spot in the first driveway on Saddle Peak Drive. Stop if you need it, but if not keep it pushing to the top because you are mid Strava segment.
Paseo > Temescal
Gravel / 33 miles / 3,146 ft
Steep, steep, and more steep.
Few rides in the Santa Monica mountains offer better views of the Pacific Ocean, however there is a price to pay for this reward.
The Paseo climb is paved from Sunset Blvd for the first 1.2 miles with an average grade of 9%. It then turns to dirt and kicks to an average 13% for another mile before leveling out.
Catch your breath at the Parker Mesa Overlook and settle in for the rest of the ride as you’ve only covered a third of the total elevation gain.
The return trip offers ocean views for the full descent down Temescal.
LUFT TIP: Avoid hot days as there is little shade and no water.