Palomares Road

Distance: 20 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1770 ft

This ride is as simple as a ride can get: start at the beginning of Palomares Rd. near Hwy 580 and ride to its end, then turn around and ride back.  It’s a perfect little ride: you do a little flat stuff to warm up, then climb gently, then climb a bit more steeply to a summit, then descend down through an exciting curvy series of esses to the end, all of it through pretty hobby farms and wooded creek canyons.  Then you get to do it all in reverse.  ‘Nuff said.

For a discussion of how this ride compares with Morgan Territory Road and Calaveras Road, which it resembles, see the introduction to Morgan Territory Road.

Palomares had been closed at the southern end for bridge repairs but is now reported to be open again.

(To see an interactive version of the map/elevation profile, click on the ride name, upper left, wait for the new map to load, then click on the “full screen” icon, upper right.)

The lush back side of Palomares

The lush back side of Palomares

The ride is pretty symmetrical—5 miles and 1000 ft up to the summit, then 5 miles and 1000 ft down to the turn-around—and you can start at either end, but it’s a better ride the way I’ve mapped it, because the north end begins with 20 minutes of easy pedaling as a warm-up.  Starting from the southern end has you doing vigorous climbing from the gun.

The southern half is the better riding, because it’s curvier.  The curves add interest on the climb, and they’re beautifully shaped so you can hold all your speed on the descent.

Perfect curves




6 thoughts on “Palomares Road

  1. Jack Rawlins Post author

    This closure seems to be due to a mudslide and is expected to last a month or so, starting c. 4/5/17.

  2. David

    Rode this on 8/8/17 as a lunchtime out and back from the north termination. 8.5 miles out to the road closure. Fairly steady climb out, with only the last mile to the crest having any bite. The descent to the closure is okay, but seems to miss the steepest portions at the end of Jay’s ride. Easily managed descent at speed due to good road conditions and minimal traffic. Climb back from S to N is easier than N to S with the closure. Descent down the N side is fast – easy to hit 50mph on a fairly strait initial descent. Due to the closure, I suspect the traffic is very minimal.

    Compared with other East Bay roads, I have to say this currently tops for lack of traffic, but overall not as interesting as Grizzly Peak, Three Bears, or my more recent ride on Morgan Territory. Three Bears is an out-and-back due to the closure on Alhambra Road, and makes it a good ride to train for varied climbing.

  3. Gordon

    Anyone have any idea what is a good place to park for this ride? There is an elementary school on Verde Road but not sure if parking is allowed on weekends.

    1. Jack Rawlins Post author

      There may be parking at the Oak Creek Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Community, but I really can’t remember. OK, jokes aside, I think there is minimal streetside parking near the north end. Anyone know more?

  4. RH

    The west side of Norris Canyon as an out-and-back is worth doing if you’re in the area—nothing jaw-dropping, but it’s a nice climb and a fun descent.


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