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"Climbing" in Dallas

Old 07-27-12, 07:31 AM
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"Climbing" in Dallas

Okay, so in other forums I see people talking about all the LONG climbs they have to do, such as 6 miles at 6% etc
I know that even bringing up "climbing" and "Dallas" in the same sentence should make me embarrassed for myself. Okay, I accept that. What I want to know is, how steep are some of the grades in Dallas. I am most familiar with the White Rock area. So, something like Loving as it comes up to Gaston, or Winstead from White Rock Rd to Tokalon, or going from below the spillway back up the hill past San Rafael--how steep are those climbs?
When I read the posts about climbing long, multi-mile grades I'm just curious and want to get some point of reference for how steep those mountain climbs are.
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Old 07-28-12, 12:23 AM
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I've ridden white rock, I don't recall how steep any of the climbs are but just going around the lake nothing struck me as steep at all.

I ride around Las Colinas and there are lots of short steep climbs here if you look for them. There are other places around Dallas where you can find a lot of hills, mostly south of Joe Pool lake. There are a couple of good hills on Loop 12 south of I-30. There are several hills in that general area that I have been down and hit 55mph on if that tells you how steep they are. There is one little housing subdivision down there that has a hill that you can ride up and back down and that is the steepest short climb I've found in Dallas. When I was in good shape many years ago I rode all over this area with a 13-19 straight block freewheel. I could climb everything with brute force except for that one little hill and it took a 21 or 23. Depending on your route you can actually climb back up both of those 55mph hills and they are fairly long steep climbs. They will get your heart jumping out of your chest for sure.

I've ridden some of the roads on the north rim of the grand canyon and you can get 500 ft. to 1000 ft. climbs there, those are the longest climbs I've been on. I'm older now and I'm probably not ever going to climb something like Col du Tourmalet. If I ever move to Colorado I don't know what I'd do, maybe buy a Jeep.
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Old 07-28-12, 06:22 AM
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bjtesch: I would love to know where this long,steep climb is that you mention. Coming from Tennessee, I miss terrain and I would love to have a nice hill to do repeats on.

To the OP: Everything I have seen thus far in Dallas has not exceeded 3%. Most of it is in the 2% range with the longest "climb" being about 250ft in length. The hills leading off the Lakewood/M-Streets from White Rock are likely 1.5-2%.
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Old 07-28-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by parabrand
To the OP: Everything I have seen thus far in Dallas has not exceeded 3%. Most of it is in the 2% range with the longest "climb" being about 250ft in length. The hills leading off the Lakewood/M-Streets from White Rock are likely 1.5-2%.
Yep, spot on. If there's a 6% climb in Dallas County, I'll eat the pavement used to make the road...
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Old 07-28-12, 12:56 PM
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ridewithgps.com is excellent for checking out routes. It's easy to draw a route, and undo the last few clicks, and try a different road.

Sign up for free, and draw your own routes!

For these example routes, pull down the Maps list at the top right, and click Terrain to see 3-D hills. Now zoom all the way in. Each contour line is 40 feet of elevation, with darker lines every 200 feet.

You can hover over the red elevation graph to see grades at that point. Drag and select a hill to get the distance, average grade, and total elevation for that selection.


Here's a couple hills in Dallas that you mentioned. I see 6% grades, with a few 8% spots. (ridewithgps can be off a little on very short sections.) Most of these are under 100 feet tall, probably short enough to just go full blast.
ridewithgps.com/routes/1507223


Here in northern KY, most valleys are 300-400 feet below the hilltops. The climbs are about a mile long or more.
Here's an example fairly hilly ride:
ridewithgps.com/routes/1277768

I did this Blue Ridge Parkway route in 2009. It's spectacular when zoomed in!
There aren't any grades over 8% on this route, but ridewithgps got confused when the road went through a short tunnel. And on mountain slopes, it has to guess the exact elevation of each point in the road, based on known elevations spaced along the slope. So the local grades can be off sometimes.
ridewithgps.com/routes/62838

Last edited by rm -rf; 07-28-12 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 07-28-12, 08:49 PM
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You can map a ride at MapMyRide.com and it will give you the elevation and grade. The Winstead route is 7% grade for a block. I have heard that Interstate highways will not exceed 6%.
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Old 07-28-12, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by parabrand
bjtesch: I would love to know where this long,steep climb is that you mention. Coming from Tennessee, I miss terrain and I would love to have a nice hill to do repeats on.
I'll tell you the steep stuff that I remember.
1) Go south on Loop 12 service road. Somewhere between Keeneland and Mountain Creek you will climb a long and very steep hill. If you loop around and go back to the north on the northbound service road you will go back down this hill and easily get 50mph.
2) Go east on Mansfield Road/West Beltline on the south side of Joe Pool Lake. I don't remember where but somewhere around Lake Ridge Parkway it will start a long uphill climb. This one if you go down it going West will also get you to 50mph.
3) In that same vicinity if you go south from Beltline on Robin Lane there are some small hills. At the end of Robin is Summit Pl. Ride this loop going clockwise and you will climb the steepest road that I know of in this area.
4) The loops that I ride in Las Colinas have some steep hills just not real long, but there are a lot of them. I could crank as hard as I wanted to until I got tired then ride easy back home.

I was going to map some of these on those websites that were linked but apparently you have to have a membership to do that. Maybe one of you guys with memberships will do it and tell us the pertinent statistics.
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Old 07-29-12, 06:51 AM
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Some of the Garmin units show percent grade as you ride, if you're interested. I've measured some of the hills I commonly ride with a 2' level and a tape measure.

One thing you'll find is that if there are three different numbers for the same hill, people will take the highest one, and you can't tell them otherwise. So on "Church Hill", I could not find any spot on it that measured over 5%, but there are people convinced it is 7% because Jim Bob's gps said that 5 years ago.

Another thing you'll find is that percent grade doesn't equate to how hard it is. On my common ride, the steepest place I could find on it was actually a short little dip that you can coast UP the hill, so it never occurs to anyone that it's steep. Then the "hard" hill is the 5% one, but it's harder because it's longer. Then on another hill, I found a 9% spot right at the top, but the 9% part is very short (I thought I was just getting tired as I topped out, and no, it gets steeper right there.) But on the club ride, we always ride down that hill, never up, so nobody cares what the grade is.
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Old 07-29-12, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bergerandfries
Yep, spot on. If there's a 6% climb in Dallas County, I'll eat the pavement used to make the road...
You can start by eating the pavement of Summit Place in Cedar Hill.
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Old 07-29-12, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bjtesch
I've ridden white rock, I don't recall how steep any of the climbs are but just going around the lake nothing struck me as steep at all.
To no great surprise going around the shore of the lake it's nearly dead flat. To the southwest into Lakewood and north over Flagpole Hill and up White Rock Trail (the street, not the bike path) it's not so flat.
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Old 07-29-12, 04:06 PM
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https://ridewithgps.com/routes/500590

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/114338443
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Old 07-29-12, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees
That is awesome! I've ridden a lot of those roads and I've heard about some of the others. I wonder if Summit is really 20+ %, but it is about the limit of what I could ride on a road bike with road chainrings.
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Old 07-30-12, 07:52 AM
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Some of those are damn steep, for sure. I've done roads in Arkansas with signs warning 20% plus, and some of the ones around Cedar Hill are just as steep. When they put texture marks into the pavement for traction... you know it's steep!
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Old 07-30-12, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by parabrand
bjtesch: I would love to know where this long,steep climb is that you mention. Coming from Tennessee, I miss terrain and I would love to have a nice hill to do repeats on.

To the OP: Everything I have seen thus far in Dallas has not exceeded 3%. Most of it is in the 2% range with the longest "climb" being about 250ft in length. The hills leading off the Lakewood/M-Streets from White Rock are likely 1.5-2%.
I assumed this would be the general idea but I'm not sure it's correct. I know that there are not any real long climbs--long being measured in miles instead of blocks. But, my question was not "where is an epic climb in Dallas" but rather how do the short climbs--short being 1 or 2 blocks long--compare in GRADE ONLY to the more manly climbs I read about.

I know I am speaking from ignorance, but if the 1 block climb on Winstead from White Rock to Tokalon or the drive up to Flagpole Hill are <2%, and I am reading about people climbing 6-8% for miles and miles?!?!?!?

3 times as steep for several miles????

I am a BIT skeptical.
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Old 07-30-12, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DTSCDS
I assumed this would be the general idea but I'm not sure it's correct. I know that there are not any real long climbs--long being measured in miles instead of blocks. But, my question was not "where is an epic climb in Dallas" but rather how do the short climbs--short being 1 or 2 blocks long--compare in GRADE ONLY to the more manly climbs I read about.

I know I am speaking from ignorance, but if the 1 block climb on Winstead from White Rock to Tokalon or the drive up to Flagpole Hill are <2%, and I am reading about people climbing 6-8% for miles and miles?!?!?!?

3 times as steep for several miles????

I am a BIT skeptical.
There are plenty of hills around here that are 6% or steeper... I dunno where Parabrand got his measurements, maybe one of the online sites that tend to average % grade over a mile at a time, thus averaging to a lower number.

Short answer: go pedal Loving Ave / Gaston Pkwy and report back if you think it's steep or not.
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Old 07-30-12, 05:36 PM
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My commute involves the one block stretch of Winstead from White Rock Rd to Tokalon--with my clothes/laptop/lunch etc loaded in my pannier. As I am walking the last few feet I have been known to invent new cuss words. I can't imagine the folks that do that for miles. . .
At least all we have to contend with is the blast furnace of summer.

Thanks to all for the information.
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Old 07-30-12, 05:39 PM
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You could also search for segments in Strava to find popular climbs.
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Old 07-31-12, 08:07 AM
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I keep seeing this "Strava" mentioned, but I don't know of it. I guess I need to do some investigation.
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Old 07-31-12, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DTSCDS
I keep seeing this "Strava" mentioned, but I don't know of it. I guess I need to do some investigation.
Here's some climbing segments around Dallas:

https://app.strava.com/segments/explo...p_type/terrain

They are all very short... < 2.0 miles.
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Old 08-01-12, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisM2097
Here's some climbing segments around Dallas:

https://app.strava.com/segments/explo...p_type/terrain

They are all very short... < 2.0 miles.
As usual with Strava you have to take that with a major grain of salt. Half of those climbs are non-existent. I saw one which was supposedly a 30% grade at the base of White Rock Lake?? I like Strava and use it a lot, but they need to sort out where they get the elevation data for their "climbs." There are cat 3 and 4 climbs popping up in the middle of pan flat farm land.

To the OP, the real 3 or 4 mile climbs can only be found in West Texas around Big Bend. There are a few short, steep hills in the metroplex though, as mentioned the area around Joe Pool Lake is good, There are some climbs around Eagle Mountain Lake North of Ft. Worth. My personal favorite is the area where Northgate intersects Story Rd. in Irving East of the Airport. There are some short steep climbs there pretty much any way you approach that intersection.
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Old 08-01-12, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by alpha_bravo
As usual with Strava you have to take that with a major grain of salt.
Don't fall down and worship the grade info @ RideWithGPS either.

To the OP, the real 3 or 4 mile climbs can only be found in West Texas around Big Bend.
Yep. A couple of the big ones:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/173211
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/173214

But there are some other climbs around. There's always the area around Kerrville, and the River Road west of BBNP. And then there are little hidden gems scattered all over the state:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/184935
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/878188
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/1524541
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Old 08-05-12, 01:42 PM
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One of the nicer hills in the general area is "Cherry Pie Hill" out near Palo Pinto, it's on FM 4 south of Hwy 180, south of Palo Pinto. It's not a "hill" in terms of being a hump, as when you go south, you go down and don't go back up. For more extensive hills, go ride the Talimena Scenic Byway up in Oklahoma. It'll get your legs a workout. And your brakes.

One of the hills I ride down quite a bit is about 8%. When going up it one time, I measured how long it as on the odometer, it worked out to about 800'. So let's see, 0.08 x 800' = a whopping 64' of elevation gain. So compared to a mountain climb at 2,000' or more, it's pretty piddling. We've got some routes with 7,000' of elevation gain, but that means something like 70 hills a 100' high, not some monster climb.
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Old 08-06-12, 08:55 AM
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My intent in asking the original question is not really to find a "epic" climb here in the D/FW area. My question was more of a comparison--when I read about someone doing one of these multi-mile X% climbs, how steep is that? For instance: is the upper part of Loving more/less than 6%? What about Flagpole Hill? What about from the bottom of the spillway to the top?
It's just so I can have a mental image when I read about someone doing these epic climbs. They say they did 4 miles of 6% I can say to myself, "that like doing X section around WRL for 4 miles."

As a side benefit, now I have the urge to make a trip to S Dallas county
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Old 08-06-12, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenH
One of the hills I ride down quite a bit is about 8%. When going up it one time, I measured how long it as on the odometer, it worked out to about 800'. So let's see, 0.08 x 800' = a whopping 64' of elevation gain.
But that's enough to make your legs burn if you climb it in a big gear. 64' is about like climbing the stairs in an office building from the first floor to the sixth floor. The next time you see a building that is 6 stories tall or taller, imagine a ramp built to go from ground level up to a window on the sixth floor and imagine riding up that ramp.

Long mountain climbs that go up thousands of feet are a different story. A short climb you can just jam up it and let your legs burn after you get to the top and you are going down the other side. A long climb would require you to put power to the pedals for a long time and not go anaerobic. This is what separates the climbers from the flatlanders.


when I read about someone doing one of these multi-mile X% climbs, how steep is that?
I've had the urge to go out with a carpenter's level and a tape measure and check out some hills that I climb.
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Old 08-07-12, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DTSCDS
...is the upper part of Loving more/less than 6%? What about Flagpole Hill? What about from the bottom of the spillway to the top?...
I suggest purchasing one of these https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...82_-1___202553, there is also a wired version, but the wireless works and isn't susceptible to interference.

Missing from the product description is recorded max grade.

Last edited by Werkin; 08-07-12 at 12:12 AM.
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