King of the Mountains

Updated 26/6/2010, all the information in this post has been superseded and has been updated here

There is more information about the individual climbs below. Also note that the elevation charts are not completely accurate, they are a close representation of the climb in terms of elevation and distance.





Mt Pleasant

80 m



Coppin’s Crossing

84 m



Pierce’s Creek

104 m



Red Hill

110 m



Mt McDonald

128 m



Three Sisters

141 m



Old Fed Hwy

160 m



Mt Stromlo

168 m



Corin Pt 1




Mt Ainslie

208 m



Black Mountain




Mt Ainslie (AWM)

240 m



Mt Majura




Fitz’s Challenge


2.68 km


Corin Pt 2




Honeysuckle creek




Corin Dam




Mt Clyde (NSW)




Map of the Climbs –
Cat X – Over 400m represented by the dark blue markers
Cat A – 200 –400m represented by the red markers
Cat B – 100 –200m represented by the green markers
Cat C – 50 –100m represented by the light blue markers
The yellow markers are locations of climbs that I am aware of but are yet to be recorded

View Canberra Climbs in a larger map

KOM All the climbs listed together

Cat X– The rides that will really test you.


Mt Clyde – First up I’ll confess, I haven’t actually done this climb but it is on my to do list. This climb is situated on the Kings Hwy, the road from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay. The climb was measured from Nelligen Creek. The climb is undulating until it gets to Governor’s Bend at which point it really takes off.

Corin Dam – This climb has two distinct parts. The first starts at the turn off to Corin Dam on Paddy River road up to the gates at Woods Reserve. The first part of the ride is easy with fairly low gradient. From the gates to summit the ride gets harder as gradient increases and is what makes Corin a really good climb.

Honeysuckle Creek – Also known as Apollo Rd South of Tharwa. The start of this climb was measured from the bridge about 2km from the Nass rd / Apollo rd junction. This is one of hardest rides in Canberra in my opinion with some short sections hitting a 20% gradient.

Cat A – Represent some of the “bigger” challenges around Canberra, these are usually the ones with the killer gradients.


Black Mountain (Telstra Tower) – The climb was measured from the turn off to the very top of the summit, past the car park entry where a lot of riders usually stop their timers. Black Mountain in my opinion along with Fitz’s Hill represents one of harder climbs in Canberra. What makes it difficult is the first 400 metres, which has quite a hard gradient of around 15%.

Mount Ainslie – I measured this climb twice as it sits onto of a shorter climb and people measure it from different places. The first measurement was done from the pedestrian lights at the Australian War Memorial, this initial climb while only around 32 metres hits a gradient of around 8% making it a nice little warm up. The true climb starts from the turn off on Fairbairn Ave and that is where the second climb is measured from.

Mount Majura Our famous secret climb. This was measured from the turn off on Majura Road, not bad considering there is a quite a  climb to get there up Federal Hwy. One day when I have time I plan to measure the climb from the last roundabout on Antill street.

Fitz’s Challenge – measured from the half moon creek bridge to the KOM line at the summit. This is without a doubt a brute of a climb. While average gradient for this climbs is just over 10% in reality because of a dip in the climb most of the time you will be facing a gradient of 12 to 13%

Cat B – These represent good training climbs (well for me at least that aren’t going to leave your legs screaming when you reach to the summit.


Red Hill Measured from the turn off to Red Hill. Reported gradient on the chart above probably doesn’t do Red Hill justice. In measuring the distance I measured to the summit which is at the restaurant but you can see from the image above the climb plateaus at around 1.1 km where the main lookout is. If measure the gradient to this part of the climb it comes out at around 9%, on par with Black Mountain, just shorter. Maybe not one of the beginner hills.

The Three Sisters – This is the climb out of Uriarra crossing heading back to Mt Stromlo. Measured from the bridge crossing to the KOM marking on the road. So called because of the three distinctive sections to this ride. Always fun at the end of a race, which happens frequently.

Mt McDonald – Located on the other side of cotter and goes up around cotter dam. Measured from the turn off on Cotter Road to the KOM marking on the road. Good training ride, not difficult, just a good consistent gradient.

Old Federal Hwy – This climb is located in the Yass Valley just past Sutton. Instead of going up the Federal hwy there is a turn off at the nursery which is the old federal hwy. The climb was measured from the bridge crossing the Yass river to the summit. As shown it is on par with Mt Stromlo

Mt Stromlo – Measured from the turn off on Cotter Rd to very summit which means going up the small road which is in average condition near the new observatory.  What I like about Mt Stomlo is the even gradient for the climb. Nothing challenging but a can be a good workout if you choose to push yourself.

Pierce’s Creek – This is the first climb after Cotter Dam on Paddy River Road on the way out to the tracking station. At 9% it is a toughy but relatively short.

Cat C – I guess these can be classed as the beginner climbs but should not be underestimated.

Mt Pleasant -  Measured from the turn off on Fairbairn Ave into Duntroon. One of my favourite training rides. Starts of with a kick on the first section but then evens out to consistent climb.

Coppins Crossing Measured from the crossing to the summit.

Other Climbs – So what’s next, what left to measure?

Smith’s Gap – Bungendore
Kings Hwy  – Queanbeyan
Mt Majura from the Antill Roundabout.
Hindmarsh Drive (perhaps)
Monaro Hwy – Theodore

Climbs that didn’t measure up – These are the climbs that will might seem to be substantial didn’t break the 50 metre mark that I consider the base for a good climb.

Ginninderra Drive – O’Conner – 43m

If there are any other climbs that should be included please let me know.



  1. mick says:

    excellent info. I often ride Stromlo 2 or 3 times then up red hill to finish off. Nice to now know the gradients. I did Mt Ainslie and Black mtn together once but wont do that again. Too much for an old bloke. I will attempt Majura in a few weeks, so thanks for the directions.

  2. Matthew Larkin says:

    Have you had a look at the climb out of Wallaroo Road near Hall?
    A quick look at the data from this morning’s ride indicates that the first section is 145 metres of ascent over 2.2 k – around 6.5%.
    There is another bit of climbing after a dip, which gives a total elevation gain of 170 metres over 3.5 k

    1. Mark Croonen says:

      Yep I know the hill, been up it a few times, its not bad but never had my garmin on me at the time. Thanks for the info I’ll add it the chart.

  3. glen english says:

    Nice work, and-
    in your graph of Corin , you show 400m climb, but in your table it says 515. Today, I measured 695m (road turnoff ) to 1247m to the top of the hill before the decent into the dam… So you might want to amend the graph… I have it on my 305 if you would like the elevation trend-data.

    In my opinion, this is the king of climbs, especially if you have ridden from canberra through cotter, up pierces-creek hill, along the road…..
    cheers – glen

  4. David Sitsky says:

    This is a great list – thanks! I am from Sydney, so I rode up Fitz’s and Honeysuckle Creek today, and it was nice to see this. Do you have stats for the climb out of Uriarra Crossing towards the Cotter that is often used for the Canberra Tour? Its very short, but its steep too.

  5. Simon says:

    Hi This is a fantastic reference point for cycling in Canberra.

    Can I suggest Downard St in Calwell. From the intersection at the bottom to the 2nd pedestrian crossing (outside the primary school). It’s about 1KM long, and it sure feels like it’s elevation is more than 50m.


  6. Tom says:


    Great site – I’ve been looking for some good climbs in preparation for 3Peaks next month….

    You’ll enjoy Smith’s Gap – I ride that way to work…. Just as good, is if you come down Macs Reef Road from the Federal Highway, approx 2kms along you will hit a good climb…. Worth checking out as I think it is harder than the Smiths Gap…. That could be because I’m doing it at 6.30am and not quite awake….

  7. John says:

    Mark, I have linked to your site from the Fitz’s Challenge website in the section on the history of Fitz’s Challenge to give people an inkling of the comparative hills in and around the ACT — for training or whatever. See > Useful stuff > History of Fitz’s.
    Hope you will keep this page going from strength to strength.

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