Fernwood Cyn – Saddle Peak – Piuma – Stunt Road

Link to Garmin Ride Data: Garmin Connect

Quick Ride Information:

  • Route Distance = 55 miles
  • Elevation Gain = 5600 feet
  • average grade Fernwood Canyon = 9%
  • average grade Stunt Canyon = 8%
  • 10 sections between 11% to 15%
  • Ride difficulty = hard

Ride report:

This is a particular good ride to get the climbing legs going, because after a short 8 mile warm-up this ride is all about climbing.

Fernwood Cyn - Piuama - Mullholand - Stunt Cyn

I have done segments of this ride before, but never combined them all, except Stunt Road, which I have ridden down, but never up. I love exploring and new routes, therefor my spirits were high.

On this day, Brentwood and Santa Monica and the coast were fogged in, but after a short climb up on Topanga the fog stayed behind and I was greeted by the sun to an absolutely amazing fall day in the mountains. Climbing up Topanga, Fernwood and Saddle Peak Road is something I have done quiet often lately, and I knew what was in store for me. As always when climbing, hydration is important, and here is a little tip where to refill your bottles. Just after the right turn onto Saddle Peak Road, the first house to the right has a water spigot installed for cyclists and is one of the very few water sources found in these mountains.

don't forget to fill up on water - this is the address

don't forget to fill up on water - this is the address

Cyclists are usually out in strong numbers on this route, which is always nice to know when you ride solo. The ride continues up to the Saddle Peak Road/Van Schueren/Stunt Road intersection on top of the mountain. Today’s route drops down to the left and connects to Piuma Road, where a right turn starts the Piuma climb.

Route profile with key milestones, max grade and HR info

Route profile with key milestones, max grade and HR info

Once atop Piuma a long downhill follows, which ultimately dumps into Cold Canyon Road and connects to Las Virgenes Road (also known to some as Malibu Canyon Road). Turning right will bring a series of climbs and connect with Mulholland Road, right again and the next few miles are strong rollers.

Riding the rollers

Riding the rollers

Eventually Stunt Road turn comes into view and a right marks the beginning of a very long climb back up to the top of Saddle Peak. Stunt road was a good strength test for me and it is plenty challenging, serving up an average 8% grade. I really liked the road, but have to admit that I was plenty happy when I got to the top.

Back at the top looking towards the Pacific Ocean which is still under heavy fog on the coast

Back at the top looking towards the Pacific Ocean which is still under heavy fog on the coast

From here it is just a little climb over another ridge to backtrack my steps from earlier and return to the coast via Fernwood Canyon and Topanga. This is a beautiful ride and I highly recommend it. Keep in mind that you are riding on some very remote and isolated stretches of road. Make sure you are self contained with plenty of fluids and food. Knowledge of basic bicycle repair, i.e. changing a flat etc. is essential, to avoid being stranded.

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