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Ojai – Sulphur Mountain


Sulphur Mountain is one of those climbs that you really have to hunt for to find. With only a couple of passing mentions on bikeforums and virtually nothing on google (aside from a few pages about mountain biking portions of it), this climb is easily overlooked. Even the road itself is plain looking at its turnoff from route 150 just outside of Ojai – you’d never guess it goes anywhere special. This is a shame. Sulphur Mountain Rd is a great climb. While relatively short (only 1240 ft in elevation gain total), the first couple of miles average 8.8%..and the first mile averages 10%! Needless to say, this is a challenging little climb.

A few important stats:

  • First 0.7 Miles (the steepest section): 10.5% average
  • First Mile: 10% average (525 ft elevation gain)
  • Main Climbing Section (2.05 miles and 945 ft elevation gain): 8.8% average
  • Overall Climb (3.42 miles and 1240 ft elevation gain): 6.9%
  • Overall Ride (bottom of climbing section to end of Sulphur Mountain Rd): 4.3 miles
  • If you only look at the overall climb numbers, 6.9% doesn’t sound too bad. This is deceptive. The first 2 miles climb steeply up to the ridge line while the following 1.5 miles meander gently (with a few steep portions thrown in) along the ridge. Basically, if you can get up those 2 steep miles, you are good to go.

    Anyway, on to the pictures!

    A nice place to start is near The Summit roadside food stand:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    The name refers to the fact that this is the summit of route 150 between Ojai and Santa Paula (at just over 1560 ft in elevation). In fact, this is the highest point along all of route 150 (the other high point along the Casitas Pass section tops out at under 1200 ft). 150 itself is a great road to ride on as well, so starting in either Ojai or Santa Paula and riding up 150 to Sulphur Mountain would be great as well. However, if you are pressed for time, as I was, the streets around The Summit provide the best relatively secure, close parking area for this ride. From here, you gradually descend a couple of miles along 150 towards Ojai before turning left on Sulphur Mountain Rd. Watch for this intersection as it is not well marked.

    The first part of Sulphur Mountain Rd is relatively flat with some houses along the road:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    The hill in the background is what you are about to climb up. Very quickly, the climbing starts:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    Some of this steep climbing is shaded:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    Some is not well shaded:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    Sections like this will test you:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    Steep (10%+), exposed and sun-drenched (the sun just bounces off those rock walls). Luckily, you do get a lot of shaded sections:

    From 2010-06-28 – Ojai Cycling – Sulphur Mountain Rd

    Read the Full Ride Report

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