Angeles Crest Highway Reopens – Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada to Dawson Saddle (12,400 feet of climbing)

A four-hour training ride turned into a seven hour climbfest d’oh!  Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada (1300 Elev) to Dawson Saddle (7901 Elev) Lots of climbing, lots of heat with few options for rehydrating on the road.  I will put together a more detailed route sheet but here is the down and dirty.  From La Canada I climbed on the Angeles Crest Hwy about 14 miles to Red Box.  I refilled my water bottle and then proceeded to climb up Mt Wilson, a five-mile climb.  I descended back to Red Box and refilled my bottle then climbed approximately 14 miles to Newcomb’s Ranch and refilled my bottle there.  I then climbed from Newcomb’s Ranch to Dawson Saddle through Cloud Burst Summit (7018 Elev) and back down to Newcomb’s Ranch.    I refilled at Newcomb’s and then descended back to La Canada.  About 100 miles 12,400 feet of climbing most of it on the way up with annoying rollers on the way down.

The Angeles Crest Highway is a two-lane (one lane of travel in each direction) segment of California State Route 2 in the United States. The road is 66 miles (106 km) in length, with its western terminus at the intersection at Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge and its eastern terminus at State Route 138 northeast of Wrightwood. The majority of the route passes through the mountainous terrain located north of the Los Angeles basin. Its alignment passes through the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Segments of the road reach altitudes above 7,000 feet (2,100 m), with a summit of 7,903 feet (2,409 m) at the Dawson Saddle, which makes this road one of the highest in Southern California.

You can read more about the Angeles Crest Hwy here

4,000 elevation at mile marker 36.25.

Approximately 12 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

Above and below– The intersection of Mount Wilson/Red Box Rd and Angeles Crest Hwy.

Approximately 14 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

Cultural Center at Red Box

Work crews on Angeles Crest Hwy.  Above is somewhere between Red Box and Newcomb’s Ranch

5,000 elevation sign

Approximately 20 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

The distances above are from Newcomb’s Ranch

The base of the climb is mile marker 24 ish Dawson Saddle is approximately mile marker 69.50.

This is a 45 mile climb, albeit not all in one shot but you don’t ever get more than a mile or two of reliefs along the way.

16 thoughts on “Angeles Crest Highway Reopens – Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada to Dawson Saddle (12,400 feet of climbing)

  1. Awesome stuff George. Love reading your blog. Could you do a post on what you are eating on your rides, frequency, calorie intake, supplements. How are you maintaining energy levels on these rides?


    • James,

      Thank you for reading my blog. I would love to do a post on nutrition. I have done nutrition posts in the past. In the meantime, I will answer you question directly.

      I use Infinit Nutrition. It is customizable based on your race/training requirements. You can dial up or down the calories, electrolytes, protein or the caffeine. You can google them and starting customizing your formulas. Try to maintain a hourly rate of 250 calories and you will be fine. I don’t cramp usually so I don’t take too many electrolyte supplements. When placing an order used discount code “vireo” and you will receive 10% off your product. I trust it for my long stuff.

      I have also been eating Pro Bars lately. When the intensity is lower like yesterday’s climbfest I eat a little more solid foods. On high-intensity days I will go all liquid …because I don’t get as hungry when hammering.

      My strategy is sipping often on a climb and eating a bar when I summit and begin my descent. If crew-supported I down a bottle of Infinit on the descent.

      I hope that helps. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need.


    • Hey Dean,

      The traffic on Angeles Crest Hwy was very light yesterday. The higher I climbed in elevation the more scarce traffic became. My days off are during the week so most places I ride are fairly quite and safe.


  2. Great post, and great pics, George. What were the air temperatures like at the higher elevations on your ride yesterday? And did you run completely out of fluids by the time you made it back to Newcomb’s?


    • Hello TJ,

      Thank you for reading my blog. I arrived at 5:23 at Dawson Saddle 7901 elev (photo time stamp). It was cool from 7K up. I say in the low 70’s maybe even high 60’s compared to the 90’s at the base of the climb.

      I did not run out of fluids. I used one bottle from La Canada to Red Box — approximately 14 miles (one bottle un-touched)

      One bottle on the climb and descent of Mount Wilson– 10 mile round trip (one bottle un-touched)

      One bottle from Red Box to Newcomb’s – approximately 14 miles (one bottle un-touched)

      One bottle from Newcomb’s to Dawson Saddle– approximately 18 miles (one bottle un-touched)

      One bottle from Dawson Saddle to Newcomb’s — Used second bottle.

      Refilled both bottles at Newcomb’s and drank them on the 30+ mile descent to the start.


  3. Nice work Vireo. Looks like a good day o climbing. Gotta sleep, doing the Highland Double tomorrow. 330 wake up call.

      • George
        Grand tour was a success. My first double. Finished in 13:39. Rode with a good friend of mine,and ironically we ran into a couple on mile 20 and stayed together for the next 180 miles. I think you know him, Mike Wilson and his girlfriend Andrea. Great people.
        We worked together the whole day and our group dynamics were so good that we stuck together all day.
        Mike is a 508 guy and is looking at RAAM next. Anyway, look forward to my next double in Death Valley, this October.
        For now, I’m headed to Mammoth this Sat. for a week and am planning on doing EC day 1 solo. Plus lots of other rides.
        Your idea of all 6 in one day is sooooo twisted. I love it. Hope you can pull it off.
        See ya

  4. Another great ride, another great post! This is kinda funny as I have been planning to do a ride very similar to this (might take me a little longer than 8 hrs. though haha). The maximum speed recorded: 63.5?!? Really?!? Is this ride part of your “30K elevation gain in one day” route? (Which, by the way, when you do it we’ll have to change your name to “El Loco Vireo”). Then again, you already do the Furnace Creek 508 so I guess you’re kinda already loco 🙂

    P.S.- The Lizard tape looks great with your black frame. What do you think of the tape so far?

    • Hello Aaron,

      Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to make a comment.

      This was one hell of a ride. I would like to go back with some support so I can RIDE and train properly and not worry about running out of fuel or fluids. This would be a true endurance test for you as you start training for longer stuff.

      63.5 mph either a glitch or I didn’t turn it off when I got in the car lol!

      This ride is not part of the EC One (Everest Challenge in one day 29,000 feet of climbing). But I did this ride because there isn’t a big payoff after climbing say…20 miles. It’s up and up and up and this is mentally and physically more challenging than having a long climb and a long descent and repeating that 3x. What I just described is the format for Everest Challenge three climbs and three descents. Angeles Crest Hwy was almost 45 miles of up and up and up with short descents. I was really worked when I got up to Dawson Saddle (7901 elev)

      I really like the Lizard Skins tape and I might actually start using it exclusively! I am putting together a product review and will post it within the next week. Stay tuned…

      By the way, how is your Cannondale Synapse holding up?

      Red-Eyed Vireo

      • Hey George, thank you for the reply. It is very kind of you to answer everyone’s questions. It would be awesome to go on a ride with you or offer you ride support. A possible scenario might be for me to ride along half of the way, return to my car, then meet you at a predetermined spot for fuel/hydration/etc… it would have to be on a Saturday or Sunday and I would gladly commit to something… let me know. As for my Cannondale, it’s holding up well, just need to keep fine tuning/adjusting the front derailleur as it has a tendency to rub on the big ring. See you soon!

        • Aaron,

          My goal is to make my blog and open forum. Where it is as interactive as my schedule and my readers schedule provides. I work, train, race and coach clients. BUT one of my favorite activities of the day, is to interact with my readers.

          As far as you SAG’ing — I appreciate you offering and we might be able to work something out at some point. But for now I work every other weekend and I have my son every other weekend. My days off are the weekends I have my son, which I keep as sacred for he and I and the every other Thursday and Friday.

          That front der rub is from your awesome power 😉 If you have the time, bring it in and we’ll take a look at it!


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