Best Road Bike Ride Up a Mountain (2008)

East Valle Vista Road, Phoenix

You may have heard about the hilltop residents who tried to block access to Valle Vista Road at the upper foothills of Camelback Mountain. Ticked-off homeowners said they were tired of speeders, loud noises, break-ins, public sex, and other high jinks sometimes committed by visitors to this scenic road.

But the city chose not to install roadblocks, and the nearby residents, in fact, reportedly never considered blocking access to bicyclists or pedestrians.

That's great news for cyclists, because although the streets are long in the Phoenix metro area, the whole town is fairly flat and not much of a challenge for you hill-climbing types with calves like bricks. Valle Vista Road, on the south side of Camelback Mountain, is a wonderful addition to any bike ride in the area. Getting to it is easy: Just head north on 56th Street or Arcadia Drive, both of which lead to the hill-hugging Valle Vista Road.

We like to link it to our longer, around-the-mountain ride. But it's also a nice ride for more casual riders in the Arcadia or downtown Scottsdale area. The steep grades always get us pumped, and the view is stellar. Despite the complaints by neighbors, we never see much going on up there during our rides. It's usually just a quiet, pretty view. Many times, we'll even feel a wisp of a mountain breeze that we didn't notice in the flatlands below.

If you go up at night, though, watch where you shine your headlamp or you might see something to complain about.


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