Niagara’s Top 10 Must-Ride Cycling Climbs

Top10 ClimbsWe may not have any hour-long climbs in Niagara, but we’ve got plenty of short, punchy inclines to challenge the best of riders. While the wind is blowing and snow is covering most of our roads, it seems like an appropriate time to daydream about our favourite Strava routes.

What follows is my own list of my 10 favourite climbs in Niagara with a bit of an argument as to why they made the list. They’re named according to their respective Strava King of the Mountain route so that you can find it and try it out yourself (if you haven’t already done so). Worth noting: The average elevations from Strava listed below are somewhat inaccurate. Trust me, these climbs are steeper than they appear.

Vote at the bottom for your favourite and comment with your own Top 10 list.

Where: Thorold
Stats: 1.9km; 3%; 53m Elevation Gain
KOM: Michael S.
QOM: Avril M.
Why: At nearly two kilometres, it’s one of the longer climbs in Niagara and with ships raising and lowering in the adjacent Welland Canal Locks, it’s certainly scenic. It’s not a particularly steep climb, so the average speed is higher than you’d expect. It’s a great climb for trying to drop the group.

Where: St. Catharines
Stats: 0.2km; 7%; 92m Elevation Gain
KOM: Dan D.
QOM: Patricia K.
Why: It’s the shortest climb in this list, but it’s also one of the steepest. You come into the climb carrying a massive amount of speed but nearly come to a dead stop on the way up. Many a cyclist have walked up this climb.

Where: St. Catharines
Stats: 0.8km, 5%; 43m Elevation Gain
KOM: Galen K.
QOM: Emily D.
Why: It’s the other half of the Decew half-pipe. Come flying back down the Decew North climb, roll along Jackson Flats and then start the winding climb back up toward Cataract Rd. It’s one of the best nearby training hills for people living in St. Catharines, Pelham and Thorold.

Where: Grimsby
Stats: 0.9km;  8%; 74m Elevation Gain
KOM: Derek O.
QOM: Emily D.
Why: It’s not the longest or steepest climb on the list, but it’s been part of the Subaru Triathlon Series Niagara event for years. Trust me, riding up Park Rd. on a Triathlon/TT bike is no fun.

Where: Queenston
Stats: 0.9km; 5%; 44m Elevation Gain
KOM: Graham T.
QOM: Patricia K.
Why: Where else can you climb with a war hero watching over you? Start down in the village of Queenston or approach the climb from the higher elevation of York Rd. Either way, it’s a fast climb under the watchful eye of Sir Isaac Brock with an extremely competitive ongoing KOM battle.

Where: St. Catharines
Stats: 0.5km; 4%; 25m Elevation Gain (Strava stats appear to be incorrect)
KOM: Steve D.
QOM: C. J.
Why: The only unpaved climb on our list, Hydro Hill has factored into many a mountain bike race and ride. Mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes are welcome on this tough climb. Just make sure you look right on your way up to see the spectacular views of St. Catharines.

Where: Grimsby
Stats: 2.9 km, 3%; 89m Elevation Gain
KOM: Derek O.
QOM: Leah A.
Why: If you’ve ever done a St. Catharines Cycling Club Saturday road ride, you’ve ridden this climb. It starts with a short, steep section and then a right turn past the barking dogs. Just when you think ‘This isn’t so hard’ the longest climb in Niagara just keeps going and going.

Where: Grimsby
Stats: 1km, 9%, 91m Elevation Gain
KOM: Derek 0.
QOM: Emily D.
Why: Many Niagara riders taking on the long row of escarpment climbs stop short of this fantastic kilometre-long route. It’s got a couple of extremely steep switchbacks on the way up and has the feel of a big-mountain climb.

Where: Pelham
Stats: 0.4km, 11%, 92m Elevation Gain
KOM: Gaelen M.
QOM: Carmen S.
Why: If you have to ask, you’ve never ridden it. Saylors Hill is legendary in Southern Ontario and has been part of many high-level road races. These days, it’s the feature climb in the Niagara Classic road race and is part of many riders’ training routes.

Where: Grimsby
Stats: 0.8km, 11.8%, 92m Elevation Gain
KOM: Derek 0.
QOM: Emily D.
Why: The beast of Niagara. Maybe it’s the fact you can see the climb from the QEW as you drive past the Casablanca exit in Grimsby or that the top section has one of the steepest sections of pavement in the region. Maybe it’s because its name sounds remarkably like Wolverine. Either way, Woolverton is as close to an epic climb as you can find in Niagara.

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8 responses to “Niagara’s Top 10 Must-Ride Cycling Climbs

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  3. Agree with you on Wolverton being #1. It’s a weird hill in that most of the work is done nearer to the top following a left hand turn that keeps the steepest section from view until the end. The first time I climbed Wolverton I was like, “fuck me” when I made that last turn to the top.)

    • Do you people not realize that riding up Wolverton and park road is dangerous as fuck and one you are going to cause an accident one day. You impede traffic on an incline riding these roads with no regard for the cars around you, there’s no sidewalk on these roads for a reason and that reason being they are dangerous to pedestrians walking alongside the road so what makes you think being on the road impeding traffic is a good idea. Have some courtesy for those around you and walk your bike up the hill.

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  5. I’m kinda new to the area. We’ve been here just over two years. Going west on the QEW and taking the fifty road exit going south, you climb up a really steep hill. Never biked it but it would be a brutal climb.

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